The Werewolf’s Guide to Life: A Manual for the Newly Bitten
Ritch Duncan and Bob Powers
Trade Paperback, 256 pages, $13.99
Review by Sheila Merritt
Ritch Duncan and Bob Powers, authors of the The Werewolf’s Guide to Life, are seriously funny fellows. In this comprehensive manual to aid the newly bitten lycanthrope, the writers treat the material with the reverence it deserves. They understand the elements of absurdity that come with changing into an uncontrollable beast for three nights a month. The advice offered is pragmatic, witty, wise, and full of out and out howlers.
The guide answers such pressing questions as: “Can a Werewolf Be a Vegetarian? No. And if you were a vegetarian before you were bitten, we’re sorry to report, that won’t last long.” The book also strongly suggests avoiding jobs that require background checks or security clearances, because: “A close look at your finances might reveal a trail of odd purchases (restraints, cage-building materials, livestock) that will draw unwanted attention.” Certainly, the manual is to be admired for its attention to stressful issues that will occur in the future: “Get ready to disappoint someone special on Valentine’s Day 2014. That year, your second Moon of the month falls on February 14. Which means instead of sitting down to an overpriced prix fixe meal for two, you’ll be chained up in your basement getting ready to gorge on a pile of dead flesh. We’re aware that a good many of you might not see this as a bad thing.”
Laden with history about famous lycanthropes through the ages, The Werewolf’s Guide is a source of fascinating information. Who would have thought that Louisa May Alcott, Rosa Parks, veteran actors Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn were lupine? Then there’s this revelation about the explorer, Sir Francis Drake: “During his famous ocean journey around the world from 1577-80, he was bitten in port at Argentina. When he finally returned to England and reported to Queen Elizabeth, he blamed his dramatically decimated crew on scurvy.” An amazing illumination that could only be enhanced by a footnote or two.
Augmented by the apt illustrations of cartoonist Emily Flake, this work is indispensible to not only the novice lycanthrope, but anyone with a curiosity about werewolves. It discusses their adaptations, frustrations, and fulfillments. For a self help book, The Werewolf’s Guide to Life is wildly entertaining as well as being informative. The reader’s interest will be sustained through the entire manual; Duncan and Powers understand the importance of levity in their subject matter. They wryly remind that “There are lots of people today whose quality of life is directly dependent on following a specific schedule of care and treatment, but for all the sacrifices they endure, few of them have the ability to rip the head off a live ox. So go ahead, and live a little.” Never has psychological guidance been such a hoot.
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