Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I have been putting off writing my review about this book because it's not terribly favorable. What drew me to this book was this description on Amazon: "Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty, early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares." Misleading, to say the least.
The book does discuss this murder, but that is really a subplot. Actually, the book doesn't really have a plot. This book is not about the murder. It's a true account of the author's experiences visiting and living in Savannah for a while. The plot, then, would be the virtues and evils of Savannah society.
Berendt introduces the reader to some fanciful characters who just happen to be real people.
But honestly, I don't care about the cross-dressing African American man or the black magic priestess who claims to put spells on people. I don't really care about the man with enough poison to destroy the whole city or the gigolo or the party-throwing piano-playing con man. I don't care about the parties, the debutante balls, the politics, or architecture.
I picked up the book wanting to know about the murder of the young man by a very wealthy and eccentric local antique dealer. Unfortunately, that made up less than a third of the book and the court scenes were very dull and dry. Berendt's other descriptions were written in beautiful prose, which I appreciate, but in the end, the book is basically just what you would read in a gossip column.
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