Saturday, April 21, 2018

[Book Review] But You Scared Me the Most by John Manderino

Book Review of But You Scared Me the Most by John Manderino

But You Scared Me the Most by John Manderino is a very interesting collection of dark, yet humorous, short stories. I absolutely loved the tone of the book overall, and I had so much fun reading it!

Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my rating in any way. 

Let's dive in!

But You Scared Me the Most by John Manderino

This collection of twenty-six dark but often humorous short stories features a pantheon of disturbed and disturbing characters, human and otherwise.

Many of the stories are modern takes on classic monsters crafted with twisted plots. The Wolfman of “Wolfman and Janice” is doing the best he can under very trying circumstances, especially when confronted with eating his elderly neighbor’s cat. There’s an adolescent vampire-wannabe who is suffering badly: in love for the first time. “Frankenstein and His Mother” is a terrifying story of a grown man who wears a Frankenstein mask, lives with his mother, and watches TV and eats corn chips all day, too afraid to work.  “Dracula’s Daughter” turns a pretentious hippie into an honest ghost. And Bigfoot—lonely, sexually frustrated—tells all.

Other stories feature characters who seem perfectly normal until they're alone. Phil, for instance, is never so happy as when he’s with his inflatable girlfriend, Vanessa—until she tells him the devastating truth about himself. Elderly Ellen is running out of patience with her dead husband George, who’s turned prankish. “Bob and Todd” tells the story of a hitchhiking ride gone bad that will have readers squirming in their seats. More than just standard monster stories, the tales in But You Scared Me the Most reveal the dark heart of human nature.

My thoughts:
What an interesting collection of short stories! This is another one that I had to pick up here and there to read just one or two stories at a time so I could properly digest them.

Overall, I really enjoyed this collection! I love the variety of the topics the stories covered. The overall tone was slightly dark, but also humorous, which I really appreciated. Many stories began with a bang and drew me in immediately, while others had a slow start but then finished with a surprise. Once I finished one story, I just couldn't wait to dive into the next one to see what it would be about!

There were a number of shorts that I really loved. But of course, with most short story collections, there were also a few I didn't like.

Here are my very quick notes for the stories that I gave five stars:

Too Old To Trick-Or-Treat, Too Young To Die
I loved the realistic and humorous family dynamic in this story. And what a cool idea! This was the perfect story to choose to include first!

Wolfman And Janice
Loved this one! What a fun idea. And that ending!

Self-Portrait With Wine
What a fun one! I loved the spontaneity and humor of this story!

Bob and Todd
That was intense and so filled with anxiety!

The Mummy 
Such a heartbreaking tale. When I read this one, it felt like my stomach dropped. This one hit me really hard!

A Matter Of Character 
Loved this one! So bittersweet.

The Witch of Witch’s Woods
Loved this one! What a great story to end on. I loved the storytelling!

Then there were the ones I really enjoyed, but gave four stars:

A Certain Fellow Named Phil
Whoa! The first four sentences are so intriguing. And phew, this one was quite unsettling!

But You Scared Me The Most
Such a sad one!

No Place Like Home
Woah. This one took a turn I wasn’t expecting!

Made For Each Other

Woah. I did not see that twist coming.

The Weary Ghost of Uncle Doug 
Aww I loved this one. Poor Doug! 

My final thoughts:
If you enjoy short stories that drift into the "odd" territory, you should definitely check this one out! I had so much fun reading them and highly recommend the collection!

Thanks for reading!
Have you read any short story collections recently? I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below!


  1. Wow these all look so good! I love how most of them seem to be quite emotional and gut-wrenching - and I also love dark stories ;)

  2. What a good collection of stories. Your review had me intrigued.

  3. Ooh, that cover is WEIRD! These stories sound cool, though, I love the twists on old stories.

    1. Right?! I LOVE it! When I opened up the package and saw it I was immediately interested!

  4. I’ve never been a huge fan of short stories but if I’m going to read them, this is the kind I like.

  5. This sounds like a great collection. Sounds like you had some fun reading this!

  6. Dark, yet humorous. I'm intrigued! I haven't read any short story collections in awhile.


  7. I don't normally read many short stories but I like the combo of dark and humorous so I'll have to keep this collection in mind. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

  8. I like a mix of dark and humorous, sometimes the best horror or scary stuff is leavened just a bit with humor! Looks like a fun collection. I have to admit I'd like to know more about the werewolf and his dilemma with the neighbors cat!

    1. Definitely!! The horror here was pretty light, but it definitely leave you feeling unsettled.

  9. Oooh I am happy you ended up enjoying this!! Short story anthologies are always a gamble, you can either love them or hate them. I will add this to my TBR and get it when I am in the mood for some short stories. Thanks E!

  10. Lots of interesting characters to make the stories happen!

  11. One of my favorite things about anthologies is I can finish a story in one sitting. Glad you enjoyed these, Erica.
    Lonna @ FLYLÄ“F

  12. I think picking up and putting down my short story collections like that is my favourite way to read them! Sounds like the perfect balance of dark and humor.