Book Review: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Title: In Cold Blood
Author: Truman Capote
Pages: 343
Publisher: Vintage Books
ISNB 0679745580

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

REVIEW

A true account of a multiple murder and its consequence – In Cold Blood was truly a chilling read.

This is my second book for TFGs book of the month and I enjoyed it tremendously which I wasn’t expecting. I am so not a fan of non-fiction, in fact I loathe them but because the peeps from TFG assigned it for September I went ahead and bought a copy.

In Cold Blood was a retelling of the heinous murder of the Clutter family which put Holcomb, Kansas on the map. The year was 1959 and the crime was a shocker in the quiet town of Holcomb especially since the victims were a staple in this quiet town. The story goes back and forth giving us detailed descriptions of the Clutter family and their killers, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. The story was told in four parts which I might add helped me a  lot to better understand the story.

Part I (The Last to See Them Alive) was a retelling of how the Clutters were before they died and how influential they are in Holcomb. This is also a chapter wherein we get to see a glimpse of their killers – Perry and Dick. I loved this part because it gave me a sense of the Clutters and of how life was in he 50’s in Kansas.

Clutter Family
(image credit: gcpolice.org)

Part II (Persons Unknown) was the part I got bored the most. I don’t know why but I just got bored reading Dick and Perry’s life yet this part was important to somehow understand what went on these two guys head. This was the part that I just wanted to know the motivation of these two for killing the Clutters and how the investigation went.

Richard (Dick) Hickock
(image credit: http://www.kansasmemory.org)

Perry Smith
(image credit: murderpedia.org)

Part III (Answer) was the start of the chasing of the murderers by the authority. This is also the section wherein we understand how the investigation got its break from what seems to be the perfect crime. I actually thought that it was indeed perfect – there was really no connection and it seemed like the Clutters were just unfortunate souls in being killed that night.

Perry Smith escorted to court

And lastly IV (The Corner) was the account of Dick and Perry in jail until their death in April 14, 1965.

Overall, In Cold Blood was a good retelling but there are parts of the book that I got too bored that I wanted to stop reading it. The accounts were horrifying and just by thinking about the incident, you can never really tell how a persons mind work until that crucial moment. A single thought can snap the calmest mind. The crime that both Perry and Dick committed was so senseless that I end up thinking if $50 was worth the lives of 4 innocent people. I do get the why they killed them but for a measly $50 that’s a very cheap way to die. I can’t imagine the fear and torment the town of Holcomb endured during those moments. Sadness doesn’t sum up what I felt after reading In Cold Blood. I don’t just recommend this book to non fiction lovers but to everyone who is curious about the event and murder/mystery enthusiasts as well. I need to watch the movie now.

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Book Review: Animal Farm by George Orwell

Title: Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell
Pages: 112
ISBN: 0141036133

Animal Farm is the most famous by far of all twentieth-century political allegories. Its account of a group of barnyard animals who revolt against their vicious human master, only to submit to a tyranny erected by their own kind, can fairly be said to have become a universal drama. Orwell is one of the very few modern satirists comparable to Jonathan Swift in power, artistry, and moral authority; in animal farm his spare prose and the logic of his dark comedy brilliantly highlight his stark message.

Taking as his starting point the betrayed promise of the Russian Revolution, Orwell lays out a vision that, in its bitter wisdom, gives us the clearest understanding we possess of the possible consequences of our social and political acts.

REVIEW

First of all, this is my first book for 1001 Books to Read Before You Die and of The Classics Club so I am giving myself a pat on the back for finishing it. 🙂

I had Animal Farm sitting in my bookshelf for a few months now dreading to read it but when I started reading Animal Farm, I loved it from page 1 to the last. This review has been long overdue.

For a person who has no knowledge about Russian politics, I can’t compare it to what its main purpose was so this review is mainly about the story and its characters. The story revolves around a farm of animals and how they successfully lead a revolution against their owners to be independent so that they can solely govern their own but ends up being an unfortunate misfortune of being controlled by other animals instead.

From the very start, one can see where the problem lies. As the story unfolds, we can see hints of power and control from some of the characters. Brainwashing was rampant and it was sad to actually see how the plans of the greedy characters progressed. You can feel the inhumane treatment, the sorrow, the pain from what the animals is feeling and I am very impressed at how realistic and true the story is to some of the stereotypes of the real world. Anothing thing I love most about Animal Farm was how simple to read it was yet the meaning was as loud as it can get. It was a pleasant journey worth treasuring.

My only regret now is not reading Animal Farm before. This is a definite re-reading material and a highly recommended one as well.