Emily's Reviews > Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
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's review
Aug 03, 2007

liked it
bookshelves: fiction

I thought this was a great example of what true crime can be when in the hands of a really good writer.

This book is actually two parts. The first part sets up the scene - the oh-so-southern Savannah, Georgia, and the many characters the author met while living there. This, I thought, was the better half of the book. Berendt does a great job of introducing the residents of Savannah and makes you feel like it's a place you've lived. I had to keep reminding myself it was a non-fiction novel, since many of the characters he introduced are totally outlandish. I found myself wondering more than once how he managed to be granted access to the most personal parts of these people's lives.

The second part of the book, the "true crime" part, seems more of a throwaway part to me. It's the story of a man who kills a younger man who has been living with him. With homosexuality, money, and pride each playing a role in the crime, it takes four trials to finally render a final verdict. I didn't feel as though this part of the book was developed as well. It seemed more like Berendt wanted to write a novel about his crazy friends in Savannah, and then the trial happened, which would help the book sell more.

In any case, I thought it was an entertaining read, and I would recommend it to anyone who has ever lived in the South.
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