: New: Book Report: In the Belly of the Beast

A long-time prisoner sent famous writer Norman Mailer some letters about prison life. This books collects excerpts from those letters. They talk vaguely about injustice. There are anecdotes that make you think "Well, that sounds bad, but it also sounds like you're leaving some important stuff out." I got a few dozen pages through this book, then gave up on it. Writing this book report, I looked the book up on the internets, and found a sad story about it on Wikipedia:
…Mailer supported [author] Abbott's successful bid for parole in 1981, the year that In the Belly of the Beast was published.

The book was very successful and on July 19, 1981, the New York Times published a rave review of it. However, the day before, Abbott had killed a waiter during a row at a restaurant called Binibon on 2nd Avenue in the East Village. Abbott was eventually arrested, convicted of manslaughter, and returned to prison for the rest of his life until his suicide in 2002.

Now I wish Mailer had stopped reading, too.

Tags: book brutal truth unfinished

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