I finished two books today and both were quite enjoyable. Notice, I didn't READ both of these today (I wish I was that motivated and speedy), I just finished them both today.
Here are the blurbs I wrote for a book group:
While In Cold Blood has been on my bookish radar for ages now, I never remembered to buy it when I was perusing the stacks at the used book store, or even to check it out when perusing the library shelves at random. However, like many people these days, I watched Capote, and the urge to read this literary masterwork was born. And I'm SO GLAD I finally picked it up.
I come from a family of non-fiction readers (call me black sheep), and my mother in particular is a lover of true crime. I've read a few ofher books, but I've never felt a pull toward the genre with its straightforward serial killer histories and what strike me as hard facts. However, Capote's work--of what might most appropriately be labeled creative non-fiction--is strikingly beautiful. As I read the story of this brutal murder, I was particularly interested in the way that Capote is able to create a sympathetic character in one of the murderers, Perry Smith. Capote tells Smith's story with such heartbreaking detail that it becomes an awkward situation for the reader to reconcile his crime with his moments of deep compassion and troubled life. For me it was a bit like reading Lolita and sympathizing, at some level, with Humbert Humbert. The man in question is a "monster," yet we feel deeply for him.
To my mind, one of Capote's greatest contributions in writing this book is his ability to emphasize the grey area in human nature. While we may simplify, especially when it comes to a crime of this sort, and conclude that the perpetrator is purely evil, rarely is life black and white, but more a swirling collection of grey.
This is the story of Shawn McDaniel, a 14-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. His father, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, thinks him in pain, so he contemplates killing his son to put him out of his misery. What the father doesn't know is that Shawn comprehends everything that goes on around him, and his intellect borders on genius.
Very interesting book that confronts issues of perception. While his father thinks him damaged, Shawn lives a normal life internally and deals with his everyday struggles in a funny, thoughtful way. My professor taught this one in an adolescent lit class last semester when she was dealing with issues in disability theory and "invisibility" in adolescent lit. We'll also be reading it in the Problems in Adolescent Literature class I'm taking in the fall.
Listening: "Aurora"...Foo Fighters