Leah's Reviews > Assassination Vacation

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
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Mar 09, 10

bookshelves: non-fiction, history, memoir

For a small dose of "history lite," this book is a pretty good read. The book revolves around the assassinations of US presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley. While the information about these assassinations is interesting (I too share an interest in the morbid and freaky), the writing was somehow not quite engaging.

She's a casual writer who writes in a conversational style, which isn't a bad thing, but something about her tone seems overly cute. I found that when she sticks to reporting history, she sounds good, even with her slightly cutesy tone. But when her writing veers into personal memoir, I find it less charming and even somewhat irritating.

I wondered why I found this book a bit irritating when I enjoy her commentary on NPR. I think it's because when I think I'm reading a history book, I expect to be reading history. But in this book, it's really more about Sarah Vowell's interactions with history and her love of the weird. While I really respond to this style with other authors, I guess my problem with Vowell is the overly cute tone of her writing.
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