First, let me start by saying that if you have a weak stomach, don’t like reading about rape or incest, and don’t like bloody messes of stories, steer clear of Wind-Up Toy: All Wound Up by David Owain Hughes! I’m not going to lie, parts of these tales had me questioning whether I should read on or not, thoroughly grossing me out much of the time. I can see why this book has been banned before!
Banned? But why?
Glad you asked. In the story, Playtime Simone, the main character is a young boy named Simone. He kills his childhood bully and then spies on a woman dancing provocatively. Not too crazy yet, right? The dancing woman catches him peeping and invites the young boy to come bathe with her. In the bath, they perform some sexual acts. Already, as the reader, you know it’s wrong that an older woman is taking advantage of a young boy. But the horror of it hits you in the last lines of the short story. The woman asks, “Did you enjoy that?” Simone replies with, “Yes, mother, I did”.
The novel, Wind-Up Toy, follows Simone in his adult life. Here, you get a real sense of his depravity and sadness. Throughout, you can’t help but feel sorry for him and his screwed-up ways. By the end, you’re almost rooting for the guy while he deals with Chaos, his dominatrix girlfriend. In one of the short stories, we get a back story for Chaos and learn why she is the way she is. The last story tells of a group of college kids becoming possessed by the spirits of the dead and Simone’s gang.
My Rating: If you can get past the gruesome parts, there is actually a pretty decent story here!
Look, I’m not going to sugar coat this. David Owain Hughes writes twisted stuff! This book is sick and crazy! But the thing is, he really showcases the true horrors in the world. Hughes shows us that there are real monsters out there with real issues. It kind of makes you appreciate all the normalcy in your own life. This book is like a car accident or the nightly news. It’s full of horrific images and things you’d rather remain ignorant to. But there you are, gawking at the site, reading away, knowing that it’s wrong. Then there’s some more terror for you when you realize you’re actually enjoying the book! I can’t tell you how many times I had to rethink my own sanity.
I have been in contact with Mr. Hughes now. I can tell you that while the guy obviously loves to make readers squirm, he is truly a nice guy with a gift in story telling. He knows that his book is insane and I am sure he loved it when I would message him telling him that parts were sick! I wouldn’t read Wind-Up Toy: All Wound Up unless you have super thick skin. The book was that crazy. But if you have a strong stomach and psyche, by all means dive in. There is a good story within the madness that’s sure to chill you to the bone!
Should you have the guts to read, here are some links!