HH Com 329

Sabrina Schrader is mortified by her past. She grew up in a sloppy household where the dishes were always dirty and she could never invite friends over because of the filth. Now, Sabrina has a good career going and a spick-and-span apartment that she’s proud to show
off. Her only problem is the extra weight she carries.

If she could lose some of those pounds, Sabrina thinks her life would be perfect. When Sabrina makes her annual visit home to see her mother, she is shocked by how much the house has deteriorated in just one year. Her mother has added animal hoarding to her bag of
eccentricities, and Sabrina’s childhood home is choked with cast-off furniture, garbage, and cat feces crunching underfoot, not to mention a massive cockroach infestation. While helping with the cleanup, Sabrina unknowingly ingests a cockroach’s egg case, and freakish things begin happening to her body. Without even trying, Sabrina rapidly loses weight, and she finds out that she can no longer eat regular food, only garbage. Sabrina seeks out medical help but is
referred to a psychiatrist specializing in eating disorders after she explains her bizarre symptoms. Then Sabrina starts to lose her hair and teeth, but that’s nothing compared to what she’s growing. Unable to keep her physical transformation a secret, Sabrina loses her job, her boyfriend, and her friends. The only person who can help her now is the one she’s most
afraid of becoming: her mother.

Kafka meets Psycho. Film rights available?

Is this supposed to be funny?
I'm totally grossed out.

This is one of those "get it books". If you get it, great, if you don't, no amount of correct form will entice you to read it. I'm choosing B.

And going to wash my hands.



and again.


Zany Mom said...


Images of cockroaches exiting the toaster when the handle is depressed...


delilah said...

I don't know about you, but I think I might skip dinner tonight -- yanno, just in case.

December Quinn said...

UGH! I need a couple of showers. Yech!

I've just started to get over my South Florida palmetto-bug trauma, too. Now I'm going to start jumping at shadows again.

December Quinn said...

Oh, and:

The only person who can help her now is the one she’s most
afraid of becoming: her mother.

Wouldn't she be more afraid at this point of becoming a cockroach? I don't want to be my mother, either, but given the choice between her and a roach, I'd go for being Mom every time.

Anonymous said...

Um. I wish I could say this disgusted me more than made me curious. An interesting idea writer -- if it's written well and not just written for the effect of being gross, you might have an audience. Well, at least one. Good luck.

Heidi the Hick said...

ok, despite being horribly grossed out, I think this could be well done if the author can decide EXACTLY what direction it's going to go.

Comedy or Horror????

I love the idea of growing up in filth and becoming fastidiously clean in adulthood. Even the deterioration of the mother's dirty house is interesting.

I admit the cochroach transformation thing felt like a bit of a sharp turn to me.

I'd rather find out what the deal is with crazy mom- she's clearly got more problems that plain old slovenliness.

Good ideas, good imagination. Kinda sick, but interesting...

cm allison said...

Oh great dog, not for me, sorry. I just can't get the idea of cockroaches crawling around INSIDE of me out of my head. BUt you definately have a handle on the horror side of it and it might well appeal to those into that genre.

I Said said...

I like the idea--as a short story. Don't know if it'll last for a novel-length. Something like this idea needs a quick in and out shocker type deal, ala Twilight Zone.

shelby said...

Is this like the Crazy Cat Lady meets Alien? Honestly, I have a hard time getting past the ingestion of the cockroach and its affects on her body. The losing teeth also got me. I was interested in the beginning because I know people personally with houses like you describe, but when it went on, it just got gross--just like the houses of the people I know.

crankynick said...

I think it would make a GREAT kids picture book, though.

Kids love gross stuff, and I reckon, with a good illustrator, this idea would be an easy sell.

Sonarbabe said...

The Fly. All I see is the movie, The Fly. Still, this is a pretty creepy horror story.

Anonymous said...

all together now: EWWWW!!!
lol: verification: yukyy

Yuck said...

The writing is good enough so that it presents a vivid picture.

However, this is repulsive--and it doesn't work. (Repulsive works for shock effect, to reveal a bad guy/situation/crime/tragedy, but not as the overarching theme.)

There is no one character I can emphasize/identify with. How could anyone "unknowingly ingest" a cockroach nest? Even if I accept the other science fiction elements of the story, (physical transformation), it makes no sense to me that someone wouldn't know if they ingested something like that. If so, then the protagonist is stupid and, I don't want to waste my time reading about an idiot.

Fuchsia Groan said...

Ew, ew, triple ew. Much grosser than just waking up in the morning and being a bug.

But if it's well written and not just trying for shock value, I'd read it.

Anonymous said...

Squick. Seriously...squick.

This could work as horror, but make sure mom's house is next to the toxic waste dump or a nuclear power plant. Leo G. Carroll can be in charge.

A *sensible* person would call animal control, put mom in a home, and wear a filter mask while cleaning.

When I moved all I dealt with was ordinary house dust (and not that much of it) and I wore a mask just to keep the sneezing down so I could see.

Katrina Stonoff said...

OK, call me weird--you wouldn't be the first--but I thought this was funny. I snorted out loud when I saw the "ingested an egg sack" line. And the idea that losing all your teeth and hair and turing into a cockroach is better than becoming dear old Mom...priceless.

I'd buy it. At least in paperback.

Word verification: oeatms. I don't think so! We need her to finish the COM!

Richard Lewis said...

True story: a surfer in Bali (a very dumb surfer) ate a cockroach for $50.

Medevaced back to the States a week later, he nearly died from multiple sicknesses.

Anonymous said...

my mum is a hoarder and i like weird fantasy, so I'd read this.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like it could really, really have something. I'm too sleepy to make sense, but it sounds like there's a very strong thematic underpinning that could make for a powerful book. And personally I love the sharp turn Heidi mentioned: it starts out with several of the standard ingredients of chick lit, and then all of a sudden AAAIIIIEEEEE.

I would never in a million years read this, but still...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's a take on "Metamorphosis" and a clever one. I bet if it was a take on "CSI" it would meet with Miss Snark's approval. This is one of the most original and exciting submissions. I can't believe it is being rejected because the writing is too vivid. What's really "ew" is all the derivative TV re-gurg I'm reading here.

Writerious said...

Not Kafka meets Psycho. Kafka meets the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I'm with zany mom: EWWWWWWWWW!

Anonymous said...

Remember, this is one agent's opinion. Others may -- and I'm guessing they will -- feel differently.

houndsteething said...

Really good feedback here. I wish I were in a writing group with you all. Knew I was taking a chance with a horror novel, but I thought Killer Yapp might be into the cat collecting. I'll give the novel a polish after the holidays and look into sending queries out to some horror people. Thanks everybody.

MWT said...

I like this a lot, actually. You've definitely managed to capture the "horror" thing well. :)

The last line confuses me, though.
"The only person who can help her now is the one she’s most afraid of becoming: her mother."

Is her mother a cockroach? Because if she isn't, the last sentence doesn't tie in at all with anything that came before. And you need to explain why she's afraid of becoming her mother - what aspect of her mother in particular.

Anonymous said...

Oh! Oh wow! I'm glad you dropped in, Author, because until then it hadn't even crossed my mind that this was a horror novel. The hook made it seem like an ill-advised twist on chick lit or a weird literary novel.

Try starting with the fact that Sabrina is having weird physical problems after a mishap while cleaning her mom's house. It's the focus on Sabrina's weight and cleaning habits that keep it from sounding like a horror novel. Then, of course, mention things getting even MORE horrible, as they surely should. Example: it's horrible when your son dies, it's worse when he comes back to life. It's horrible when you kill a gypsy, it's worse when you get cursed. Et cetera.

Good luck!