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2.4 out of 5 stars
2.4 out of 5 stars
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on August 4, 2002
Certain other reviewers are upset because this book is listed as "true crime," and offended because it isn't. It's presumably in "true crime" with his face on the cover because the publisher decided that was how they'd reach the largest audience. Authors don't decide these things, and it's not reasonable to hold them responsible.
As to whether it's "fictional" or not -- the author wrote the letters and collected the clippings, so no, it's not really. The book is an exploration of a woman's reaction to these crimes...if you're expecting a movie-of-the-week true crime pulp, this isn't it.
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on May 8, 2000
This author bothered me so much, I could only read the book a few pages at a shot. What kind of book is this? Did she actually send letters to paul Bernardo, or was everything made up? How dare she use this case as a way to display her poetry, which isn't even that good. She took a case that affected the lives of many many people and turned it into some coffee house ramblings. I see no point in this book. I see no point in reading it at all. How dare she have Pauls face on the cover in the hopes that true crime fans will buy it. I am insulted by this attempt to exploit.
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on December 27, 2002
Being Canadian and a former criminology student, I've read all the literature related to the Paul/Karla case. I snagged this book, thinking, 'Hmm, this could be interesting...the whole case from Paul's perspective...', and after reading the first couple pages thought, 'What on earth is this?'
Maybe it's just because I prefer actual content, but I was monumentally unimpressed with this book. I've actually never seen a book that annoyed me more than this one did. I started thinking that this was the author's way of displaying her feelings, and ended up wondering if the author had some sort of obsession with Bernardo. Many of the poems and jottings within this book had me thinking that if someone was sending this stuff to me, I would be writing 'Return to Sender' on the envelope.
Crosbie had an interesting idea in writing her take on one of Canada's most notorious criminals (one of the few whose names Americans recognize), but it didn't come out correctly on paper. Rather than seem as a collage of a woman's thoughts and views on a heinous event, it almost seemed as though Crosbie was obsessing over both the crimes and the criminal, trying to connect herself to both events.
I would highly recommend 'Invisible Darkness', 'Lethal Marriage', or 'Deadly Innocence' (my personal preference is for 'Invisible Darkness', as it gave the information without villifying Paul and glorifying Karla, something many commentaries are guilty of). I do not recommend 'Karla's Web' by Frank Davey for anyone who is interested in the details of the trial itself, as it's more a sociological look at society. But I still keep an eye out for a book that questions giving a self-admitted murdered only a twelve year sentence, and when it comes out, it will be one I jump on.
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on April 6, 2003
People, people, people. Don't be disappointed because the book is listed as "true crime"when it's a fictional account.
Many of you complained that you want your money back because YOU DIDN'T READ IT WAS FICTION before buying it. Maybe you should be a more conscious consumer. Also, were any of you aware that Crosbie was formost a poet?
Lastly, obviously the book doesn't get great reviews from many of you because you are true crime fans and not poetry fans. I suggest next time you flip thru the book before buying... or learn to appreciate fiction as imaginative and creative art.
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on April 26, 2000
I read both reviews from the two readers that are posted and thought to myself how bad can this book really be? Well, I've read the three other books on this case and this book seems to be nothing other than an author using a story to display her poetry. I'm with the other girl on this, I'd like to have my money back.
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on September 4, 2004
Bad, truly bad, i live a fifteen minute drive from were this all happend. And let me tell you, crosbie's not welcome around this area. Paul Bernardo's a sick serial killer, his wife homolka's just as bad. That girl (crosbie) is just a little confused and obssesed me think's. Buy ANY other book on the case.
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on February 17, 2004
Poet Lynne Crosbie takes an experimental approach to her subject. Subtitled the Kingston Letters, Paul's Case is structured as a one-way correspondence, a series of letters written to Bernardo in jail. But this is no simple epistolary novel. The preface goes above and beyond the standard disclaimer: "this is a critical emterprise, and exploration... A work of historical fiction... Imaginative investigation... References to persons living and dead are purely fictional, and designed as imaginative and analytical responses to extant portraits of these individuals." whew.
There are letters, there are postcards, there are comic strips and composites, quotes and collages. Crosbie re-imagines the rap songs Bernardo wrote dreaming of a career in music. Includes a bizarre chapbook about a secret investigation. There are word games and puzzles, clues and questions.
Crosbie inhabits the world of the victim writing to her attacker, the anonymous spectator in the courtroom, she enacts the imagined retaliation. She considers the situations that could have bred this monster.
While lyrical and engrossing, the effect of Paul's Case is clinical rather than compelling. The explorations of language have a distancing effect, keeping us away from the subject, rather than drawing us in. The verbal gymnastics are like a the glass partition in a prison visiting room: we see and hear, but we do not feel: strange for a story so brutal and horrible. Perhaps this is her point ("I will present you in fragments. And make a figment of you"), to strip Bernardo of his power by turning him into a mere curiosity. It is disturbing to have such a villian made bland, and makes for an unsatisfying read.
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on April 22, 2000
The subject matter is one of the more gruesome and controversial murder cases in Canadian history, and the author is to be commended for tackling it. The book's publication drew a firestorm of angry reviews and threats toward the author and publisher. Reading it, I couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. It's a dreamlike (that veers frequently toward nightmarish) look at the case from the point of view of a character who is smitten with the murderer/rapist Paul Bernardo. Yet although the author seems to have invested so much in creating the work, I couldn't get past a sense of disconnectedness. A bunt instead of a grand slam, but she gets an extra star for playing ball on a minefield.
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on August 31, 1999
I now understand why there is only one review of this book, and from the authors friend. This book is not about anything but the author. This author has attempted to put Paul Bernardo in poetry form...GIVE ME A BREAK! There are some sick word games and even sicker pencil drawn pictures. This author seem to be just a little obsessed with this case. At times she rambles about nothing in particular, her dreams or fantasies maybe?? I wonder if I can get money back. I'm sorry Lynn,This is not personal please stick to poetry of a different sort.
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on October 27, 2014
Ms. Crosbie created a beautifully couched, insightful, tour-de-force. Her writing injects beauty into a controversial and repulsive topic.
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