Thursday, 2 January 2014

Too Good To Be True, by Jan Harold Brunvand

3 stars

My introduction to urban legends came early, and at the hands of my auntie. When I was a kid, my brother and I would spend the latter half of the week at our grandparents' and, while they did their weekly food shop, we’d be left under the charge of Auntie Lisa, who’d soon have us squealing and our hair standing on end as she told us about The Dead Roommate, the Maniac on the Car Roof, The Call From INSIDE The House, and The Licked Hand (these are the first I remember hearing, along with one about an old woman who comes to the door and you notice she has a missing finger….I can’t remember the rest of the story, but I can remember nearly hitting the ceiling whenever Lisa would get to the end and screech “YOU DID IT!” and lunge for us. Got us Every.Damn.Time.) I’m now looking forward to my own niece and nephew becoming old enough for me to scare the bejeesus out of, and this book should be a good source for me to mine.

A compilation of all of the urban legends you’ve heard (plus many more) ranging from the comic to the horrifying, from the old to the new (including all those warnings about gang initiations, petrol stations and checking the back-seat of your car that people are always sharing on Facebook), Brunvand’s writing style is a little irritating at times, especially whenever referring you to the ten thousand other books he’s apparently written on urban legends, but not enough to detract from the legends themselves.

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