I may catch some flak for this, but I didn’t really like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I just finished the book and found myself wondering why I had wanted to read it. Before I started reading the book, I didn’t know much about it. I knew it was very popular, had a great title, and had been made into a movie. I had the impression that it was a true crime story.
Now, first off, let me say what I liked. I though John Berendt’s writing was great. I loved his description and I loved the picture he painted of the many characters in the story. In that regard, I hope some of his writing talent rubs off on me.
However, as a true crime novel or mystery, I think the book fails. The crime in the story didn’t happen until well into the story. There was no mystery to who committed the crime. The question was whether it was self-defense or not. Once the book moved into this phase, I found the most-interesting part the fact that there were three trials.
I just seemed to think that such wonderfully drawn characters deserved a better story than a simply murder trial. It would be like having Scarlett and Rhett without the Civil War. Though Gone With the Wind was character driven, the war setting brought revealed aspects of the characters that might not have been revealed otherwise. Other than Jim Williams’ reaction to his trial, I didn’t think that the trial revealed anything new about the characters.
I know a lot of people loved the book, though. So if I am missing something, please let me know how you see the book.