read: in cold blood.

In Cold Blood

Truman Capote‘s “In Cold Blood” was on my 2013 reading list, though I picked it up on sale and it’s been sitting on my bookshelf for quite awhile. I considered it a must-read classic, which often means I buy a copy, then don’t get around to reading it in favor of the trendy, popular books. My reading life seems quite high school.

Confession: I watched “Capote” before I read this book. I’m not sure if I liked one more than the other. They were both great, and it probably doesn’t much matter what order they’re read/watched. But this is for the book so …

Loved this book. Truman Capote’s writing is incredible. I can’t believe the amount of information he had to sort through, organize and weave into a compelling story. It’s absolutely amazing. That alone is a reason to read the book. Word of warning, however: Even though you probably know what happens in the end, it still might not be the best book to read right before falling asleep. Spoiler (sort-of-not-really): The entire story revolves around the Clutter family, all of whom are is murdered in their home in the middle of the night. I tried reading it before bed and couldn’t fall asleep. So this became a strictly daytime book.

Capote follows not only the reaction in Holcomb, where the murders happened, but also the work of the police and Kansas Bureau of Investigation as well as the murderers. The full picture is painted, from a short history of the family to the backgrounds of the murderers. His research was so thorough–I wonder how much was left out.

I think the book is a good snapshot of small town America in the late ’50s, and actually a good snapshot of of small town America today, also. Some places don’t change very fast.

My one dislike is, I think, an indication of the time when the book was written, rather than a fault of Capote. The end of the book drags out, with Capote including histories of the other inmates in the jail–something I didn’t feel was necessary to increase my understanding of the story and actually detrimental to my enjoyment. I skimmed a lot of those pages. That said, I feel like it was far more common in the past to include longer conclusions (see the final Lord of the Rings book for an extremely popular example. Have you actually read those final pages? I never have. The ring is gone, the end.) than it is today. That’s it, however. Everything else was amazing. I’m in awe of what Capote did.


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