Book Review: The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson

© Pocket Star Books, 2005.


The shocking true story of an American dream that turned into a nightmare beyond imagining…

In December 1975, the Lutz family moved into their new home on suburban Long Island. George and Kathleen Lutz knew that one year earlier, Ronald DeFeo had murdered his parents, brothers, and sisters in the house, but the property – complete with boathouse and swimming pool – and the price had been too good to pass up. Twenty-eight days later, the entire Lutz family fled in terror…

This is the spellbinding, bestselling true story that gripped the nation – the story of a house possessed by spirits, haunted by psychic phenomena too terrible to describe.

Via Goodreads


Jay Anson’s The Amityville Horror sparked a lot of attention when it was first published in 1977 and soon after became the basis for the famed horror movie of the same title–but the question often remains: is it a true story? Originally published as such, The Amityville Horror now resides among fiction titles, largely due to the fact that besides the Lutzes, very little activity has been reported in the DeFeo house. (There were also several lawsuits.) For the purpose of this review, I will be treating The Amityville Horror as a fiction novel.

Normally, this paragraph is used to describe the characters and how I felt about them. Because The Amityville Horror was meant to be regarded as non-fiction, the characters, based on real people, are rather flat. There are too many questions about how they behave and react to different events in their lives. Part of this may be attributed to the style of Anson’s writing, which comes across to me as rather basic. In some places, there’s no flow and things appear forced.

Plotwise, I found the story to be engaging enough that I did, admittedly, devour it. Anson lays out events one after another, with little to no space in between. He also writes from several perspectives, and switches frequently–which can be rather distracting.

Overall, The Amityville Horror garners a lot of fame. The DeFeo murders were monstrous, but the addition of the Lutzes’ stories adds fuel to a fire that, for many skeptics, has long since stopped burning. If you’re a franchise fan, the book will likely interest you, but other than that, is neither spectacular or horrible.

Rating: 💀💀💀

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