Book Review: The Saturday Night Ghost Club

THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB | Craig Davidson
07.09.2019 | Penguin Books
Rating: 4/5 stars

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Niagara Falls in the 1980’s is a seedy, slightly haunted place where Jake Baker is growing up. The summer Jake turns twelve he forms a close bond with his uncle, Calvin, who is filled to the brim with eccentric tales of ghosts, conspiracy theories, and the occult. Jake, along with a pair of siblings new to the neighborhood decide to join Calvin’s Saturday Night Ghost Club.

The summer is filled with fascinating stories about events that have happened in town and the ghosts left behind to haunt those who did them wrong. It’s all fun and games until the project turns a corner that the kids never expected. Storytelling always holds some roots in truth, even those of ghosts.

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THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB is a coming-of-age story told through the lens of mystery and ghosts. Jake’s new found friendship with the Yellowbird siblings and his Uncle Calvin combine to open his eyes to who he wants to be, how we perceive those around us, and the ghosts that haunt us all.

Craig Davidson wisely unpacks the story of Jake’s summer as a twelve-year-old through Jake’s much older, adult eyes. He has gone on to become a brain surgeon, but still at the end of the day, this time in his life is one of the most meaningful periods. Have you ever felt a little uncomfortable in your own skin? Have you ever felt that maybe you didn’t belong? These are real emotions that fill the childhoods of most people and this summer for Jake is steeped in these questions. Forming a bond with the Yellowbird’s and Calvin give Jake a new take on life and those around him. He’s realizing he’s not the only one who can feel this way and that these feelings don’t necessarily fade as you get older.

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Davidson is perhaps known best by his alter ego, Nick Cutter, AKA a writer of what I’m told are some downright creepy horror stories. While I haven’t had the pleasure of reading any of these books yet (don’t worry they’re on my TBR!), I do have the ability to know that the writing found within the pages of THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB is completely different. There are certainly some unsettling moments during stories and adventures with Uncle Calvin, but nothing that would keep me up at night. Would they keep twelve-year-old Jake up? Definitely! At the end of the day I don’t think this book was ever intended to be outright horror, but something much deeper, something emotional.

What I appreciate most about this story isn’t the way that Davidson was able to make me feel uncomfortable while hunting ghosts with the Saturday Night Ghost Club, but how he was able to portray Jake’s story. Allowing the author to experience this important summer through the eyes of adult Jake and twelve-year-old Jake made me reflect on how things can be perceived one way when you’re young and it’s not until years later you realize what was really happening. You realize that there was something deeper to the events surrounding you. I won’t spoil what Jake discovers, but I will warn you that it’s revelation is powerful and hits the reader right in the gut.

If you’re looking for a book to hone in on your childhood and gift you with a treat of feeling all the emotions, put this one down on your TBR! I laughed, teared up, couldn’t wait to know more, and cringed at my own childhood all within the first few pages! I can’t wait to explore more from Craig Davidson and also check out his work under Nick Cutter!


This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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