My English 12 class started reading In Cold Blood by Truman Capote this week. Another English 12 class, which my friend Ashley is in, has already read and studied this piece of literature. Ashley, who is also my carpool companion to dance class, would tell me how interesting the book was on our drives to and from dance class. So, when my English teacher presented the book this week, I was very excited to dive into the story that my friend has given such high reviews.
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In Cold Blood, from what Ashley and my English teacher have told me, is not a “light” book; the story is, in fact, “A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences.” Although the subject of the book may be gruesome, from what I have read so far (pages 3-41), In Cold Blood is a well-written, page-turning, engaging story. Capote writes with such immense detail; his thought-out words and sentences, which I greatly appreciate, easily provoke imagery and transport me to western Kansas. All of the events and characters in this story are real; the book is a work of non-fiction, not fiction. Having just written a creative writing piece as an assignment for my Spanish class, the content of which was based on an existing short story (“El Almohadón de Plumas” by Horacio Quiroga), writing creatively, individually–writing at all–can be difficult when an author must be cautious to stay true to what existed or exists. Capote, however, re-creates the events and characters in In Cold Blood extraordinarily; he maintains factuality but also makes the story his own, causing the book to be even that much more impressive. An example of Capote’s “re”-creative, detailed mastery is exemplified when he describes Dick and Perry’s tattoos (pages 30-31). Who knew tattoos could be quite so interesting? Capote makes them so.
In Cold Blood is not one of those books that you can tell an author wrote about whatever came to his or her mind, indifferent to the quality of the work, just to publish a book, see it as quickly as possible in bookstores, add it to his or her list of published literature, and make a chunk of change. No, I sense that In Cold Blood is a book that took Truman Capote effort and time to write.
Have you ever read (or heard of) In Cold Blood? Please comment below to share your thoughts!