by J.R. Moehringer
Read: June 13 – 24, 2017
Source: Purchased New
Blurb: Willie Sutton was born in the squalid Irish slums of Brooklyn, in the first year of the twentieth century, and came of age at a time when banks were out of control. If they weren’t failing outright, causing countless Americans to lose their jobs and homes, they were being propped up with emergency bailouts. Trapped in a cycle of panics, depressions and soaring unemployment, Sutton saw only one way out, only one way to win the girl of his dreams.
So began the career of America’s most successful bank robber. Over three decades Sutton became so good at breaking into banks, and such a master at breaking out of prisons, police called him one of the most dangerous men in New York, and the FBI put him on its first-ever Most Wanted List.
But the public rooted for Sutton. He never fired a shot, after all, and his victims were merely those bloodsucking banks. When he was finally caught for good in 1952, crowds surrounded the jail and chanted his name.
Blending vast research with vivid imagination, Pulitzer Prize winner J.R. Moehringer brings Willie Sutton blazing back to life. In Moehringer’s retelling, it was more than poverty or rage at society that drove Sutton. It was one unforgettable woman. In all Sutton’s crimes and confinements, his first love (and first accomplice) was never far from his thoughts. And when Sutton finally walked free – a surprise pardon on Christmas Eve, 1969 – he immediately set out to find her.
Poignant, comic, fast-paced and fact-studded, Sutton tells a story of economic pain that feels eerily modern, while unfolding a story of doomed love that is forever timeless.
Review: This book has been sitting on my shelf for a few years now and I decided it was finally time to get to it. Maybe I had too high of expectations for this one. I have been reading more historical fiction this year than normal, and they’ve all been winners. So I went into this one thinking I’d really enjoy it. But it ultimately fell a little flat for me.
I found it hard to get into. I’m not sure if it was the writing style with the constant flashbacks or the actually story itself. But something just didn’t click very well with me. Obviously it wasn’t a terrible book, because I did finish it. But it’s not something that appealed to me a great deal. I found Willie’s character to be completely unreliable at the end and I struggled with a big revelation near the very end of the book. I wasn’t prepared really for how things turned out and so I was a little frustrated by that. So this one was just an “ok” book for me.