Customer Review

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Executioner`s Song is lo-o-o-o-o-o-ng, 6 April 2007
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This review is from: The Executioner's Song (Arena Books) (Paperback)
I agree with earlier reviewers that this book is far too long, especially the second half dealing with all the mundane legal and media business.

It`s not suprising, though, that Mailer devoted so much of his time and effort into writing a book....a one thousand page book!!!....about someone like Gilmore, whom he evidently empathised with. Mailer, remember, in 1960 had stabbed his (second) wife -the sort of thing Gilmore could have related to- and he had always fancied himself as a bit of a bruiser, generally. Also, in 1980, Mailer corresponded with, and supported the successful parole of, convicted killer Jack Abbott.

So, that`s why the book is so long and dreary, because it was an indulgent labour of love on the part of Mailer, for a subject which fascinated him, but one which, unfortunately for the reader, was nowhere near fascinating enough to justify such a sizeable tome.

I mean, at least the crimes of, say, Ted Bundy, or Ed Gein, were so outrageous as to be `interesting`, albeit for all the wrong reasons, but you know what I mean.

Gilmore`s two murders, on the other hand, whilst obviously tragic for the victims and their families/friends, were just dull and uninteresting, and, besides, a large portion of the book is given over to Gilmore`s fight to have his death sentence carried out. Boring.

That`s the problem with the Executioner`s Song - the subject matter is so dull and dreary.

I`m surprised that The Executioner`s Song is still in print. I really found it such a drag to get through, and I only persevered with it because I hate to start a book and not finish it...that and the fact that I`d paid for it.

Gilmore`s personality, attitude, and behaviour were so utterly repugnant - the two murders he committed were, in a behavioural sense, the equivalent of a naughty child throwing tantrums when things aren`t going his way. Except this naughty child happened to be a homicidal grownup. Pathetic.

Gilmore had no redeeming characteristics. Some people suggest that there was some sort of honour(?!) or remorse(?!) involved in his fight to be executed. How ridiculous! He was a psychopath, and would no doubt have gone on to hurt and kill more people if he hadn`t been captured when he was. As well as his two murder victims, Gilmore had also regularly boasted of having once beaten a fellow prison inmate so viciously that the victim needed emergency brain surgery. Gilmore`s farewell taped message to his girlfriend was that she kill herself. Charming...

No - having his execution carried out - and by firing squad, too, incidentally...instant and painless - was Gilmore`s final hurrah, and an easy way out of having to spend the rest of his days locked up.

Good riddance.
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