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Book Review: Great Australian Urban Legends by Eamon Evans


I saw Eamon Evans book, Great Australian Urban Legends whilst looking for things to spend my Christmas gift vouchers on in a local department store and thought it might be a good purchase to help inspire some possible animation ideas with a more Australian flavor.

I didn't really have time to give it proper consideration however the blurb on the back sounded promising so I decided to give it a go.



Unfortunately it was not the read I hoped it to be as it doesn't dive deep enough into any urban legend to really spark the imagination.

In fact it barely gets much further than describing each legend before declaring it's not true based on no real evidence other than, if it appears in this book it probably isn't true.

The book contains nearly two hundred myths and urban legends from a variety of eras in Australian history, grouped together in various themes including; Stubborn, Sinister, Silly, Scandalous, Sporty and Spooky legends.

Unfortunately Eamon seems more interested in giving the book his voice and wit more than exploring the actual legends. Although his writing style is very conversational and does indeed raise a few laughs I really wanted to know more about the myths than the author.

Eamon devotes between 2 to 4 pages to each myth, with the first page being more of an introduction loaded with his wit to set the scene than any real detail about the actual urban legend. That leaves a little time to describe the myth and less time to draw any thoughtful conclusion.

If you're interested in Australian Urban Legends this book is perhaps a good starter to quite a few you've probably never heard about (there's not many I can say are nationally known legends) but you'll need to look elsewhere if you have more than a passing interest. This book definitely isn't one that will immerse you into the world of urban legends.

The book comes across as dismissive and cynical which I feel is a shame. The real fun of an urban legend is the possibility that they just might have some element of truth or are at least ambiguous about how much is actually myth.

From the very introduction this book states that everything within it's pages is a complete myth. Missing an opportunity to describe a tall tale the way most people hear them and then exploring if any part of the story is actually true.

At best Great Australian Urban Legends is a bit of light entertainment reading to pass the time on public transport. It's presentation of the subject matter makes it mostly forgettable. If you really want to sink your teeth into Australian Urban Legends, look elsewhere.

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