Book Review: The Missing Girl by Shirley Jackson

The Missing Girl
by Shirley Jackson

Publication date: February 22nd 2018
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Pages: 64

Penguin Modern Series #20


“Of course, no one would want to say anything about a girl like this that’s missing…”

Malice, paranoia and creeping dread lie beneath the surface of ordinary American life in these chilling miniature masterworks of unease.

Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Shirley Jackson; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York’s underground scene to the farthest reaches of outer space.

Source: Goodreads


My third Penguin Modern Series read is number 20, “The Missing Girl” written by Shirley Jackson. I was looking forward to reading this one, having really enjoyed ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ when released on Netflix a couple of years ago. I haven’t read the book yet, but thought that this little book would be a great introduction to Jackson’s writing.

This book contains three mini stories: The Missing Girl, Journey with a Lady and Nightmare.

My favourite of the three was Journey with a Lady, in which a young boy is sent off alone on a train to meet his grandfather, interrupted when a lady enters his carriage and starts asking him patronising questions. I’m a commuter and I totally understood the young boy’s feelings when someone chose to sit next to him rather than in one of the many empty seats available!

“’Is this seat taken?’ she asked.

Joe refused to recognize her existence by turning his head to look at her, but he told her sullenly, ‘No, it’s not.’ Not taken, he was thinking, what did she think I was sitting her for? Aren’t there enough old seats in the train she could go and sit in without taking mine.”

I’d say that the first story is a little eerie, but the third was quite unsettling and wouldn’t feel out of place in a series of ‘Black Mirror’. I wouldn’t say that these stories were real horror as I wasn’t on edge or frightened, but they’re a little creepy in places and all three certainly kept my attention throughout.

Overall rating: This little book contains three creepy stories. I think this was a great introduction to the work of Shirley Jackson and I’ll be sure to check our her other work soon. This one is getting 4 stars from me.

See my other reviews of books by Shirley Jackson here:

5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Missing Girl by Shirley Jackson

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