Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Can I See Your I.D.?: True Stories of False Identities” as Want to Read:
Can I See Your I.D.?: True Stories of False Identities
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Can I See Your I.D.?: True Stories of False Identities

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  257 ratings  ·  72 reviews
True crime, desperation, fraud, and adventure: From the impoverished young woman who enchanted nineteenth-century British society as a faux Asian princess, to the sixteen-year-old boy who "stole" a subway train in 1993, to the lonely but clever Frank Abagnale of Catch Me if You Can fame, these ten vignettes offer riveting insight into mind-blowing masquerades. Graphic pane ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published April 14th 2011 by Dial Books (first published January 20th 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Can I See Your I.D.?, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Can I See Your I.D.?

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  257 ratings  ·  72 reviews

Sort order
Oct 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Really interesting stories, but I could have done without the second person narration.
Oct 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed in this. As a kid I loved to read books about "true stories of dramatic escapes", stuff like that. But there are several things about this book that feel off. The second-person "you are there" narration seemed clever and intriguing at first, but by the third or so story, it was wearying. It's one thing to imagine yourself as a teenager running a subway train on a lark, or pretending to be a boy so you can fight for the Union Army; it's something else altogether when you're ask ...more
Shoval G.
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A book I read and liked very much was Can I See Your I.D.?
The book is about people that created a false identity, and pretending to be someone else,
there were 10 different stories and out of them only two were caught and spend time in prison.
The thing I liked most about this story is how the author finishes the chapter with a question,
or with an unfinished story, and retrieves it by making a page about what happened next to the character.
May 26, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: qp-2012
Mmmm-no. I felt like I was attending a class with a condescending teacher!
Maxwell Orlina
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As soon as I got this book, I wanted to read more. These true stories are also little mysteries. What people could get away with is amazing. In a couple of stories, the pretending was also an act of heroism.

Chris Barton has an expressive way using feelings to show what the characters are thinking. Barton also creates urgency that makes you want to keep reading

Each story is introduced with a short comic illustrating the opening scene. Paul Hoppe is very good at connecting the illustrations with B
Blythe Penland
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was enlightening. I never realized just how much we humans will believe if it's said the right way, or if it boosts our own egos. I truly appreciate the bibliography, as it seems that the author went through many other resources to provide all the knowledge in this book. My favorite story was of Ellen Craft and William Craft. I was captivated by how a mixed woman in the mid 1800s was able to convince so many that she was a white, slave-holding man. I admired her courage, as w ...more
Michael Leung
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it
This is A very good book and most people will like it a lot but this personally was not my taste. This book is interesting because it is about a creating a id and pretending to be someone your not. Very good book and I recommend.
Vanessa Beerman
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
If you're into history and wars, then this is the book for you. I'm not a lover of nonfiction in general, but the idea of so many identities being stolen intrigued me. Not as memorable as I thought it would be, but they can't all be 5 star ratings!
Apr 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
It is rare that I don't finish a book, but I had to put this one down.
While I do enjoy the illustrations, the concept lacked depth. It is just a bunch of stories spat into some pages. Sad to say, I was a bit disappointed.
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you only had the time to read one chapter of this book then Solomon Perel's would be my suggestion.
Mar 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: gradschool, ya, nonfiction
This book had a good enough mix of new and familiar. Like most of these reviews mention, the second person is really dumb.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
I didn't enjoy the book, it had maybe 2 out of 10 stories that I enjoyed a small amount, they were educational but all mostly boring.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Short read, but some of these stories were great to learn about. Glad I picked up this book.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
I already knew some of these stories but several were new to me. I think teens would really enjoy these stories.
Rachel Green
This book brings up some really interesting stories that may or may not be familiar to students. Some of them tie into movies (Princess Caraboo, Catch Me If You Can). It brings up an interesting point - are there any victimless crimes? This would be a great conversation starter or even a good read-aloud for older (middle/high) students.
Loree Burns
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
I wanted to get my hands on this book for two reasons. First, Chris Barton wrote it. (Duh.) Second, I’d read somewhere the entire collection of thematically-linked true stories was written in the second person; this I had to read.

For those of you who haven’t thought about narrative mode in a while, the second person refers to the use of the personal pronoun “you.” As in:

“You are a fibber. A confabulator. Mary Baker, you’re a liar.”

Those are the opening lines from Barton’s profile of Mary Baker,
Chandrahas C.
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Can I See your ID
By Chris Barton
118 pages

Can I See You ID is a great book about people who have deceived others by taking on fake identities. Some people in this book have taken on false identities for wealth. Frank W. Abagnale Jr. is a good example of this. He had left home when he was 16 with nothing but a driver's license and a checkbook. By changing his driver's license and tricking banks into giving him money, Frank had made millions by the time he was caught. Others changed for
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Can I See Your I.D? is a non-fiction book by Chris Barton. A non-fiction book is a book that has true facts about a specific event or topic. An example of a non-fiction book could be a biography or a book that includes facts of something that the author thinks people should know about for example, how the earth evolved. Can I See Your I.D? includes many different kinds of stories of people faking their identities from faking your name and age to pretending you’re a slave owner to even pretending ...more
Dennis Littrell
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
A confection for readers

This is a collection of ten stories about people pretending to be somebody or something they’re not. Keron Thomas, for example, had such a desire to be a subway motorman that he pretended to be one and actually finagled his way into driving the train in New York City. Wow. Only problem: you’ve never done this before and…well, mistakes will happen.

