In Cold Blood Review

Title: In Cold Blood
Author: Truman Capote
Genre: Classics, True Crime 

BlurbOn 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.

Me: A rare required reading treat. Beautifully crafted and told- it was REALLY hard not to read ahead for class.

The Ups: Probably the most intriguing aspect of this book is its actual story. Who are the two men who murdered the Clutter family, and what was their motive? What did the Clutter family due to deserve this? There were so many questions running through my head and adding up as the book began to reveal certain details about the horrific crime and the aftermath. It's so easy to completely lose yourself in the story, and I was very rarely bored. 

The language Capote uses is incredible. He is truly a master of craft- playing with alliteration and repetition and syntax- there is a lot to dig into. Because his writing style is so easy and gorgeous, it creates a nice contrast with the horrible subject matter, making the book almost eerie. He spends so much time on details and descriptions that it's amazing to think how much research he must've had to do to reach that level. Each scene, interaction, and even each simple detail about the weather adds some dimension to the book that have a great overall effect. 

The driving force of the book in terms of character is definitely Perry Smith, a mistreated and desperate convict with literal boxes full of dreams. As I began to understand his position in the Clutter family murder, I pitied him despite his actions- a moral dilemma Capote presents his readers with. Capote starts the novel by setting up the Clutter family a day before their murder, then ends it with the trial and legal proceedings of the murderers. In between these, my idea of the murder was completely changed and Capote forced me to question justice and responsibility in terms of a real situation- it was INCREDIBLE. 

The Downs: Despite being completely blown away by its mastery, I don't know if In Cold Blood was the greatest selection for an academic purpose- just because it didn't seem to have much in terms of technique, theme, or character development to really discuss and analyze? (or not as much as other books do, I think). 

Also, I personally feel like this novel should really be approached as mostly a piece of fiction. It's easy to look up pictures of the characters and get swept up in the reality of the history, but the book is less about conveying fact, and more about telling a chilling, beautiful story. 

Overall: A masterpiece that absolutely deserves its popularity and respect.

Rating: 5 kisses!

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