The Executioner’s Song.
If number of pages tells how good a book is then this one scores a 1072, not bad. That being said The Executioner’s Song leaves a bitter taste in my mouth for the simple reason that it monopolized too much of my time. Fortunatly I am a fan of true crime and this was its saving grace (what is the fascination so many of us have with evil and evil people?).
The Executioner’s Song is a true story about Gary Gilmore who basically grew up in the prison system. Once released he robbed and killing two men in cold blood and was returned to prison. Gary became the first person executed in the U.S., executed in Utah by firing squad, since the reinstitution of the death penalty. By not fighting his death penalty sentence Gilmore launched a national debate about capital punishment.
Mailer does an incredible job letting us understand who Mr. Gilmore is, often making me uncomfertable. The author shows us who Gilmore is by detailing his daily life and his interactions with other people and those peoples reactions to Gary Gilmore. It is was absolutly chilling the more and more I entered the mind of Gary Gilmore, this man was without a doubt insane.
The first half of the book is much better then the second which takes us into the legal appeals and seems to drag on forever. And then of course there are a few things that I am not sure I agree with, for example Mailer’s potrayal of small-town Utah life, but really what would I know. And then, while I think Mailer does a great job recounting the story I don’t know that it was Pultzer Price worthy. Not so sure.
And finally, earlier this evening my brother told me he had to get off the phone because a bird had entered the house and kept flying at his head because the cat was chasing it. Do you think he was providing the worst lie in the world to get me off the phone? I wonder...
Oh yeah... I give it an 7+ out of 10 (really could be shorter, especially that second half). I recommend it to the reader that that has time on their hands.