Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Oh you guys, it was just so painful. I NEVER leave a book unfinished, but I'm telling you, I was THIS close. The Devil in the White City was chosen for last month's book club and I just couldn't figure out what was so great about it. I really think it just depends on whether you happen to be a big history buff or not. I was talking with a friend of mine and likened reading this book to reading parts of the Old Testament. You would read pages and pages of mind-numbing information along with insane amounts of details in making buildings, which I likened to all the "begats" of the Old Testament. And then every once in a while you would come across something cool and interesting. But overall. P-A-I-N-F-U-L. It wasn't my thing, but hey, that's what book clubs are for right?

This month it was my turn to choose and I decided on Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. When I made the announcement, all I got was blank stares. And a lot of the women weren't even there to hear the announcement. My hope is that everyone will give it a shot and in turn end up loving it. I've just heard too many awesome things about it through the blogging community and can't wait to get my hands on a copy. Come on library - hurry up!

Description: Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that The Devil in the White City is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor. Burnham's challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair's incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, and Thomas Edison. The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World's Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.

Rating: **

Recommend: Seriously, I'd prefer dental work over reading this again.


Anonymous said...

Sad that you didn't like this book. I loved it! But I am also from Chicago so I thought it was more interesting because of that. I also just read The Hunger Games last week and it was amazing. My mom also loved it and it is definitely not her style of book. She is still talking about it! Just a warning--make sure you have Catching Fire ready to go because you are going to want to dive right in.

Janssen said...

Oh don't worry. . .I think you'll LOVE Hunger Games. Can't wait to hear your thoughts!