* Received from the publisher for review.
We’ve all heard about legends of mermaids, Bigfoot, and Mothman. In American Monsters, Godfrey discusses reports of these monsters, and so many more. I honestly did not know until reading this book that there were so many sightings and legends of creatures, just here in the United States.
Godfrey has the difficult task of taking a high number of witness statements, sorting the credible from the non-credible, and following up on the credible ones where she can. A high number of sightings she records are from earlier centuries and need to be included with care. I give Godfrey full credit for keeping this book as close to objective as a writer could. Where other explanations are available, she does state them. Where the probability of a creature are virtually non-existent, she gives reasons why.
A problem that arises with writing this book so objectively is that is does come across as rather dry. These monsters are interesting. The eye-witness statements are interesting. But the overall feel of the book is that it’s almost as boring as a textbook; for similar reasons that textbooks are boring. American Monsters is about interesting things, but the need to be objective almost kills the interest of a reader that is not, themselves, a monster hunter. This is not a book for a casual reader.
Because I am a casual reader and not a monster hunter, I give this book 3 gnomes out of 5. It was well researched, as one would expect from a journalist, and Godfrey does do a good job of keeping her personal opinions out of it until her own sightings in the last chapter. Unfortunately, the material is so very dry to me that I had to push myself to keep reading.