Type: Audio Book
Author: Erik Larson
Narrated By: Scott Brick
Publication Date: February 11, 2003
Duration: 15 hours
My Rating: 5/10
Overview: In 1893, Chicago hosted one of the most memorable World's Fairs in history.
The Devil in the White City details, in length, the story of one of the fair's architects, Daniel H. Burnham. The book also explores another prominent man during this time, H. H. Holmes, accused of murdering anywhere between 9 and 200 people.
What I loved: As you'll see in the next section below, I have a few bones to pick with the author, Erik Larson, about this book. However, the piece was written masterfully and I was absolutely blown away by Larson's writing style.
Although a great majority of the material could be used in a history book, Larson takes the facts and reconfigures them into a magnificent story as well.
I am looking forward to seeing this story come to the big screen à la Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio.
What I didn't: I truly have a love/hate relationship with this title. I was so excited to listen to the book because I'm unequivocally fascinated with serial killers and I had never heard of H.H. Holes previously. However, the book did not live up to my expectations.
Originally, I assumed, the book would be mainly about H.H. Holmes and a little bit about Chicago's World Fair: It ended up being the exact opposite. I'd say Larson wrote 70% about the fair and 30% about Holmes. My best analogy for this book is a box of Lucky Charms. The World Fair material is the regular pieces of cereal, while the material about H.H. Holmes is the marshmallows. You get a few marshmallows in an entire bowl of cereal. Not so appetizing.
I really wanted to learn all about Holmes, his victims and how he went about murdering them amidst a worldly phenomenon that was the fair.
Instead, I learned every single possible detail about the Fair. And when I say every single detail, I mean it. I couldn't keep count, but I felt there were several chapters wholly dedicated to the construction of the Fair's Ferris Wheel. Yes, just the Ferris Wheel. It seemed as though every single penny spent on the fair was recorded in the book.
Maybe Ted Mosby or history buffs would appreciate the material, but I often fell asleep listening, literally.
What I loved about listening: The narrator, Scott Brick, did a wonderful job. He was delightful to listen to and had an air of Dexter aka Michael C Hall about him.
What I didn't love about listening: I didn't have any complaints with the narration.