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The Day of the Door | Knock Knock It's Me, Trauma

The Day of the Door 

By Laurel Hightower

There are things I come across in various media that pull at my heart strings. Things that make me uncomfortable or even bring me to tears. Then, there is whatever this is. The Day of the Door is a story about trauma, grief, abuse, and the impact these things have on us for the rest of our lives. 

The story follows three siblings, Nate, Aury, and Katy. Their journey starts with the death of their eldest brother Shawn at the hands of their mother, Stella. Fast forward into adulthood and Nate is contacted by Katy and offered a chance of reconciliation. A ghost show known as ‘The Cleaners’ is offering a chance for the siblings to connect with their mother again. They want to take them back to the house stained with horrid memories and get them answers they’ve wanted for a long time. 

The problem? Stella believes that she isn’t responsible for Shawn. She claims to have been possessed by something else. Something made her do what she did. Nate, not buying any of it, takes a lot of convincing to go with his sisters. Will the Lasco trio get real answers this time? Or will they be jipped again and instead only get front row tickets to the Stella show? 

The Day of the Door is a great example of how one book can easily mean so many different things to so many different readers. For me, I felt like I was a part of this family. I’ve felt all of the anger and rage that Nate Lasco feels towards his mother. I have known those thoughts towards my own and there wasn’t a single moment with Nate that I didn’t feel we were connected by our past. With the abuse the kids endured, Nate is confident it isn’t related to ghosts and ghouls. He believes there is simply a darkness in Stella that can’t be explained away no matter how badly she wants to force the blame on something else. 

As I read this story, the idea of possession became metaphoric to drug use. I grew up with a mother who was a user and her behavior wasn’t who she was out as a sober person, but who she was when this “thing” (aka the drugs) took over her. She wanted forgiveness in my adult life but only under the guise of how it wasn’t her fault. It wasn’t her. And yet, she did nothing to make it better. Quite the opposite in fact. 

It took a good chunk of this book to explain what was really going on and there are so many things about the way Laurel tells this story that I appreciated. For starters, you don’t know. You’re left wondering what is real and what isn’t. There is a part of you, as a reader, that almost clings to the hope that Stella was possessed because that is much easier to accept. 

We revisit the past with the siblings and hear how memories are skewed with the power of suggestion and the desire to simply forget. The picture is foggy at best and the hosts of the show are clearly in way over their heads. The dynamics of these characters represent all the ways children from abusive parents go out into the world. The one with rage and anger who can never let go of his guilt. The daughter who is so desperate to find love, she looks for it in all the wrong places. The other daughter who simply disconnects from everything and everyone. These are all very realistic and relatable characters in the world of adulthood post trauma. 

As we learn more about what happened to Shawn and what these siblings endured, we are sent on a rollercoaster of emotions. There were times I had tears in my eyes. There were times I wanted to shout. There are so many things going on at once, and even though you are trying to find the answers you’re almost scared to know the truth. All in all, I absolutely loved the book. Stories this close to home are generally a skip for me because I’m not ready to feel what they make me feel. Laurel made this relatable and real but also cathartic in so many ways. It is scary and suspenseful. But it is also heartbreaking and devastating. I definitely recommend you check out Laurel Hightower’s newest release ‘The Day of the Door’. 

To learn more, check out this fantastic conversation I had with Laurel on YT here.

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