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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-08-17
- Reviewer: Staff
Kerr, a sociologist, investigates fear in this book, which blends memoir and scholarly study. She seeks out fresh sources of screams around the world: walking around the roof of a skyscraper, sitting in solitary confinement, riding a roller coaster, and visiting a haunted house. While describing her experiences, Karr insightfully reviews the physical effects of feeling fear, such as the release of hormones. The author begins and ends the book at ScareHouse in Pittsburgh, Pa., where she is invited to design a set of experiments testing her theory that three components turn the merely scary into the absolutely terrifying: narrative (a background story), interactivity (especially a physical interaction or sensation), and shared participation to intensify the emotions. For people who wonder why they like to be scared, these experiments offer some clues. For those afraid of being afraid, Kerr’s own enthusiasm gives them reasons to try it, since, as she writes, “there is so much power in recognizing that simple fact, that each day is our choice: Are you going to live or die?” Agent: Alia Habib, McCormick Literary. (Oct.)