Jessica's Reviews > Sutton

Sutton by J.R. Moehringer
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's review
Sep 29, 2012

liked it
Read from September 29 to October 21, 2012

I'm still not sure how to feel about this story. Part of me wants to dive into an internet search, to see how much was historical and how much was fiction. Part of me wants to believe it all as the author presented it - kinda-sorta-maybe a tad bit crazy Willie Sutton and all. And part of me wants to turn cynic and scoff at all the fantastic exploits attributed to Willie in his day.

There were a few Sutty details that I really want to believe are true: That he was a voracious reader - because those who love to read can't be all bad, right?

That he was intensely loyal to his friends and loved ones - because we all need to know that there's at least one person in our lives that we can depend on, one hundred percent of the time.

That he truly did care for other people, despite his law-breaking ways - because the Robin Hood-like acts the author attributed to Willie towards the end of the book are too perfect, and it would make me sad if that was just a fabrication.

That part of Sutty's treasure is still buried in mason jars around the island of New York - because I love a good treasure hunt. Not that I'd actually fly to New York and start digging holes in Central Park, but the thought that there may be money from a bank heist in 1920 sitting in a corroded jar in the middle of bustling New York just tickles my fancy.

The writing style of this book took a while to get used to. Not the back-and-forth between past and present, but the lack of quotation marks when someone is speaking. Not entirely sure what that was about, but it was a bit distracting, at first.

Also, about half-way through, the story really got bogged down by Willie, and never fully recovered. It was a slow grind, and it never fully stopped being entertaining, but it definitely didn't reel me back in for a humdinger of an ending. "Chronological order, kid" may have been Willie's go-to line, but I quickly found myself agreeing with Reporter and Photographer: "No time like the present to get to the ending of this bad boy..."

The ending certainly left me trying to puzzle a few things out. But the thing is - the questions I have...are they questions about things that actually happened, or are they questions about things that Moehringer presented as Willie Sutton fact, but which are, in fact, antics created for the book? If I had enjoyed the book a bit more, I might devote some extra energy into pondering said questions. As it is, though...

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