Christopher Roth's Reviews > Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake

Catch Me If You Can by Frank W. Abagnale
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Nov 10, 2011

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Read from November 10 to 15, 2011

Quite a good page-turner. I love the detail about the bad-check-passing scam, which for me ranks this book alongside Maurer's pickpocket ethnography "Whiz Mob." However, I must say that the book has a feel of pathological lying about it. I have known people who are or aspired to be confidence men/women, and who get their kicks from impersonating people and lying about their backgrounds, and most of them are pathological liars and thus cannot be trusted even, perhaps especially, when they are describing their own cons and impersonations. I can hardly believe that Abagnale's con-man career was compressed into so few years between the ages of 16 and 20, and his description of French prisons sounds insanely invented. I mean, the French are asshats, but he describes it as though it were essentially the Middle Ages. If this were the case, France would be getting cited by Amnesty International constantly etc. etc. My guess is that his experience in French prison was fairly mediocrely comfortable in a sort of prosperous liberal European way but that he grew to dislike the French so much that he wrote it this way.

Haven't seen the movie, but after this I plan to. My problem now is: where do I put this in my bookshelves? With humor? travel? I don't have a true crime or a biography/autobiography section. This is a genuine problem.
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