Friday, February 23, 2007

In Cold Blood (thoughts)

I went into Truman Capote's In Cold Blood with very high expectations. I loved the movie Capote, and several people had told me how much they enjoyed In Cold Blood.

When I read it, though, I ended up being disappointed. It is a good book. The story itself is fascinating, and Capote took the time to dig into the background of all the different people. For those who haven't heard about it, In Cold Blood was the first 'true crime' book; so it's nonfiction told in a ficiton way. Capote describes a crime that took place in Kansas, and the lives of the victims, criminals, and townspeople both before and after the crime. You get all possible details of everyone's life; at the end, you don't find yourself with any left-over questions. The story itself is automatically compelling; who isn't interested in crime? Now, be honest! There's a reason news programs tend to focus on it. So that's the good part of the book.

It is not, however, a great book. Quite frankly, I was unimpressed by Capote's writing style. He writes ridiculously convoluted sentences, using multiple commas, semi-colons, colons, and dashes. It often gets in the way of what Capote is saying. In fact, In Cold Blood often becomes boring, despite its fascinating subject matter. In the end, I had to force myself to finish it.

So? I'm not sure if I would recommend this book or not. I'm glad that I read it, since it's one of those 'seminal works' in contemporary American lit (well, I think so anyway). But the last part was a real struggle. The opening I really enjoyed; then closing, not so much.

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