In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As my recent book choices show, I've developed a bit of an interest in true crime, but I assure you, this happened purely by accident. I read The Monster Butler because Evanna Lynch was cast in a movie of that title, and I read this for a similarly tangential reason: Harper Lee helped Truman Capote research it. Otherwise, I probably never would have read it. The title itself is a turn-off. But now I'm glad I have. Though not an enjoyable book, it was most certainly a riveting and well-crafted one.
I'm still puzzling over the two murderers, though. Perry is the one described as the unrepentant psychopath, but he did apologize before they hung him. He was also the one to think of his victims' "comfort." I hated Dick much more. The introduction to my copy of the book said that Truman Capote's friends thought he was getting way too close to Perry in his interviews, which is probably why he gets the more sympathetic portrayal. It really is a moral chiaroscuro.
At the moment, though, I'm going in the opposite direction and reading about notable humanitarians: Octavia Hill during the week and Mike Tress on Shabbos. To continue a question asked on my livejournal, what's the opposite of a psychopath? What do you call a person who's a bit out of step with society but whose stance in relation to it is not as enemy but as reformer? Shouldn't we study those people what makes those people tick just as much criminals? Then perhaps the world would have more of them.
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