Audiobook Review Quickie: The Amityville Horror: A True Story by Jan Anson


I came across this title on Audible and decided to give it a whirl. Prior to listening to this book, I wasn't sure what the whole Amityville thing was about other than there being a pig demon in the movie and an Eminem rap song of the same name - being an adolescent, white girl in the 90's, I am well-versed in Eminem. Anywho, this was a very strange audiobook. The narrator explained that the book was non-fiction and his tone was such that audiobook felt like a six-hour news story. 

The book was written in the 70's and was very dated. It begins with the Lutz family moving into 112 Ocean Avenue, the scene of a gruesome murder the year prior. The Lutz's are immediately affected by the "spirits" in the house and after 28 days of living at Ocean Avenue they escape from the home never turning back, not even to collect their belongings.  

Some parts of the story were eerie but mostly just corny. Days after listening to the audiobook, the movie adaptation was on SyFy. I love campy scary movies, but this was not campy, this was just boring (however, in all fairness, I was watching the cable version, not the unedited version).

What I find interesting about this story is the amount of controversy that surrounds its status as non-fiction. To catch up, you can read the article on Wikipedia, for what its worth. The controversy reminded me of a recent story on NPR regarding the upcoming re-release of Thirty-Eight Witnesses: The Kitty Genovese Case by A.M. Rosenthal. The book was originally released in 1946 as non-fiction. However, after several decades of fact checking court reports and witness testimonies, it has been confirmed that the "facts" in the book are not true. Now the question posed by NPR, as well as the NY Times, is does the publisher have a responsibility to re-class books that are proven to be incorrect? Now, of course I don't expect a publisher to make the call of whether or not a haunting exists but it does make you think..

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