Well, I suppose we knew it would have to happen eventually; a true critic can’t give five-star reviews to every book they read. Thus begins my first “mixed” review. I initially picked this book because who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned serial killer story?! Plus, with Leonardo DiCaprio soon to play the infamous H. H. Holmes, it sounded like a win-win. Wrong.
As Hannah so aptly stated, there was significantly more “White City” than “Devil.” I currently work in the construction industry, so I understood the majority of the terms Larson was throwing around but that did NOT mean that I cared or was even slightly interested in any of the innumerable insignificant details littering the text. The chapters about Holmes were the only thing that kept my interest. Even those usually fell short of fascinating. At one point, I realized I had skimmed almost an entire chapter without paying any attention. After going back and actually reading the afore-skimmed chapter, I regretted wasting 30 minutes on such insignificant details.
I can’t give a necessarily “bad” review because I didn’t altogether dislike the book. I think the reason my review is so negative is because I hoped for/expected so much more. Everyone seemed to have such wonderful things to say about it and it’s “focus” on the psyche of a serial killer. However, I think Larson took a potentially intriguing topic and let his apparent fascination with architecture bog it down to the point of being almost unbearable. So sorry, Larson. This book was a big fat dud.
Favorite Characters: H. H. Holmes. That’s it. Everyone else was dim-witted and intolerable.
Favorite Quotes: “It was so easy to disappear, so easy to deny knowledge, so easy in the smoke and din to mask that something dark had taken root. This was Chicago, on the eve of the greatest fair in history” – Larson