Bernard Rodriguez's Reviews > My Dark Places

My Dark Places by James Ellroy
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Jun 15, 10

Read in May, 2010

Part true crime murder mystery, part creep-o confessional; Ellroy's romansbilding is a tale of multiple shames, and indignities. The guilt of not doing his mother's death justice by loving her in life, and the shame of dragging her murder into the public eye for personal exploitation.

Meeting critics head on and confronting them with brutal honesty about his motivations, Ellroy's candidness severs through any judgements of the man you can make today. Scumbag first class? Sure. Grave robber? Maybe, but Ellroy has thought of these criticisms long before setting pen to paper and he's not going to be stopped by judgements. As a writer and as the son of a murdered mother he craves the truth.

Filled with tales of specifics: names, times and places the book careens off the page with love, loss, self-directed anger and shame, but is devoid of cries for redemption or a call for pity. Ellroy's prose is tight, and often times alarmingly violent in it's honesty.

Having achieved respect and success as a writer of dense, plot heavy novels and air-tight prose, Ellroy digs deep into gutters of his early life and bring back fragments of a broken childhoood. Unrelenting in its savage personal truths, Ellroy achieves what our memoirists fail to do: admit to acts of failure, selfishness, and general scumbaggery, and never apologize for the life he's led.
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