Set in Los Angeles in 2010, The Final Girl Support Group is Grady Hendrix’s ode to 1980’s slasher films. A group of women who were final girls in the 80’s have attended group therapy together for the past 16 years. Suddenly, one of the final girls misses a meeting and the group is being targeted.
Like his bestselling novel The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, Grady Hendrix’s latest is a fast-paced, frightening, and wickedly humorous thriller. From chain saws to summer camp slayers, The Final Girl Support Group pays tribute to and slyly subverts our most popular horror films—movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream.
Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre. For more than a decade, she’s been meeting with five other final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, working to put their lives back together. Then one woman misses a meeting, and their worst fears are realized—someone knows about the group and is determined to rip their lives apart again, piece by piece.
But the thing about final girls is that no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up
Initially, I struggled at keeping the final girls straight. I eventually jotted down notes until I knew who was who. I definitely recommend doing this. Does needing to do this mean there were too many central characters? That is a personal preference as far as I am concerned.
I enjoyed The Final Girl Support Group overall, but I think it could have been a bit better. I would have liked more information about each of the characters’ backstories and more time actually in the support group. (I don not think Hendrix should assume that the reader is familiar with all the slashers the final girls are based upon.) I also felt like it was missing Hendrix’s typical humor and satire. But that may have simply been an issue with my expectations.
The Final Girl Support Group seemed to be a simple and straight-forward thriller (rather than horror, as it’s marketed) with some commentary on violence against women and its glorification in media and entertainment. I did appreciate that Hendrix highlighted the problematic themes of slashers and provided commentary on why men commit mass murder and what a final girl means to her monster. I thought this really added to the book and elevated it from a typical thriller.
Overall, I enjoyed The Final Girl Support Group and will continue to read every book Hendrix writes. I recommend it to those who are fans of classic slasher films and books that are a bit different. Plus, anyone who wants to give Riley Sager the middle finger. IYKYK
The Final Girl Support Group
Mysteries & Thrillers;
July 13, 2021