February 9, 2015

Recent Reads

7. The Man in the Rockefeller Suit
I listened to the audiobook, which was really well narrated by Erik Singer, for my book club this month. I had to give myself a couple of days after I completed the book to see how this one settled before I reviewed it. And here's the thing, there are parts I loved and parts I felt dragged on and on.

I did not know much about this story going in, other than the broad strokes: a man named Clark Rockefeller kidnapped his child, and it was discovered that he was an impostor. Yes, he was the kid's father, but not a Rockefeller or any of the other aliases he used. What he was able to pull off would be much harder in this digital age, but what I found fascinating was his gumption, his intelligence, his obvious charm, his understanding of human nature, his lack of empathy. We all think we are a great judge of character, but are we really? As the saying goes, a sucker is born every minute. It is the sheer scale of the endeavor that is amazing. And as much as we'll have to discuss about him at book club, I am more interested in the people who were snowed by this man, especially his wife. Fascinating.

So why not a higher rating? I really felt that the book dragged in parts and did not give me a complete picture - there are clearly holes in this story. The thing is I'm not a huge fan of true crime books, but if you are, you'll probably love this one. Rating: 3 stars.

8. Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague
The tragedy and heartbreak of the 1980s AIDS epidemic is a story that needs to be told, and there are many really great books that tell it. This book however was not one of them. It recounts the true story of a group of artists and activists living in New York City who find themselves on the front line of the AIDS battle, but the detached way this story is told did not work for me. Rating: 2 stars.

9. Why Are You Doing This?
The jacket copy and the description of this graphic novel give away too much of the plot, so I'd recommend skipping them and just reading the book. I picked this one up because I loved the cover art. This short story appears to be one thing on the surface, but is really about something else on a deeper level. I cannot say anything more without a spoiler warning, so all I'll say is that this a fun and quick read. Rating: 3 stars.

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