Okay I’m going to struggle with this blog because I don’t have a ton to say about it either way. It was enjoyable, but it didn’t blow me away. I kind of thought it would blow me away, since over the summer one of my friend’s brothers told her she had to read it, and then she did and she told me it was awesome – the best book she’d read in a long time. So maybe I had too high of expectations. Anyway, I was pretty bored throughout. I’m a grad student and I’m not supposed to be bored reading anything, of course, but maybe it’s because I’m not a history person. Devil in the White City read a little too much like history class history to me, and I just couldn’t get into it.
So some of us liked the Burnham parts better and some of us liked the Holmes parts better. A lot of us, it seemed, expected to like the Holmes parts best but ended up preferring Burnham. I think I side with the latter. For me, the Holmes parts could have been done better. I come from this whole Psychology background (my undergrad major) so of course I’m fascinated by serial killers and sociopaths, but this seemed kind of lame and contrived. Not what was going on, but the writing. The Burnham parts were pretty interesting, but it could have been said in 100 pages, easy. Not that I don’t understand, when you’re a history guy like Larsen you want to get it all out there, and you never feel like it’s thorough enough, but editors, hello?
I sound like I hate the book and I don’t. I was glad I read it, but I don’t think I’ll recommend it to anyone else with the same fervor as my friend recommended it to me with. Good for history buffs, bad for me.