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I read/listen to a lot of true crime, or a certain type of it, anyway. I'm drawn to the genre not for the prurient aspects, but because the extremes of human behavior and thought fascinate me. Good true crime manages to retain a certain impartiality while still delving into the personalities, motivations, and flaws of the killer and other characters in a way that feels "inside." I won't say it's sympathetic, exactly, but my favorite true crime writers seem to have a desire to understand, and that brings humanity to the work.
I wanted to find a book about the Arias case, and chose this one over one written by the prosecutor because I thought an outsider perspective would put forth a less biased portrait of the killer than the law enforcement view would.
I was wrong. At first I wondered if the writer might be a relative of the victim, her tone was so bitter right from page one. In pretty much the first paragraph, she says, "She has earned her reputation as a pathological liar." Well, I remember the case, and I remember that Arias made up some whoppers in her attempt to first proclaim her innocence and later explain her actions. But does that make her a pathological liar? Pathological liars lie irrespective of social pressures or avoidance of consequences. Arias lied, like so many criminals do, because she was in trouble, because she was obsessed with the man she ended up killing, etc. etc.. I know she's a hard girl to like, considering her open courting of the media, but here the liar accusation is used simply to throw large, sharp stones at Arias. That tone continues throughout, as the writer follows the familiar path of painting Arias as the manipulative man-eating lioness to Travis' innocent lamb. It's hard for me to put any real trust in a writer who seems to be holding her nose in disgust toward her subject throughout. She doesn't even try to get inside the head of Jodi Arias.
At least, she doesn't try to until she calls in Dr. Drew. When she introduces the celebrity therapist near the end of the book, the writer gushes over him as if he were a venerated psychological authority instead of the ill-informed and ethically challenged internist he actually is. He "diagnoses" Jodi by talking to some of his psychologist friends about her without ever having met her, then goes off on a diatribe that makes it seems like all bipolar sufferers are a breath away from homicide. This is the expert opinion this writer seeks.
I'm not defending Jodi Arias, not at all. But I don't think it's so unreasonable to expect a writer to maintain some writerly distance on the one hand and to explore the flawed human being she's writing about on the other. Without that, there's no reason to read a book about a case as well documented in the press as this one. A good true crime book reveals something that's alternately relatable and deplorable. A bad one - and I'd put this in that category - doesn't reveal anything I didn't already read in the paper.
On a positive note, kudos to the narrator, who made it tolerable.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
This is not cool Audible! I could have just used the narration feature on my Kindle and not wasted my money on this! I heard Elizabeth White's narration before and it's fine but this is total bull!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
If you are interested in the story and no other book is available.
If you’ve listened to books by Jane Velez-Mitchell before, how does this one compare?
This is my first one. I really expect more unbiased reporting from a so called 'journalist'.
What three words best describe Elizabeth White’s voice?
A cynical drawl
Could you see Exposed being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?
It has already. A dreadful, sensational production about enlightening as this book.
Any additional comments?
A Foreward by 'Nancy Grace' should have told me everything. Her coverage of the trial is appalling. I don't need her opinions on every peice of evidence, very biased opinion, I may add. I am quite capable of coming to my own conclusions. She is constantly pointing out the saintly qualities of the victim and the evilness of the perpetrator, and of the families involved. It is annoying. The interesting parts of such murder cases are the grey areas.To paint everything so black and white is tabloid journalism following a 'perceived' populist
viewpoint, hardly insightful.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful