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01-25-2012, 08:03 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Country: Canada
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After the first 300-400 pages, I thought this was the greatest book I'd ever read. You'd be hard-pressed to find a fiction book this engaging and suspenseful, let alone a true story. I've never read a non-fiction book before where the characters, even the minor ones, were described as well as Mailer does here. As the story goes along, you find yourself thinking about how Gilmore's actions affected the various people who tried to help him.

Unfortunately, it does lose some steam after the trial when the book shifts away from the story of Gilmore and focuses more on the selling and marketing of his story. After the heartwrenching moments in the books first half, it's really hard for the reader to care about how much money Time or Playboy were willing to pay for an interview. And was it really necessary to describe Lawrence Schiller's diarrhea problems?

It does delve a lot into the ethics of the death penalty, but doesn't take a stand on the issue. While I think Mailer was trying to be somewhat sympathetic towards Gilmore, his faults and heinous actions are not sugarcoated or ignored.

Even with some flaws, the good parts of this book are so good that I can't give it anything less than 10/10.

A brilliant story about a reprehensible human being.

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