Oct 04, 11
Read from September 05 to October 04, 2011
This is a strange book. It's fascinating because people are fascinating: I am a big fan of Studs Turkel and similar projects. But the way all the people's stories are filtered through Bronson--some of them are portrayed quite critically, in ways the interviewees would not appreciate--made me uncomfortable. There are lines that journalists and academics don't cross with their subjects, and while Bronson clearly develops a high level of trust with his interviewees that made them more frank, I can't help thinking that it's slightly unethical. He became buddies with his subjects, baring his soul to them, giving them advice and encouragement and his own analysis of their lives--his authority being that he is a regular guy who has suffered confusion and remorse. He also looks like a young Richard Gere, which probably helped people warm to him. But although he is not exactly professional, he clearly wants to help people, and maybe he does. I really like the variety of stories, and the fact that many people remain conflicted and confused: they're not all lawyers who gave it up to make goat cheese and are blissfully happy.