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This review is from: Sins of South Beach (Kindle Edition)
I was in South Beach for two nights kicking off a holiday around Florida. I saw this book in Walgreens. There was a stand with a number of signed copies. My partner bought a copy and I downloaded the Kindle version. I'd already found Miami and South Beach in particular an intriguing place. The Art Deco buildings around South Beach are at once incongruous, sinister and beautiful. The whole place feels a little contrived and people seem like extras in a film set where something is going to happen, soon. There are tramps openly searching rubbish bins and obscenely fit, body beautiful, types posing in skin tight sportswear: "so beautiful they are ugly" I think Stephen Fry described the people of this place and "giant parrots that promise so much and deliver so little." For whatever reason I never saw the parrots. And, let's be honest things have happened in this place but nowhere near to the degree that I suspected. Before arriving my only image of Miami was memories from the TV series Miami Vice and of course the film Scarface. I had some vague idea that this was going to be a very glamorous and exciting place. On the ground it felt edgy. I am not superstitious or generally metaphysically inclined but I didn't feel altogether comfortable in my surroundings. I do not as a rule feel comfortable in the American landscape anyway. I feel dwarfed by the size of everything, especially the roads. But in South Beach I felt I could sense something sinister, make of that what you will. And this brings me to the book. I downloaded with the intention of educating myself. Despite a busy schedule I read the book in a matter of days. Did the book dispel my fears? Did it hell! What a ride. I won't summarise the book, read it for yourself. But take my word for it the book grips you and sometimes it's hard to believe the journey this man has gone through. There are many times when you disagree with his decisions but you cannot fault his honesty in telling it all, good and bad, for this I admire him. By the end of the book I almost felt like I knew him. Many things are read "between the lines". Sometimes you sense the things that cannot be said even now but are in some ways clear anyway and sometimes you feel the naiveté and raw ambition of this man's character leading him into a very dark place and wish you could give him a shake. This is no black and white tale of good versus evil. This is a real person full of faults, demons and, perhaps like all politicians, a big narcissistic ego to satisfy. He did good, a lot of good and he did a bit of bad too. One thing I can say with certainty is we do not have politicians like this in the UK. Just a taster, this man is a heavyweight boxer, vigilante cleaner of the streets, a hugely successful politician and someone who has had to endure numerous tragedies. To top it all he has had the company of many beautiful women (to put it politely)and fought the FBI in court in what I believe is a very harsh justice system. He's a man's man with a tremendously interesting life story. PS there are also some nasty villains too, you would not want to meet in a dark alley or a boardroom. Would definitely recommend.
I'd love to have lunch with Alex one day and ask him lots of questions. At the end of the book not only did I feel I knew him but that I also liked him. Maybe the fellow Catholic in me recognises a genuine confession and a beautiful epiphany when he sees one. Hope the rest of his life is as full but maybe a little less interesting, for his sake.
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Initial post: 5 Oct 2014 23:11:13 BDT
Caron Buxton says:
You should write, I thought I was reading an excerpt from the book!
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