Goodreads Review: In Cold Blood

In Cold BloodIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I never mind a boring nonfiction book if the information the author is writing about is compelling and represents the information that is available and verifiable as at least a written record of a perspective of the truth of a situation. What I dislike is journalistic fictionalized accounts passing as truth especially when it feels that the story would have been more compelling and interesting had it been written as fiction based on fact.

I’d always heard about In Cold Blood being something of an important classic in the realm of true crime so I suppose my expectations were much higher going into the book. But I didn’t have any context for the quality or style of Capote’s writing so I think I was fairly open minded going into it.

One thing that felt fairly clear early on was that Capote wanted readers to connect to the killers’ humanity as much as he wanted them to connect to the victims. Not something that generally bothers me because crime is an expression of the spectrum of humanity and often killers are shaped by external circumstances as much as by an inner deficit of something vital. But something about Capote’s writing in regards to the killers really bothered me. It felt as though his empathy shaped a narrative that centered too strongly on the killers and that he wrote a book that felt fictionalized by his need to insert details that were unlikely to have been related to him by anyone and rather give us insight into Capote’s interpretation of the situations surrounding the lives of the killers and the circumstances around the murders.

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