In the darkness the trees are full of starlight (henwy) wrote,
In the darkness the trees are full of starlight

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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

I dunno if I've ever mentioned it before in my LJ, but I always loved Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Not the movie, which as I recall was a piece of claptrap, but the book. I'm doubly endeared to the book because it's one of the first experiences I ever had with an audiobook. As I recall, I had gone to the local public library looking for something interesting to occupy my time and scooped up MitGoGaE on a lark. I wasn't really aware of how acclaimed it was at the time and mostly I was just looking for something that was unabridged. To this day, I think that an abridged book is an offense against God and humanity. Whoever came up with the idea should roast in hell for all eternity. I popped the cassette into the car stereo and there it begun.

I loved it. It was wonderful and the person who did the recording adopted some wonderfully hokey accents. The chapter introductions were absolutely fabulous. Even after all this time, I can still remember how great they were and how amused I was by them. After a while, I would repeat along with the narrator whenever chapters started. I'll append a voice post with what I remember about how it sounded.

MitGoGaE began my love for audiobooks and since that day, I've listened to dozens if not hundreds. A couple days ago I decided to give MitGoGaE another try and found it just as great as I remembered. While I was sort of enamored with the moment, I decided to do some google searches on the various characters therein. Since it's a non-fiction book, I imagined I would be able to verify some of the details I had just listened to. Sadly, I found that there's actually quite a bit of dispute about the amount of truth in MitGoGaE. Some people have claimed that Berendt made many parts up out of full cloth and he's never really specifically denied the allegations. I find that sort of sad since it really does take away from my enjoyment of the novel. If you've ever read it, you know that MitGoGaE is full of crazily eccentric characters and stories. I really liked the idea that these were real people and circumstances and it takes away from it to know that chunks might be fiction.

It's funny really. I don't get the same sense of disappointment about David Sedari's alleged fabrications, likely because his books are supposed to be comedic. I'm willing to give someone a bit of leeway in telling a joke. We all have this tendancy to exaggerate humorous stories and they grow in the telling. I just can't cut the same slack of Berendt and I don't think I can ever really look at MitGoGaE in the same way again.
Tags: book club, book club: david sedaris, book club: john berendt

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