In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Original publication date: 1966
This week is banned books week in the United States. All week I will be highlighting banned, challenged, and censored books I own and have read.
Until one morning in mid-November of 1959, few Americans–in fact, few Kansans–had ever heard of Holcomb. Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there.” If all Truman Capote did was invent a new genre–journalism written with the language and structure of literature–this “nonfiction novel” about the brutal slaying of the Clutter family by two would-be robbers would be remembered as a trail-blazing experiment that has influenced countless writers. But Capote achieved more than that. He wrote a true masterpiece of creative nonfiction. The images of this tale continue to resonate in our minds: 16-year-old Nancy Clutter teaching a friend how to bake a cherry pie, Dick Hickock’s black ’49 Chevrolet sedan, Perry Smith’s Gibson guitar and his dreams of gold in a tropical paradise–the blood on the walls and the final “thud-snap” of the rope-broken necks.
Status: Banned but later reinstated at a high school in Georgia (citation).
Reason for challenge in the U.S.: Parental complaints of sex, violence, and profanity (citation), what else!
My thoughts: “In Cold Blood” was certainly a dark book, but it was also a gripping one. The depictions of the vicious murder of the Clutter family were horrifyingly realistic. Perhaps even more disturbing, Capote almost manages to make the reader identify with the murderers.
Your Turn: Have you ever read “In Cold Blood” or any other creative nonfiction true crime books? What did you think? How do you feel about true crime books in general?
Check out my Banned Books Week Spotlights all week, every day at 2 pm Central through Saturday, Octobter 4th.
Rebecca of The Book Lady’s Blog is doing Banned Books Week Spotlights as well, every morning at 9 am. Check her out as well!