Dollhouse by Sam Campbell (Spoilers)

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TW – Fatphobia

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Crummings‘ Home for the Dispossessed. A mysterious orphanage on the outskirts of town.
When Emma Winters begins to discover the porcelain dolls hidden within the walls of her new home, dolls that strangely resemble several of her friends, she knows something’s up. It can’t just be a coincidence. The resemblance is uncanny.  In a wave of shock, she realizes her fellow orphans aren’t being adopted at all — they’re disappearing. What secret is old headmistress Viola Crummings hiding? Emma must hurry to find out. If not, she may disappear next.

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This Book starts out with a girl named Emma, attending her mother’s funeral. She is taken away to an orphanage shortly after. Soon after attending, Emma finds Miss Crummings very strange, she always staring at her. Emma quickly makes friends with Ben. Emma goes on to defend a boy named Leo when he is attacked by Miss Crummings and changed into a doll. When Emma finds Leo changed to a doll she soon finds other dolls throughout the house. Dolls that were once children. Emma finds out about Billy, an orphan who escaped 50 years ago through the woods. She soon finds a poster in billy’s tree house with miss crummings on it and learns that

Miss crummings used to be a circus assistant. She and Ben (with the help of the maid Miss Gracie) leave the orphanage to attend a circus and try to find out answers to miss crumming and the 3 dark stars on her arm and how she is changing the children into dolls. Emma and Ben find Armanzo and he tells Emma how viola (miss crummings) was a great performer but was so absorbed by her own beauty that she may have put to much perfume on and became a human torch. She was so disfigured and Burned that she was never to perform again. Miss crummings would soon harass the new performer because she was so jealous of them. Soon after Armanzo tells Emma this info, a loud crash and screaming can be heard.

When they open the door, the lion has escaped and attacked his assistant, Armanzo looks at Ben and says “YOU” Ben and Emma run off and are soon hiding in a stand waiting for Miss Gracie to take them back to the orphanage. Shortly after arriving back, Emma goes to Bens room and doesn’t find him there. She finds a spell book. When Ben walks in the door, Emma feels off. It’s not Ben, it’s Miss Crummings appearing as Ben. She soon changes into herself and Emma makes a quick escape. She tries to escape but ends up jumping out of a window and running into the woods. She soon runs into Billy, while trying not to worry about the howling, only Billy looks at her and says its miss crummings. They are soon in the tree house and safe when Billy tells Emma the only way to kill crummings is to destroy her power source. Emma thinks back to the snow globe and how crummings looked at it when she saw it.

Afterward, the trapdoor burst open and in comes the wolf. Billy is soon knocked out and the wolf is approaching Emma. The wolf is just about to attack Emma when Pebble another Orphan has stabbed the wolf. They Quickly try to get Billy, but the flames are too much, they have to leave without him. When they are back at the orphanage Emma has the snow globe and sees the initials V.C on the bottom. She quickly goes to destroy in when in comes Miss crummings with Ben, he has been changed into a doll.  Emma soon makes a deal with crummings and swaps the snow globe for Ben, only when crummings gets the snow globe she drops Ben into a thousand pieces. Crummings soon turns into a wolf and Emma sees pebble going up the stairs for the globe.

As soon as Pebble gets the globe she drops it. Then comes a purple wind that surrounds Crummings and soon she is on the floor gasping for breath. She’s Dead, It’s over. Emma and Pebble have destroyed the monster, but Ben is still gone or so she thinks. Miss Gracie soon appears with Bens Actual doll, she swapped them to save Ben. Everyone goes to be that night. When Emma Wakes up the next morning, hundreds of footsteps outside her bedroom door and Bens doll is gone. She quickly hurries outside to find all of the dolls have came back to life, including Ben. The Curse was broken.

I loved this story, it flowed together and kept pace well. The characters were well written. Emma who is the MC, Ben who made a great little sidekick, Miss Gracie who you find out was an orphan their too. The writing was at times childlike, but it fit the story well. Overall was a fantastic novel and I did enjoy it.

Now, My Main issue with this novel is it did have a little fatphobia. It did bother me reading it, because it was written in spots it was really needed, it didn’t add anything to the story. The Character is pebble she is described a few times as a larger girl.

Examples of it

pg 125 – “I Peeked over the banister and caught a glimpse of Pebble down below in the grand hall, over her knees, scrubbing the black scuff marks off the stone floor, her thick arms jiggled as she scrubbed vigorously”

pg 327 – “My Throat and Lungs began to burn as I inhaled the icy air, desperately trying to keep up with pebble. She was large, but she ran fast tonight”

These to me added nothing to the story they were not needed. It was really just to emphasize that pebble was fat. I enjoyed the story, but these were not needed to make it great.

I do love this story and recommend it to people, but if you have an issue with fatphobia. I would encourage you to not if you do. While I did really enjoy the story, I was disappointed when I read those.

If you do pick up this novel, let me know what you think of it.

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2 thoughts on “Dollhouse by Sam Campbell (Spoilers)

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