Saturday, March 16, 2013

Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 24.

Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck: Why we can't look away by Eric G. Wilson

Summary (copied from Goodreads):
 In Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck, the scholar Eric G. Wilson sets out to discover the source of our attraction to the gruesome, drawing on the findings of biologists, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers, theologians, and artists. A professor of English literature and a lifelong student of the macabre, Wilson believes there’s something nourishing in darkness. “To repress death is to lose the feeling of life,” he writes. “A closeness to death discloses our most fertile energies.”

My opinion:
This book was beyond disappointing.  I was expecting the author to examine the research and actually attempt to answer the question posed in his title (why can't we look away?), which would have been incredibly interesting to me - I have a psychology degree and was a bit of a morbid child myself (listening to "Seasons in the Sun" over and over while reading the obituaries; I grew out of my morbid phase and can no longer stomach scary movies, although I do still read the obituaries).  That didn't happen.  Instead, the author presented a new theory or a personal story every few pages, with no particular order or pattern, leaving no room for depth or interpretation.  This book was trying too hard to be too many things - textbook, personal narrative, social commentary - and didn't succeed at any of them.  In my entire life, there has only been one book I didn't finish.  This almost became the second. 

Not recommended.  At all.   

Quote from the Book:
"I think horror makes us human, because it reminds us of our imperfections." ~ Guillermo del Toro

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