Book Review: Be Scared of Everything by Peter Counter

Publisher: Invisible Publishing
Format: ebook
Release Date: October 13th, 2020
Genre: Non-Fiction – Essays – Horror

Rating: 4/5 Stars

There’s something about horror that draws to it those of us who are, in some ways, different, and Peter Counter explores just some of them – sometimes unintentionally – in his collection of personal essays about the genre. There’s a lot here, but at its core it’s a view of the genre as a whole through one man’s eyes. Some essays are more narrative than others, some speculate as to why we like one aspect of the genre or another, but there’s a core theme running through these as well.

Reading this feels like we’re seeing a man come to terms with something traumatic from his past, something that weaves its way through this collection and Counter’s life. Horror is, in many ways, the home of the traumatised; there are so many of us in this genre drawn to it who have experienced something dark in our lives, and even if our trauma isn’t the same, it’s hard not to feel a connection with Counter and his experiences.

This is narrative memoir, the essays linked by Horror and Counter’s life, circling back often to his neurodivergence, specifically his experiences of PTSD. It’s an intriguing collection, referencing everything from video games, books, films to creepypastas, manga and beyond. This is someone who clearly knows the genre well, and has spent a lot of time immersed in it.

It really stands out, too, how much of a fan Counter is, yet one who is able to look at the issues in the genre and criticise these, too. I will admit, I found the middle to be a bit weaker – I can’t pinpoint fully why, but around the midpoint I was finding some of the essays to be growing just a little tedious, yet they do pick up again and I found myself absolutely racing through the last few, totally engrossed in them.

I really recommend this if you’re a fan of horror, or involved in horror in any way. Counter has some great insights into the genre, his discussions around horror and mental health are handled really well, and it nudges you towards thinking about the genre in slightly different ways.

Thank you to Invisible Publishing for providing a copy of this book via NetGalley. Views remain my own.


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