October 3, 2012

Sutton by J.R. Moehringer

Sutton by J.R. Moehringer is the type of book that pulls you in right in the beginning, and takes you along on a ride right up to the very end. It is about the life of Willie Sutton and his career as the most successful and famous bank robber in America. It isn’t exactly a memoir or life story about the man, but instead weaves historical fiction about his life with the creative imagination of J.R. Moehringer.

Book Description
Born in the squalid Irish slums of Brooklyn, in the first year of the twentieth century, Willie Sutton came of age at a time when banks were out of control. If they weren’t taking brazen risks, causing millions to lose their jobs and homes, they were shamelessly seeking bailouts. Trapped in a cycle of bank panics, depressions and soaring unemployment, Sutton saw only one way out, only one way to win the girl of his dreams.
So began the career of America’s most successful bank robber. Over three decades Sutton became so good at breaking into banks, and such a master at breaking out of prisons, police called him one of the most dangerous men in New York, and the FBI put him on its first-ever Most Wanted List.

But the public rooted for Sutton. He never fired a shot, after all, and his victims were merely those bloodsucking banks. When he was finally caught for good in 1952, crowds surrounded the jail and chanted his name.

Blending vast research with vivid imagination, Pulitzer Prize-winner J.R. Moehringer brings Willie Sutton blazing back to life. In Moehringer’s retelling, it was more than need or rage at society that drove Sutton. It was one unforgettable woman. In all Sutton’s crimes and confinements, his first love (and first accomplice) was never far from his thoughts. And when Sutton finally walked free—a surprise pardon on Christmas Eve, 1969—he immediately set out to find her.

Poignant, comic, fast-paced and fact-studded, Sutton tells a story of economic pain that feels eerily modern, while unfolding a story of doomed love, which is forever timeless.” – Sutton

My Thoughts
Sutton is a fabulously crafted novel that is written with such substance it felt as if I was watching a movie play out as I read it. This fact shouldn’t be ignored in the review, it is a high quality story that could easily be turned into a movie. Hopefully it does, but in the meantime, this novel is one that could be enjoyed by many different types of readers.

Willie Sutton was a “Robin Hood” of his time, and is the type of anti-hero that I enjoy reading about. He isn’t a “good” guy, but he is one I found myself rooting for. He had a horrible childhood, didn’t get things right for a long time, and along the way found out he is really good at robbing banks. Obviously it wasn’t legal to do so, but he tried to justify to himself that doing this to the corrupt banks was okay.

This is a highly entertaining book that I really enjoyed reading. If you are looking for a good read, I highly suggest reading this novel.

* Thank you to the publisher of Sutton, Hyperion, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Lucy said...

I love historical fiction. I have to add this to my Goodreads!

Anonymous said...

Love love love books like this!