Book Review: A Little True Crime and Some Awesome Women

I am officially one-third of the way through my 2019 reading goal, so I suppose I should have been a little more ambitious with the goal. Oh, well. At this point, it’s less about the goal and more about the fact that I’m really enjoying reading again. This has proven to be a really good goal for me this year.

If you missed my first two book reviews, you can check those out here. After those first two, I finally turned to a book that had been on my list for quite some time. I knew it wouldn’t be the easiest read for me, but that’s OK. I gave myself the time to read it, and purposely planned a lighter read after to break things up. Plus, both books are told by awesome women (and one about an awesome women), which was pretty neat to look back on.

I’ve included links to the books below, which do filter through my Amazon influencer account (for full transparency). But I can’t recommend your local library enough. I’ve been a frequent visitor at mine over the last month, and I absolutely love it. There’s just something really special about libraries.

Anyway, on to the reviews.

Book No. 3: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer (Michelle McNamara)

From Amazon: For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Utterly original and compelling, it has been hailed as a modern true crime classic—one which fulfilled Michelle’s dream: helping unmask the Golden State Killer.

My review: Yeah, this book is good. It’s on a terrible subject, but it’s so well-told. Michelle does an incredible job of telling the story, and incorporating important details so you don’t miss a beat. It’s a big credit to the team around her too, who found ways to piece things together so Michelle’s vision could become a reality.

Knowing Michelle passed away in 2016, I was heartbroken to know she wouldn’t know the end to this story. To know a suspect has been arrested and that there could finally be closure only makes me wish Michelle were here to see it all play out.

I admire Michelle’s writing style, and her ability to be both empathetic and very informative. Stories that include her feel more like you’re there with her, not being told about what happened. As a writer myself, I’ve taken a lot of mental notes about the way she tells a story. What a talented woman.

Book No. 4: Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik)

From Amazon: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg never asked for fame—she has only tried to make the world a little better and a little freer.

But nearly a half-century into her career, something funny happened to the octogenarian: she won the internet. Across America, people who weren’t even born when Ginsburg first made her name as a feminist pioneer are tattooing themselves with her face, setting her famously searing dissents to music, and making viral videos in tribute.

Notorious RBG, inspired by the Tumblr that amused the Justice herself and brought to you by its founder and an award-winning feminist journalist, is more than just a love letter. It draws on intimate access to Ginsburg’s family members, close friends, colleagues, and clerks, as well an interview with the Justice herself. An original hybrid of reported narrative, annotated dissents, rare archival photos and documents, and illustrations, the book tells a never-before-told story of an unusual and transformative woman who transcends generational divides. As the country struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stands as a testament to how far we can come with a little chutzpah.

My review: After seeing ‘On the Basis of Sex,’ I immediately put this book on hold at the library. I wanted to know more about the amazing RBG, and I’d heard quite a bit about Notorious RBG to know it was a good place to start.

I’ll be honest though… I didn’t think I was going to like this book at first. The first 30-40 pages were a little rough, and almost choppy. I realize now, after it was pointed out to me, that it’s likely because those first so many pages were pulled from the Tumblr that inspired the book. By about 50 pages in, it found its groove and was a really fun read.

I admire RBG greatly. I admire her for a lot of reasons, and this book dove into them all. From her marriage to her love of fashion to sitting on the Supreme Court, she is an example that no person is one-dimensional. We all have many loves (the opera for her!) and things that make us feel whole and complete. As a woman in a male-dominated industry who often gets pushback for some of those things that make me more than just a sports reporter, I really resonated with that aspect of RBG.

I’d like to read more on RBG, because I don’t think I got everything I wanted from this one. But it was good, and as I figured, it was a good place to start.

Next up? Well, I’ve already started on The Library Book. I’m about 25 pages in and I can already tell I’m going to love it. Plus, the book is so well-designed. Even the pages are made to look like it could be an old and well-loved booked. It’s wonderful.

Want to join me more regularly on my book journey? Let’s be friends on Goodreads.

And don’t be a stranger. Let me know what you’re reading.


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