This is the worst book I've read in a long time. Perhaps ever. Now I feel like reading some well-written erotica just to know it doesn't have to be li...moreThis is the worst book I've read in a long time. Perhaps ever. Now I feel like reading some well-written erotica just to know it doesn't have to be like this.
I have to say I'm satisfied with the ending and I have no desire to read any more of these awful books (there is no need for any more story; it wrapped up nicely, just as it should have).
**spoiler alert** This book was an impulse read - it was on display at the library and the inside cover said something about the author being a Pulitz...more**spoiler alert** This book was an impulse read - it was on display at the library and the inside cover said something about the author being a Pulitzer Prize finalist a few years ago (gets me every time) and I thought I'd try it. I'm so sorry I did.
At fifteen, Tony suffered a brain injury as the result of an accident. The best parts of the book followed his recovery and struggles to live with damage to his frontal lobe, which left him impulsive, aggressive, and with little self-insight. He has a supportive, loving family and girlfriend and his struggles to cope would have been awe-inspiring if they hadn't been undermined by the rest of the book.
Tony begins writing friendly letters to serial killers. And many of them write back, revealing details of their unthinkable crimes. I must say that this book does require a very strong stomach; it is much more disturbing than the other true crime books I've read. Certainly the crime details are god-awful and graphic, but I did at least expect that going in and it actually isn't what was most upsetting about this book.
What was most upsetting is these horrific crimes are presented in letters written by the serial killers themselves. The serial killer point of view is so skewed and sick and fantasy-based (their victims wanted it, deserved it, etc.) that I cannot understand the point in giving this view a voice. And that's what this book does, upping the ante on true crime shock value. Imagine the contrast between a journalistic style of reporting vs a fantasy story in which the serial killer is the hero and the victim all at once and you'll understand why this book turned my stomach. (ETA: Their points of view are all the SAME! Once you've read about one, you've read about them all - just the crime details change: it's not their fault, society is against them, and their victims shouldn't have been in the wrong place at the wrong time anyway.)
Unfortunately, that same conclusion took Tony over four years of correspondence to get to. I held out, however; surely some good would come from all of this? A case will be solved, a body will be found, a family will be given closure? Oh no. Although Tony certainly gets detail upon detail of crimes--real, embellished, or imagined often remains unclear--not one case is solved or even reopened as the result of Tony's friendship (although one is now being investigated by retired volunteer detectives). But then on more than one occasion Tony and his parents decided that they wouldn't bother the police with details they had discovered. Arg!!
I wish this book had focused more on Tony's struggles to cope. Instead this book gives attention to a very sick point of view. And I can't for the life of me understand why.(less)