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ON THE BOOKSHELF – What happened to Maggie Dalton?

Christopher Tobin’s book, What Happened to Maggie Dalton, says it was “inspired by true events”, so I went Googling and it turns out that according to the Barnes & Noble data, these events took place in the Dalton home in Dildo, NL in 2010. How accurate the story is told compared to the actual events is something that I can’t tell you. Dickie Dalton lives with his wife and daughter, and life is all good and normal until 10 year old Maggie starts showing bizarre behaviour and a tragedy occurs at Maggie’s school. Is Maggie to blame or is Maggie possessed by a demon is what this story really boils down to, and answering that is not easy. So I have be honest. I started to read this book and it took me while because it scared me. Books that are well written can have that effect on you, and I started seeing dark shadows and thinking they were something more. It even triggered a nightmare and my mother, who suggested I read this book in the first place, said maybe I should not bother to read it after all. But in the end I did need to know how this was going to go for Maggie and her famly. The parents did get doctors involved but to me it seemed like they waitied too long. If my kids start acting like this I’m going to church and getting holy water asap. You can laugh, but the book honestly shook me. It was easy to envision young Maggie strapped to the bed, hear the voice of the demon and I know my nose wrinkled reading about the smell. So I got really into this book a little more then I should have since it kept me up at night. The characters were easy to imagine and relate to, and I could picture it all and it was easy to follow along, but by no means simple or tiresome. This story would make a good movie. I don’t want to give away too much, but there are some twists and turns that were unexpected, and the characters trying to help Maggie carried some demons of their own. These subplots are important to the main story, and richly crafted. I would definitely recommend this book if you like scary books, but otherwise you’ll have to pass because it does get to you. If you’re a fan of The Exorcist or even the early Stephen King novels, then this one is worth your time.

Ashley’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Book columnist Ashley White is a mother of two and a self-confessed bookworm. She is passing on her love of reading to her children, and is active in local book groups and her community, including through volunteer work at the Port aux Basques Salvation Army. You can email Ashley at

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