Thursday, May 24, 2012

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Midnight In The Garden Of Good And EvilMidnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil by John Berendt

On the library stacks: Adult Non-fiction
AR Reading Level: 6.2

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the 1980s John Berendt spent 8 years splitting his time between New York City and Savannah, Georgia. While this book is partly a memoir of Berendt's time in Savannah, it's also the true crime story of an antique dealer and preservationist named Jim Williams who was tried for the same murder four times.

Savannah is one of my favorite cities. While this book is a little dated, the essence of Savannah that Berendt depicts is exactly the same today as it was 30 years ago. I love the homage the author pays to the city's history, architecture, culture, and natural beauty.

Berendt also gets himself hooked up with some of the more interesting characters in town. There's the high class party house where no one ever pays rent and utilities are obtained illegally. There's Lady Chablis, the exotic dancer who is really a he. There's a voodoo witch doctor. And of course, the story of Jim Williams who shot and killed Danny Hansford, a troubled young man who had worked for him and whom he had tried to help, even bailing him out of jail.

This book hooked me from the beginning, and was a really quick read. The only thing that kind of bothered me is at the end the author's note says that he did take some "storytelling liberties, particularly having to do with the timing of events." I did do some research online and most everything checks out. Like the movie (which I didn't see), the book is definitely rated R. But if you like true crime stories or you want to know more about Savannah, I would recommend it.

Also reviewed by: eclectic/eccentric ~ Open Mind, Insert Book
Source: Purchased


bermudaonion said...

I read this years ago, when it first came out and then toured Savannah. The guide kept talking about "the book." The experience of the freshly read book and the tour was just wonderful!

Melissa said...

That reminds me: I really ought to reread this one someday. I remember liking it a lot, but that's all I remember about it!

Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

I read this 15 yrs (or more??) ago for book club...remember it being an awesome discussion! but not much else!!