Review: John Winchester’s Journal
Released by It Books on 3 February 2009
Sam and Dean Winchester know all the secrets their father recorded in his journal. Now you can, too.
On November 2, 1983, Sam and Dean Winchester lost their mother to a demonic supernatural force. In the wake of the tragedy, their father, John, set out to learn everything he could about the paranormal evil that lives in the dark corners and on the back roads of America . . . and how to kill it. In his personal journal, he not only compiled folklore, legend, and superstition about all manner of otherworldly enemies but he also recorded his experiences—hunting the creature that killed his wife even as he raised his two sons.
Part prequel, part resource guide, John Winchester's Journal finally gives fans the ultimate companion book for Supernatural. It's all here: the exorcism Sam and Dean used in "Phantom Traveler," John's notes on everything from shape-shifters to Samuel Colt, Dean's first hunt, Sam's peewee soccer team . . . and John's single-minded pursuit of a growing and deadly evil.
Ever since I found out Supernatural has novels as well, I got very excited. I got even more excited when I found out about John Winchester’s Journal, the book Sam and Dean use a lot in the first couple of seasons (not sure what happens to it in the later seasons, seeing as I haven’t watched any further than s3). I saw this book at the Forbidden Planet in Newcastle, and I knew I had to take it with me.
John Winchester’s Journal is about John Winchester’s journey to find Azazel, or the ‘Yellow-Eyed Demon’, as it is named in the series a lot. This demon killed Mary, John’s wife and Sam and Dean’s mother, when Sam was only six months old. And it doesn’t stop there. The Yellow-Eyed Demon has done it a lot more often, as we find out in season two of the series, but in case I have any readers who haven’t seen those episodes yet, I won’t say anything about it anymore.
This journal is filled with information about all kinds of creatures, from werewolves, to spirits, to demons and angels (though no hunter has ever seen one, thus they don’t believe in them). I liked all the information, though sometimes I found myself skipping to the end of it because I wanted to know more about the Winchesters, rather than the spirits of slaves who had been killed by their owners (for example).
John does talk about his family. Of course, he talks about the day Mary died, 2 November 1983. The day Sam was six months old. He also talks about Sam and Dean’s birthdays (2 May and 24 January), about Mary and his wedding anniversary (17 May, the day before my birthday, yay), and of course about the ‘anniversary’ of her death. I liked reading these small entries, because I just like the Winchesters. Near the end, there aren’t a lot of family-related entries anymore, mainly because I guess John was so obsessed with trying to find the demon; but also probably because Sam and Dean were grown-ups who had their own lives, but still I would have liked to read more about them.
There were also some references to the show in it, stuff that the Winchester brothers read in the journal, like information about the Wendigo (which they encounter in Season one’s “Wendigo”), and a little entry about how Sam nearly didn’t make his fifth birthday (because of a witch-like creature which they encounter again in Season one’s “Something Wicked”), and talk about the infamous Colt that can kill anything, even if it can’t be killed by any regular weapons.
There was one major thing that I didn’t like much about this book, and that was the fact that there were two different fonts. One normal, typed one, which was perfectly readable, and then there was another handwritten looking font, which was also quite readable, but sometimes I found it a bit hard. There was also the fact that there were large entries written in Latin, and at the time of reading I had no computer with me to translate, so I just skimmed those huge parts, even though I really wanted to know what it said (Okay, I am going to Google-translate it now!)
The journal ends with an entry on 28 October 2005, around the same time the Pilot episode starts.
In the end, I really liked this book, I know now a lot more about all kinds of supernatural creatures, and I know how to perform an exorcism, but I really would have loved more family-related entries, because like I said before, I have a special place in my heart for the Winchesters.