Diana~'s Reviews > In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
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's review
Apr 26, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: classic-fiction, 2011-reads, college-reading
Read from February 25 to April 25, 2011

In Cold Blood is a haunting novel that portrays the darker side of society. While I did not enjoy reading it since my Professor assigned this reading to us, it is still a novel that I will never likely forget. It explores the faults of our very own justice system and how everything isn't just always black or white... but also shades of gray. Ultimately, I felt sorry for the Clutter family and Perry Smith but pity for Dick Hickock. Even towards the end, he was never remorseful or apologized for his sins-- hence forth his death was his very own redemption. Perry on the other hand, is an entirely different matter.

Unlike Dick, Perry never truly had a happy childhood but a rather misfortunate one. Every single one of his siblings ended up committing suicide except for his sister, Barbara Johnson-- she actually leads a pretty good life. I think the most heartbreaking aspect of all is the fact that essentially, his family is probably one of the main reasons why he ended up becoming a human being that is thoroughly flawed and lost. I think Truman Capote does exceptionally well trying to convey to his readers how pitiful Perry was and as a result, we sympathize with him. All Perry ever wanted in life was to be happy and search for 'lost treasure' but apparently, that won't likely ever happen. To make matters worse, he ended up in an accident that scarred both his legs and even his soul forever. It may seem like I'm trying to defend him for his crimes but I'm actually not. He is essentially a murderer who brutally murdered a family of four. But as a reader, I feel as if Perry was never 'right' in the head. He was often mistreated as a child ever since his mother and father became estranged. One of the worst things that I have read about Perry Smith's childhood was when he was beaten up by nuns in an orphanage. I don't think I could ever look at the world the same way again... and this is why Truman Capote became one of the most famous writers of his time and the most well-known in present day.

Dick Hickock is and will always be one of the characters that disgusts and make me pity him at the same time. He disgusts me because of his attraction to children and wanting to rape Nancy Clutter during the night of the murder. The scene that I will never likely forget is the one in which Perry and Dick are both in Miami, Florida and Dick tries to 'seduce' a twelve-year old child. Perry was disgusted and believe me, I wanted to throw up. He is essentially the true mastermind behind the entire murder and this is also another reason as to why I hate him. He could have lived his whole life as the ideal husband and father to his children but things ultimately change, as life does in the outcome. Ever since he was in an accident that caused his face to be disfigured, the novel stated that he came out as a different person. I guess this is when his crimes truly began.

Even though I did not give this read a 5 out of 5 stars, this will always be a book that I'll never likely read again due to the emotions that Capote was able to pull out of me. Every time I think of the Clutter family, Perry and yes, even Dick... I think of the life that they could have had. The life and childhood that Perry had always wanted and the life that Dick could have had if he had gone to college instead of getting a job. Well done Truman Capote, well done.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by KatLynne (new)

KatLynne This is a wonderful review Diana and your descriptions touched on my emotions when I read this years ago. I have not marked this one as "read" since I don't recall many of the vivid details, but I do recall parts and how emotional a read this one was. I too will never likely read this one again and agree that Truman Capote did an excellent job.

Diana~ Thanks KatLynne! I'm just glad that this is over since it's just so gut-wrenching. I don't think there's even a happy ending for this book because they all end up dying.

message 3: by Tria (new) - added it

Tria Um...isn't pity the same thing as feeling sorry for someone? Or do you mean you sympathised with them?

Diana~ I would say sympathize since it's feeling sorrow and compassion for them.

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