Book Review: Cursed Objects: Strange but True Stories of the World's Most Infamous Items by J.W. Ocker

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: N/A Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A book that's published in 2020, ...

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: N/A

Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A book that's published in 2020, A book with more than 20 letters in its title

I got really nervous when I started reading Cursed Objects. I believe in ghosts and hauntings and curses, and am absolutely against provoking the nature of those things. But while this book is a bit spooky and certainly has creepy content, it’s definitely not a scary book. It’s more informative than anything, and each story is very short (just a few pages about each item or topic), which makes this the perfect spooky read for folks of all ages.

A culmination of different cursed objects dating back centuries. This collection shares the basics of these objects, their origins, and a brief synopsis of the consequences of their curses.  

I listened to the audiobook and read the physical book both, and while I really enjoyed the audiobook, I think the illustrations in the physical book really added to the quirk and charm of the stories. The audiobook narrator was absolutely perfect - his voice was just the right mix of authoritative professor and haunting fairy tale storyteller. Plus he had a great impersonation of Lord of the Rings’ Gollum (“my precious!”). So it’s likely by only reading or listening, you’d be missing out on something. But overall, I do think the illustrations take the cake for me. 

It was really interesting to connect these “cursed objects” to pop culture, whether through inspiration of items (like the necklace from Titanic) or more direct inspiration (anything dealing with Ed and Lorraine Warren really). But what I noticed about the majority of the objects discussed (though not all) was that many of them originated through disturbance of those who are dead, or through just straight-up disrespecting others. So be kind, my friends.

"You are holding in your hands, right now, a cursed object. That's thanks to the curse printed on page 11, the one that prescribes the penalty for its theft as hanging and eye gouging by ravens." - Cursed Objects, J.W. Ocker

Again, I really think this book is appropriate for readers young and old. Nothing gets too in-depth, so each story really just synopsizes each object at a very basic level, and readers can use this base information to do a deep-dive into those items they find interesting. For example, I knew a lot more about the scary box bought at a yard sale and subsequently sold online and through a series of people because I read about it in another book. What I know about myself though is that I get extremely scared so easily so just getting the basic information was perfect for me. I could learn about these objects without diving too deep (because reading the full story of the scary box had me afraid for weeks). I really loved this book just the way it is, and I think those who may have bigger complaints may be those who didn’t enjoy the summarized stories and probably wanted more.

Goodreads rating: ★★★★★

*Thanks so much to Quirk Books for sending this review copy my way. I was able to listen to the audiobook thanks to Netgalley. All opinions are entirely my own.

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