Disturbing book: Let’s Go Play at the Adams’

“more terrifying than Lord Of The Flies & The Exorcist combined”

Let’s Go Play at the Adams’ AKA the most disturbing book I have read…

adamsLet’s Go Play at the Adams’ was written by a man called Mendal W. Johnson and published in 1976. It was Johnson’s only novel (which seems weird as well).

I’ve actually owned two copies of the book. The first one I found on top of a recycling bin (true story) and because it looked interesting and scary and was also in pristine condition, I took it. I was only about 14 at the time and after I got home and started looking at it more carefully I was so disgusted I threw it away in a public bin – I didn’t want it in the house.

Now as Captain Hindsight from South Park would know – this was a mistake. It’s now near impossible to buy a pristine copy of the book (which this one was!) and Amazon are currently advertising second-hand copies that range between £20 and £2,500. That is not a typo. £2,500. Hmmm.

Anyway, a few years after throwing my original book away, I got thinking about it again. I was older now, I was hard, I could handle it (though still slept with the light on). And so I found myself an old, decrepit copy for a few quid online with yellow pages – at least a third of which were falling out. And I sat and read it.


The general synopsis is this – a young girl in her early 20s called Barbara is due to babysit for some children for a few days whilst their parents are out of town. On arriving at their house she is chloroformed, gagged and painfully tied up. From here until the end of the book she is the subject of torture, humiliation, rape and eventually, hideous murder as the children go from youthful rebellion to sick curiosity, to downright depravity.

It has been said that the story is loosely based on the true life torture and murder of Sylvia Likens. Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door has also been said to represent this sad, true life story and there are similarities between the two books.

However, whilst The Girl Next Door did have a voice of reason in David there is no peace in Let’s Go Play at the Adams’. It’s a horrific story with no happy ending, no punishment for the perpetrators and no justice for Barbara. The final chapter of the book really is the most haunting of all though the entire book is very difficult to read. There is a darkness and a sickness within the pages that I had never come across before, it made me feel unclean as I was reading it. Yet it’s an extremely well written book and you can’t help but really root for poor Barbara, willing her to escape or hoping one of her kidnappers will have a heart and free her (they don’t). 

Now this is not for the faint hearted or children, but I do recommend to all fans of seriously horrid horror novels. This is a cruel, unsettling and disturbing book.


About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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24 Responses to Disturbing book: Let’s Go Play at the Adams’

  1. Akhiz says:

    i watched “An American crime” same story as the girl next door just diff cast both came out same year and it shocked me that it was based on a true story, did some research on it and learnt that the actual brains behind everything Gertrude Baniszewski was released just after 14 years of imprisonment (why on earth) American judicial system can be so funny sometimes.

  2. vinnieh says:

    Sounds terrifying Emma.

  3. Zoë says:

    Hmmmmm, if I can find a copy I may very well just check this out. Sounds rough!

    • emmakwall says:

      God it’s awful!!! But I’d feel the same if I read this on someone else’s site, I’d want to read it now!!

      What is wrong with us ha ha ha 🙂

      • Zoë says:

        We are all a little broken. I didn’t read too much where you put the plot in, just to see the babysitter got kidnapped or whatever. Hmmmm, sounds so deranged!

  4. This sounds even worse than American Psycho by Bren Ellis which was at the top of my list of most disturbing books. Now I have go find a copy!

    • emmakwall says:

      Morbid curiosity prevails!

      I’ve never read American Psycho, I’ve seen the film but don’t know if that’s a great representation or not? Judging the movie, I’d say Let’s Go Play… is the more disturbing book.


  5. Cici says:

    sounds like this book Fading by Blair E.K couldn’t finish it i got creeped out by the rape…maybe i’ll read the end pages of this one only or wait for the movie…

    • emmakwall says:

      I sometimes wonder how much talent really goes into writing stuff like that. If you’re a good writer is one thing, but it takes no imagination to shock people. It’s easy to shock. It’s harder to make people laugh 🙂

      Having said that, I am now opening another google tab and typing “fading by Blair E.K” as I need to know more!!

  6. Cici says:

    now i want to read it…

    • emmakwall says:

      you know it! it’s morbid curiosity at its best isn’t it 🙂

      I’m pretty sure there is a PDF version doing the rounds on the net somewhere. I’ve not looked myself but I’ve seen it come up in search terms etc

  7. guyportman says:

    Let’s Go Play at the Adams’ evidently takes disturbing to a whole new level. I’ll add it to my to-read list.

  8. theipc says:


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