Mark Reads ‘John Dies At The End’: Chapter 12

In the twelfth chapter of John Dies At The End, I still don’t understand anything. Is this going to change soon? That would be nice. If you’re still intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to read John Dies At The End.

Chapter Twelve: Amy

I have some thoughts about this book.

  • I think that I’m doing my best to see why this book came to me so highly recommended, and I also like that this is so different than pretty much everything I’ve ever read for this site. It’s a challenge to read and write about, and I’ll certainly appreciate the book for that. While John Dies at the End pokes fun at a lot of horror tropes and any traditional sense for storytelling, it’s also remarkably frightening and creepy. It reminds me of the trope-toppling fun of Cabin in the Woods, which makes fun of horror trappings while scaring the shit out of us.
  • Bravo. I love that about this book.
  • It’s also clearly written by a straight man who imparts his straightness all over the text, and did you know penises exist and also boobs. Holy god, that whole section with Marcy, where David characterizes her entirely by her breasts, is downright revolting. Like, I get it. David is straight, and he has hormones, and he likes women, but you are describing a character by their breasts. Stop it. Not only is it crass, but it’s distracting. You’re pulling me out of the story! It’s even more egregious once you read the section before it, where David very honestly discusses how his relationship with Jennifer slowly deteriorated over time, in part due to what the two of them experienced. He talks about his desire for sex, yes, but then excoriates the reader for assuming that his sex with Jennifer is what mattered. It’s not. It was her friendship that mattered, and that’s what he misses the most. I really like this section! So yeah.
  • I dunno, it’s weird to read things like this because I don’t want a world full of perfect social-justice-y books because that’s impossible and unrealistic. Yeah, the things we consume aren’t created in a vacuum, obviously, but I also don’t want to move things into a vacuum where everything is perfect either. So I know that maybe some parts of this book just aren’t made for me? I can admit that. My goal is never to say that people shouldn’t read a book or that they should hate it or any such thing. That includes Twilight.
  • At the same time, this chapter really solidifies my perception that gay people are nothing but a punchline for the author. Most of the gay jokes haven’t bothered me because I pick my battles, and it hasn’t been something that upset me. But I just sort of realized that there are no real gay/queer characters here, but there are plenty of derogatory mentions of them, including John calling that weird substance a homophobic slur. I guess it bothers me that I can only appear in a book as a slur but not as a person, you know?
  • I’m also getting the sense that this book is… fuck, HOW DO I SAY THIS? I feel like the book is taunting me. I’ve read 300 pages of this book, and most of these chapters end with taunts that things are going to get worse. Or shit is going to get real. And it does, and then nothing is explained. I’m all for long-standing mysteries. HELLO, I WATCHED LOST AND THE X-FILES IN REAL TIME. But chapter eleven existed solely to hint at the real answer to the story. That’s it. All it said was, “Oh, shit, y’all aren’t ready for what’s in the shed.” We don’t find out what’s in the shed or why Amy disappeared. We don’t find out how Molly is alive. We don’t find out anything new in this chapter, and then we’re teased with yet another answer, this time in Amy’s chat log. Which we don’t get. Are we going to get it? Or will the narrative just jump to another part of the story?
  • I’m mostly upset because I can’t figure this out and I’m reviewing this publicly, and I know y’all are just sitting there, cackling at me, and everything is unfair. 🙁
  • Plus, I have to acknowledge that the very nature of what Mark Reads is means that I read books in pedantic, jarring ways. I stop all the time. I stop when I shouldn’t. I DID THIS TO MYSELF.
  • Oh god, I really hope the chatlog is in the next chapter and I get to read it, because I DON’T GET WHAT’S GOING ON.
  • Is there any meaning to Amy losing her hand? How did that happen? Is that a red herring?
  • Oh my god, was David possessed by the same thing that possessed Wexler? Oh shit, WILL THIS HAPPEN AGAIN?
  • “There’s nobody who, you know, comes by to take care of her?” John studied me for a moment, then said, “Well, Dave, I think one of the neighbors comes by to put out food and water in a bowl for her. Let her out, you know.” Bless you, John, for this brilliant line. I also like that it’s implied that John does take care of Amy somewhat, that he visits her and checks up on her, so he’s kind of offended that David assumes Amy can’t take care of herself.
  • I also like that once Drake is gone, they drop all pretense of lying, and just get Amy to admit that weird shit happens. I am so thankful that this book avoided that trope because I hate plot twists that arise specifically because characters won’t just talk to one another.
  • Oh god. Don’t go in the basement.
  • Don’t go there.
  • So, there’s that point where David says he did something that “would change [his] life forever,” and it’s moving Amy out of the way and walking into the basement first. I seriously don’t understand this, especially given what’s actually in the basement.
  • “Then I realized the monster-shaped shadow was, surprisingly, a monster.” WHAT A GREAT LINE.
  • Because it isn’t a monster! Well, not a real one. Big Jim, high on soy sauce, built the most terrifyingly real creation in his basement. His obsession with sci-fi inspired the project, and soy sauce just made it that much more realistic.
  • Except he also sketched the shadow people. Okay. Okay. So he really did know way more than he let on. What else did he know???
  • David even heavily implies that Jim had figured it all out. WHAT HAPPENED???
  • What am I supposed to say about the Robert North scene? It is so terrifying that once David started eating the spider, I had to lie down because I thought I was going to throw up. I DON’T GET QUEASY READING OR WATCHING HORROR STUFF. BUT THAT IS TOO FUCKING FAR. NO. NOPE FOREVER. I’m just going to assume it wasn’t a dream? But I don’t understand it. In some weird way, it was almost as if Robert was helping David, since the spider “saved” him from “dying.” So… yay? But why?
  • I do not love creepy dolls. No. Nope.
  • True story: My mom loves watching movies on holidays, either in the theater or at home. One year, she proudly sat me down so we could watch a film together on Christmas Day. It was Mulholland Drive, which she had heard was a “really good mystery movie,” and I sat there for 140 minutes, watching that with her. If you’ve never seen it, just… well, there’s some graphic sex between two women, a lot of weirdness courtesy of David Lynch, and one of the most clusterfuck-of-a-plot-twist moments in the history of cinema. After it was over, my mom just turned to me and said, “Well, I don’t think I understood that.” YOU DON’T SAY.
  • What is in the chat log? WHAT’S IN IT???

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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