Title: Catch Me If You Can
Author: Frank W. Abagnale
Published: 1980 Pages: 285
Genre: Memoir (NF)
I’m sure many of you have seen the movie, Catch Me If You Can, but if not: Frank Abagnale left his tumultuous homelife at the age of 16. His parents had recently divorced and Frank found himself depressed and ready to move on. Over the next few years, he posed as various high-powered professionals—airline pilot, doctor, lawyer, teacher—without even a high school diploma. He began his criminal career by performing clever little capers, in the beginning at his father’s expense, but by the time he was caught he had led a full and adventurous, albiet short, criminal life:
Simply put, this book was fascinating. I loved the movie, but the book goes into so much more depth as to how Frank pulled off his stunts and faked his way into some very lucrative positions. Many of the times he fell into the right place at the right time, but there is no doubt that he is an incredibly intelligent and resourceful man. I was constantly amazed at the detail he put into his cons and how well thought out his fraud crimes were. My husband read this book a year ago, so it was fun to say, "Hey Honey, remember..." and then quickly chat about whatever little tidbit I had just discovered. Great for holding my attention during the read-a-thon!
"I was a millionaire twice over and a half again before I was twenty-one. I stole every nickel of it and blew the bulk of the bundle on fine threads, gourmet foods, luxious lodgings, fantastic foxes, fine wheels and other sensual goodies. I partied in every capital in Europe, basked on all the famous beaches and good-timed it in South America, the South Seas, the Orient and the more palatable portions of Africa" (4).
As for the writing, Stan Redding is the ghostwriter and I'm not sure what that entails or how heavy his hand was, but I was pleased with the detail and description in the book. The style was very easy to consume, but I did have a difficult time understanding sometimes the complicated nature of his schemes, especially when he was involved in complicated bank robberies. It is also amazing to me how trusting people were--or oftentimes just ignorant. Most of these events happened in the 1960s and I think with today's technology many of these crimes could not have been committed with such ease.
I'd definitely recommend this book. It was fast and fun. The information was interesting and the writing was engaging. There certainly was never a dull moment during Frank's short criminal career. I did have to wonder whether all of the stories were true, but I guess it can all be backed up in some fashion. The FBI was investigating Frank for years before they were finally able to nab him (and then he still escaped out of the bathroom in an airplane!). I'm telling you--this story will keep you on your toes!
Finished: April 18, 2009 (during read-a-thon)
So this reminds me--Non-Fiction Five challenge starts on Friday!! If you haven't signed up yet, head over there. I'll put up a Mr. Linky each month, but I don't think I'll keep them sticky. What do you think? This would be a great one for your list, especially for apprehensive non-fiction readers.