Chris 's Reviews > The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
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May 16, 12

bookshelves: fbr-2012
Read from December 26 to 28, 2011, read count: 2

This book is actually for a group challenge in April, but since I've sworn off re-reads for 2012, I decided to knock it out early.

I first read this back when the movie came out. The first movie. So I was pretty young, maybe 11 or 12. I remember liking it pretty well.

Unfortunately, on this re-read I suspected the author might also have been 11 or 12 when he wrote it. The story is excellent and very creepy. Whether a true story or a hoax, it's very compelling. The flaw in the story telling almost cost me an otherwise enjoyable read.

The narrative is choppy and schizophrenic. Not for effect, but from what seems to be a lack of skill. The tense changes constantly and without warning, as does the point of view. I can see why the author shifted tenses and POV's as he did, but it could have been done more smoothly. It's rather jarring as it is. The dialogue is even worse - people don't talk like they do in this book. Maybe in an episode of Scooby Doo, but not in real life.

Those points aside, I still rate this at 3-stars. The story itself is awesome and had to be told. I can only imagine what this story would have been like if written by a true master of the genre, say a Stephen King.

ETA: I had to rethink this. I felt wrong giving something this poorly written a rating of 3-stars when I've been so harsh on several other books. I've given 1 and 2 star ratings to books that were much better written than this thing. So I'm dropping it to 2. The writing should be at a 1-star, but I'll stand by liking the story well enough to say "it's ok" on the final rating.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Brad (new)

Brad I love that you bring up Scooby-Doo, the classic skeptical cartoon about ghost busting, as a way to slag off the dialogue of Amityville. Genius juxtaposition.


Chris Haha! Thanks!


Flavio Sousa I agree with your comments on Ansen's writing, especially the POV changes. It was gratuitous, pointless and added very little to the pace of the story. Capote used the technique wisely in 'In Cold Blood', Jay Anson didn't.


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