Mini Reviews #4

Tucker Jones is an upstanding, caring single father whose life changes dramatically one night with the ring of a single phone call.  His thirteen year old daughter Kat was reportedly seen giving blow jobs to a number of her peers at a party one night.  Tucker shows up at the party to collect his daughter but she is nowhere to be found and the teenage boys at the house seem insensitive to his plight.  This perfect storm results in a scuffle between Tucker and the boys and culminates with one of the boys crashing into a glass table and losing an eye.  Suddenly, Tucker is threatened with the legal ramifications of his actions, not to mention the complications to his personal life.

This is one of those books that demonstrates how a few seconds of pure emotion can result in life changing consequences.  Tucker reacted badly that night, but really, who could blame him? It was difficult to read about the consequences that Kat and Tucker had to face as a result of that awful night, but at the same time you have the other victim too, the teenage boy, who wasn’t involved in the fiasco earlier that evening with Kat, but was instead involved in a relationship with Kat’s best friend.

Typically, this type of book is something I pick up when I want something that is a little more absorbing without involving too much concentration.  While it raised some great questions, in the end it wasn’t the most memorable book I have ever read.  I could see it eliciting a great book club discussion though.

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Towards the beginning of my pregnancy, when I had very little appetite for reading, I ventured more towards quick, “trashier” reads, which led me on a mini Amityville kick.

For those of you unfamiliar with the case, the quick version is as follows; on a November night in 1974, Ronald and Louise DeFeo were shot dead in their beds, as were four of their five children, Dawn, Allison, Marc and John David.  The bodies were discovered by the eldest child, Ronnie, who seemed hysterical at the time but was quickly taken into custody under suspicion of murder.  He eventually confessed and has been in prison ever since, but the case is hardly as clear cut as that.

The Amityville Horror was the first book written on the case (I think) and deals with the Lutz family, who moved into the DeFeo home less than a year after the murders.  They have no qualms about moving into a house where a night of horror recently took place, but soon after they realize that something is horribly wrong with the house and that it is possessed by evil spirits.  They are not the spirits of the dead DeFeo family but instead evil spirits that supposedly influenced Ronnie to commit the murders in the first place.  After living in the home for less than a month, the Lutz family fled, never to return again.

I then read Mentally Ill in Amityville, which purported to tell the true story of the Amityville murders and the subsequent situation with the Lutzes. The investigative aspect of the book was interesting, with the author traveling to Amityville for research and tracking down neighbors who could testify to the circumstances from both the murders and the haunting of the Lutz family.

I’ll admit though, both books left me with a bad taste in my mouth.  The Amityville murders and haunting are one of those subjects that is so muddled with very little answers available.  Ronnie DeFeo has changed his account of the murders so many times that it is difficult to know the true circumstances of that night.  Then you have the Lutz’s, whose story and motivations are countlessly questioned.  I ended up feeling as if neither author really knew what they were talking about and that both books were the result of much conjecture and loaded with falsehoods.

From what I have seen, there is not really a definitive book on Amityville that can be taken seriously, so at this point, I admit defeat.

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10 Responses

  1. The Amityville case sounds weird! I can see how you’d get frustrated though, it’s pretty much impossible to find out the truth at this point, I guess.

  2. I saw the Amityville movie a long time ago, and have to say that it scared me, but then again, I am a wimp when it comes to scary things. Breaking Her Fall sounds really interesting, and I can imagine that it would be really intense, from the way you’ve described it. I think I need to seek that one out. I just read a similar book, entitled This Perfect Life. They dealt with some of the same issues.

  3. breaking her fall sounds interesting! but i don’t think i can go through the emotional turnmoil of reading it.

  4. I read the original Amityville book many years ago…I liked it then bc it gave me the creeps, especially with the “based on a true story” tag. However, I saw the movie eventually and thought it was stupid, not nearly as freaky as the book and made the story seem more unbelievable to me. I didn’t even know this other book was available, but I’ll probably just leave this one in the past :/

  5. The Amityville Horror movie scared me so much I had bad dreams. I won’t be trying the book any time soon.

  6. This stuff is way too scary for me!

  7. 13? OMG, OMG. I don’t think I would be making any sound decisions if I found my daughter in that situation. There is a girl at her school that CLAIMS to do this kind of thing all the time, and it will be over my dead body if she ever sees her outside of the school premises.

    As far as the Amityville book, I read that when I was in high school I think. I LOVED it, because I was totally into that thing. I loved King, and Koontz, and I saw the movie, and was completely gullible for it all. It would be interesting to see my reaction now.

  8. I remember seeing the Amityville movie when I was 8 or 9 years old, and as soon as it started, my brother told me that it was all true, and it freaked me the heck out. It took ages before I slept properly again, really really traumatic stuff for me. What’s odd is that several years later, when I was maybe 11, I watched the sequels and found them the good kind of scary and ended up watching the third one several times, although I’m pretty sure I’d think that they’re terrible movies if I were to see them again. And I don’t believe I ever revisited the first one.

  9. I remember wanting to read Breaking Her Fall a long time ago.. sounds like a great premise. And at the least it sounds like a great book club read.

    I’m too scared to read about Amityvill, lol!

  10. Despite having never seen the Amityville movie or reading any books about it, whenever I see a house with that weird roof line my mind goes “Eeek! Amityville Horror!”

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