Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In Cold Blood: A True Crime Pioneer

I have always wanted to read In Cold Blood because it has become a modern classic; I also enjoy murder mystery novels and was interested to read the original true crime story and one of the first examples of literary non-fiction. My friend and I were talking about it this weekend and she observed that it's a time capsule of the late 1950s Midwest. It is fascinating to hear how people spoke and the different turns-of-phrases that peppered common speech. The story of the murder itself is a chilling reminder that brutal, cold-blooded murder has always existed-- even in the "Leave it to Beaver" era of the whitebread 1950s. The life stories of the two criminals themselves are depressing examples of what effect cruelty and neglect early in life can have on social and emotional development. The book lagged a bit for me in the end as the courtroom scenes played out, but as a whole it was an original and fascinating addition to the modern literary canon. 3.5 out of 4 Bananas!

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