Then there’s high school dropout Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr. who passes himself off as a navy surgeon. It gets a little sticky w
Aaron Estes
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
(Disclaimer: This review is being written as part of an academic assignment)

Can I see Your I.D.?: True Stories of False Identities by Chris Barton is a fascinating anthology of mostly-true stories of famous cases of stolen, mistaken, or hidden identities. Each story is told through a unique second-person narrative style which makes the reader the culprit of each of these actions. Some of the stories are light-hearted and fun, such as the story of a young man who pretended to be a train engineer
Jul 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Most of us have at least thought about the opportunities that a new identity could provide. Some might imagine access to different places and things, some may dream of financial freedom, and others of simply freedom itself. There are countless reasons why one might envision a new identity, but it takes a unique drive, combined with just the right set of circumstances, for someone to actually try it. In Can I See Your I.D.?, Barton passionately and engagingly depicts the true stories of ten such ...more
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Ten short biographies of people who were able to use a fake identity, at least for a while. Many of these stories have been told before, but probably not in a collection like this book. Each biography is told in second person, so the reader can imagine himself in the shoes of each of these people. What I like is that many of these impostors were in their teens when they assumed these false identities, which will make the book even more accessible for teens. One thing that I kept thinking when re ...more
Dec 31, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A neat collection of ten true stories of deception. Some of which I'd heard of before, and a couple new to me. The aspect of this book that struck me the most was the way the author chose to present the stories. Rather than just giving the information, and telling the stories as a narrator, Barton pulls readers into the story; by using "You," in describing the characters and their stories he lets the reader momentarily don a disguise of their own and put themselves into the identity of another.

Tells short stories about a series of ten people who convinced the world they were someone else for a time.

The author takes great pains to get at the motivations of the protagonists in these stories. He tells the stories in second person ("You are a fibber."). This makes the reader get into the characters heads in a more direct way than most nonfiction. I was anticipating this form to become annoying, but it didn't really. Only in the afterword, where the author writes second person about himse
Oct 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Barton speaks to the readers as if they were the star of each of these ten tales of real-life trickers/fakers/amazing liars. Addressing the readers as “you” lands them smack dab in the title role, playing a man who pretended to be African-American to see how people reacted, or a woman who hid her gender in order to fight in the Civil War. This unusual authorial decision works and these stories not only show the depth of human imagination, but also serve as cautionary tales. Sure, it might be gre ...more
Lisa Nocita
Jun 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: reluctant readers
Shelves: ya-2011, tag-2012-13
Can I See Your I.D.? is a collection of 10 short biographies of real people who assumed a false identity for one reason or another. The stories span from the civil war to modern times. The reasons for their duplicity vary widely, some are born con artists while others are merely trying to survive. Some of the stories are quite astonishing.

This is perhaps a good recommendation for a reluctant reader or as a read aloud in class. The stories are only a few pages each and read very quickly. It migh
Erin Sterling
Fascinating true stories of people who donned false identities--in some cases, for reasons of social justice, such as the light-skinned slave who passed as a white Southern gentleman to take her slave (actually her husband) up north or the Polish Jew who escaped the Nazi firing squad by becoming a Hitler Youth, and in other cases, just because they could, such as Princess Caraboo, a British woman who pretended to be a princess from another country who had been kidnapped, or a teenager obsessed w ...more
Nov 28, 2011 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this quick read about real life people who have taken on other identities. Sometimes it was for fun, such as the teenage Keron Thomas who impersonated a New York Transit Authority train driver and successfully drove a subway for several hours. Others had no choice, such as Solomon Perel, a Jewish teen in Nazi Germany who had to hide his identity and become a member of the Hitler Youth in order to survive. All of the short tales are fascinating, and there is ample bibliographic i ...more
Oct 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, teen
The ten stories in this book are all interesting and varied, spanning several time periods and many different kinds of people. One oddity of the book is its use of second person perspective in each story. It gives the book a bit of a Choose Your Own Adventure flavor and some immediacy, but the overall effect is a little jarring as the reader moves from story to story. Also, despite its smaller size, the book is definitely intended for teens; there are references to prostitution, rape, and other ...more
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Can I See Your I.D.? is a fun collection of true crime stories about 10 people who assumed false identities mostly in order to commit some kind of crime. Each story ends with a "What happened next?" to tell the rest of the story and there is a bibliography at the end of the book. The stories are brief which makes for an easy read. Overall I enjoyed the stories and I think boys (especially reluctant readers) would like it as well.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football's Make-Or-Break Moment
  • Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)
  • Thunder Birds: Nature's Flying Predators
  • Can We Save the Tiger?
  • Mermaid Queen: The Spectacular True Story Of Annette Kellerman, Who Swam Her Way To Fame, Fortune  Swimsuit History!
  • Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy
  • The Elephant Scientist
  • When Lunch Fights Back: Wickedly Clever Animal Defenses
  • Call of the Klondike: A True Gold Rush Adventure
  • Celebritrees: Historic & Famous Trees of the World
  • Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard
  • The Incredible Life of Balto
  • Master of Deceit: J. Edgar Hoover and America in the Age of Lies
  • How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning
  • The Dark Game: True Spy Stories from Invisible Ink to CIA Moles
  • Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution
  • Terezin: Voices from the Holocaust
  • Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition
I’m the author of picture books including bestseller Shark Vs. Train, Sibert Honor-winning The Day-Glo Brothers, and Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions, winner of the Beehive, Blue Crab, and Towner Awards and included on 15 other state reading lists.

My newest books include Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion, Book or Bell?, the Mighty Truck early-reader se