Friday, May 20, 2016

2016 book 91

Jeffrey Toobin's American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes, and Trial of Patty Hearst
Look, if Jeffrey Toobin--who mainly writes books about legal stuff, including the one The People vs OJ Simpson was based on--is gonna write a book on Patty Hearst, I am THERE, ok? And this was freaking RIVETING. Hearst apparently did not cooperate with the book, but it is still fairly sympathetic toward her--I mean, I have no idea how accurate this portrayal is--it seems well-researched but who knows how it's spun--but it /feels/ accurate. And like I said, totally riveting presentation. I thought the depiction of how COMPLETELY INSANE the 1970s were, especially in California, was very well-done (this was a great followup to the Charles Manson's Hollywood eps of You Must Remember This, not to mention Emma Cline's excellent The Girls). And Toobin really TRIES not to let being a white man interfere with his story--my main quibble here is that he offhandedly mentions Nancy Ling's boyfriend forcing her to turn tricks, and several times thereafter Toobin calls her "the sex worker"--which maybe she was? But he never really says so otherwise? And it's not really a flattering characterization the way he presents it? That lack of information on a lot of the players was where this struck me as weak--I could have used a lot more backstory on Hearst and her sisters, for instance--though I guess that is not really the story Toobin is trying to tell. Still, I sometimes struggle with nonfiction and had no problem sitting down and plowing right through this, so it's definitely entertaining. And insane. I love it. A-.

A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released in August.

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