Do the Creepy Thing by Graham Joyce

Essay by AvrillaHigh School, 12th gradeA+, December 2007

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Before you find out what the book really is about you get a background picture of the head character’s life. The story take place in a small town in England, as it seems to me, at the end of the 20th century. Caroline, who everyone but her mother refers to as Caz, is fourteen years old and lives alone with her mother in a small house. Her father left them both when Caz was only a child. She does neither have a lot of friends nor a boyfriend and she actually seems rather uninterested in having any of it. Although there is a girl called Lucy, whom Caz hangs around with. But their relationship seems to be kind of forced. “They’re an odd couple. According to Caz, there are three groups of girls: text teenies, make-up dollies and gym Janes… But neither Caz nor Lucy fit in with any of these groups, and for that reason they bond, even though they exasperate each other and spend much of their time in some kind of dark mood with the other.”

But it is because of their relationship to each other they start doing “the creepy thing”.

“The creepy thing” is what the two girls do every night when their parents are asleep. They sneak out and meet up outside. Then they choose a house and breaks into it. The goal is to find the owners sleeping in the house, walking up to their beds and leaning over the owners faces for fifteen seconds. At some points in the book Caz tries to explain to herself why she is doing this strange thing. She gets a thrill out of it, she feels like a child again and that it just has to be done are some of the explanations she comes up with.

One night the old lady living in a house wakes up when Caz is leaning over her. The lady grabs Caz’s wrist and puts a bracelet on to it. It is at this moment the story really begins. The bracelet disappears the next day but left on Caz’s wrist is a tattoo which seems to have brought with it some kind of curse. Caz thinks that the curse gives her bad luck, suddenly everything is against her. She wants the tattoo to go away, she finds it that it must be the way to get rid of the curse. Therefore she starts to visit a tattoo shop and starts working at a pub called the Black Dog to get the money she needs to remove the tattoo. In time Caz starts to see a ghost haunting her and also gets the power of knowing what people’s inner thoughts are.

Through Caz’s struggle to get rid of the tattoo she evolves as a person. She grows much more mature. She meets Mark, whom she gets into a relationship with, and her mother also meets a new boyfriend, who happens to be Caz’s teacher. The tattoo causes a lot of trouble for Caz, she almost gets raped and things between Mark and her starts going bad. Eventually Caz finds out how she has to get rid of the curse, through the old lady who gave the bracelet to her in the first place. She starts talking to this old lady who tells her that the bracelet has done her nothing but bad through the years and now it is Caz’s. She makes Caz run errands and run the household just to finally tell Caz that she has to give the bracelet to someone to get rid of the curse.

The story ends when Caz breaks into the old lady’s house and sits down by her bed. When the old lady wakes up Caz grabs her wrist and keeps the bracelet close to it. The old lady screams of terror. Finally Caz looses her grip and laughs. She tells the old lady that she at first wanted to force the curse away just like the old lady wanted through her years with it. But while Caz lived with it she discovered that it might not be a curse but instead a gift that has been brought to her. “’No, I’m not putting it back on you, Mrs Tranter.’ Caz waves the bracelet at her. ‘The thing is, Mrs Tranter, you had something very special in your possession for fifty years. And in all those fifty years you were too selfish to realize how beautiful that thing is. You weren’t ready for it. You weren’t worthy of it.’” Caz has been able to help people with the gift and she has now realized that it is what she is meant to do.

The author, Graham Joyce, does not describe Caz that much, compared to her mother, although she is the head character. I believe that this might be because of the way Joyce writes, for the story is told from Caz’s point of view and there is little insight in anything but Caz’s own thoughts. As a reader you see the world from her eyes and with her happiness and sorrows the pattern of behavior in the book changes. Although from time to time Joyce makes a turn in his way of writing and lets another character express his or her inner thoughts. This is very interesting, according to me, and makes the story unique. It also gives a clearer insight in that persons meaning to the story and connection to Caz.

I found the title interesting and it is actually because of it that I chose the book. It is a pretty obvious choice, “the creepy thing” is a big part of the story, and it is also an enticing title.

Since it is not any obvious deep meaning behind the story I could not find any clear motto. Although you could say that the end of the book shows a few things to think about. I found myself thinking about two things after having read the book. One of them was that a significant change does not necessarily have to be a change into something bad. Caz finally discovered that the bracelet did not bring with it a curse but a gift. I also gave the idea of the story wanting to tell you to go your own way a thought. It was clear that when finally Caz had to think for herself, after trying so hard to find help in other, she solved her mystery.

The events are basically told in chronological order. The chronological order makes the book more easy to read, not much of a challenge in the way of following what is going on. I believe this is typical for an exciting book like this. But I do think this is a rather dull way of writing. On the other hand I understand the thinking, behind choosing this way of writing, since it certainly gives a story the most excitement. Joyce has added a lot of flashbacks, often explaining the backgrounds of peoples lives, probably to create a more interesting reading.

I would recommend this book for those who are in search of something exciting to read. But for myself I feel that I might have rather enjoyed this book in my earlier years than now. It is a breathtaking story and Joyce writes in a grown-up way. At some points he adds a comical way of writing in between the complicated words and sentences. I found the book very interesting because of this. When Caz’s mother is described Joyce makes an interesting comparison between her and a pie. “Truth is, Caz’s mother is nice as a pie. Nice as pecan-with-fresh-cream-pie. Actually she is better than any kind of pie.” But besides the few segments where these interesting descriptions appear I found that the book was not in my taste. I would have enjoyed it further if you would have been able to find a deeper meaning behind the events. I must admit though that for a book in this genre it is a true success.