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Download My Dark Places epub

by James Ellroy

Download My Dark Places epub
ISBN: 0679459413
ISBN13: 978-0679459415
Category: Biographies
Subcategory: True Crime
Author: James Ellroy
Language: English
Publisher: Random House Audio (November 5, 1996)
ePUB size: 1633 kb
FB2 size: 1750 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 626
Other Formats: mobi lit lrf txt

Excellent example of autobiographical writing. Ought to be taught in classes about autobiography as a literary genre. Spoiler warnings, though I think everyone know reads this already knows the story. But in case you don't, Ellroy does not manage to solve his mother's murder after 40 years. The reader never really expects him to solve it. The killer would have to be 70 plus years old, meaning he is more than likely dead at the time this was written. Plus, if he solved it, it would already have been made into a big Hollywood movie. The "suspense" element is when will Ellroy stop focusing on the "Killer" and start focusing on Jean, his mother. I.e. when does he lose his preoccupation with Justice with a big J and focus on reconciliation. I won't reveal the answer to that one.

One thing that surprised me---but maybe it is because I was raised in the 60s---did no one speculate that the "Swarthy man" might really be a woman? When I read the description of "his" freakishly narrow jaw, "woman in drag" was my first thought. I ran it by my husband--that was his first thought, too. A woman could have committed the crime(s). A woman could not strangle a conscious woman the way a man could, but she could beat her over the back of the head and then strangle her when she was unconscious. And the covering of the lower torso with a coat struck me as a feminine thing to do, like the killer trying to conceal her own vulnerable parts.. Hollywood in the 1950s had plenty of gays and probably had plenty of cross dressers, too, and women are not typically squeamish about hanging around butch lesbians the way that men can be squeamish about hanging out with feme gays.
James Ellroy has the guts to share his very dark places, including a youthful obsession with grisly sex murders that he forged into a career as a crime writer. And a lifelong sexual fixation on his promiscuous mother, strangled when he was 10. This book ostensibly is about the search for her killer. But really it mourns her, something he was unable to do in life.

There's a moving self portrait that's 100 pages shorter buried in this memoir. And the endless simple declarative sentences (zero variety, a dreary "just the facts" parade) become grating. What willpower Ellroy has to sustain such an extreme noir style! For me it became tiresome, a schtick that gives equal weight to the harrowing and the mundane.
This was a fascinating book in some ways, but in other ways Ellroy leaves us hanging, just as his mother's unsolved murder left him. For example, as a forensic psychologist, I was fascinated by his early sexual deviance (he was a voyeur who stalked women, broke into their homes and stole their lingerie, and compulsively masturbated to scenes of gruesome murder) and his seemingly overnight recovery. Yet, he never shares his process of change. That section of his life is left blank.

Similarly, in his trademark staccato style he offers keen insights into sexually ravenous and murderous men, the cultural allure of victimhood, and the foibles of the criminal justice system. Yet such passages are tucked randomly among prose that, in stark contrast, exhibits a remarkable lack of insight into both his own psyche and the minds of others. The book is far too long, marred by interminable recitations of drivel. He is too hooked on his own greatness to put himself into the shoes of the average reader and realize that overloading us with random factoids destroys the drama of his long search for answers in his mother's death. As other reviewers have noted, a tough editor would have helped immensely.
Without a doubt this is one of the most honest, forthcoming, riveting true crime tomes to ever see the light of day. James Ellroy opens himself up like few other authors have ever attempted to do, on both himself and the brutal unsolved murder of his mother in 1958. The man's self realization about who the woman who raised him really was as a person, how he used her death in twisted ways while growing up to create a persona built specifically to destroy himself, and the journey to finding her killer is unflinching and disturbing...yet captivating and at times inspiring. That someone so nearly destined to be a burn out and young corpse could become one of the finest modern day writers of fiction is tribute to the spin on a dime turns that life takes at times. One of the best books I have ever read in my 47 years of sucking in s***ty L.A. air and kicking up Duarte dust.
Slowly writer
James Ellroy may be Amrica's most talented crime writer. In his novels there are no good and evil characters. Everyone is flawed to some degree. Good and evil are more like shades of gray, rather than black and white. As James Ellroy goes back into his childhood to write about, and attempt to solve, the murder of his mother, he gives an almost autobiographical account of his life, especially his early years. Ellroy describes his guilty feelings at the excitement that he would permanently live with his father after his mother was murdered. It appears that when she was alive, he felt no love for his mother, in fact he hated her lifestyle. Ellroy may be a little to blunt in his criticisms of his mother, given his own penchant for booze and sex. Ellroy temed up with a soon to retire LA County Sheriff's Detective, and snooped around the Jean Ellroy case, as well as another unsolved case. This book gives an interesting account of growing up in Los Angeles and the surrounding communities. Everything about this book was fascinating, and I could not put it down. Like his characters, Ellroy and his family are neither clearly good or evil, but more like shades of gray.