Nonfiction

I’ll Be There for You: The One about Friends by Kelsey Miller

I'll Be There for You: The One about FriendsI’ll Be There for You: The One about Friends by Kelsey Miller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Out October 23rd!

I think it’s only fair to disclose before this review that I’m a complete and utter Friends freak! My cat’s name is Chandler, my Roomba-knock-off vaccum’s name is Gunther, I rescued a cat and named her Phoebe, I have the Friends picture frame that I hung over my apartment’s peephole, and I have watched all of the seasons too many times to count. I make references on the regular and expect that everybody around me is going to *get* them (they usually don’t…). You get the point.

Okay, back to the review. How could I give any book about Friends anything less than 5 stars? Honestly. But low and behold, this books stands on its own merits! I can truly give it 5 stars because it’s just a great book.

Kelsey Miller did a great job portraying the history of the series, the producers’ journey to get there, how the show was cast, the challenges they went through to keep it on the air, and the overwhelming influence it had on pop culture. It tries to explain why Friends was and still is such an overwhelming presence in American households and why people continue to gravitate towards the characters and their stories.

The unique thing about this book is that it references current events that were taking place while the show was airing (i.e. September 11th and its impact on the show). It also at times toes the line into political territory so be prepared to be open minded about political viewpoints that May differ from your own. For the newer generation that were young while it was airing live, it is interesting to get fresh perspective on the happenings in the 90’s.

The quality of the writing is great for a nonfiction book. It reads very smoothly and has a conversational feel which makes for a quick read.

Funny sidenote… I kept watching the completion percentage at the bottom of my Kindle as I read and was surprised at how long the book was while I was reading it. I kept thinking, “Holy cow is this book long!” But, when I got to about 70% in the ebook, it ended. The last 30% is footnotes and references. So it may seem long but it is an illusion! I actually devoured it in two days.

Speaking of footnotes, Kelsey Miller added little morsels of information throughout that didn’t necessary fit in the body of the book but we’re interesting tidbits. And at times she added bits of humor that were appreciated.

Highly recommended for all my Friends freaks out there (you know who you are). But also is relevant for those who even have a marginal relationship with Friends.

Could this book BE any better?

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-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Kelsey Miller, and HARLEQUIN for the opportunity to review.-

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Audiobook Review, Nonfiction, True Crime

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State KillerI’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hmm I’m not sure how to feel about this book. I feel like I’m going to be an outlier here with an unpopular opinion. I didn’t hate it but I also didn’t love it.

A few notes about this book:
1. Michelle McNamara died before the book was complete.
2. Much of the book was pieced together by her colleagues prior to publication.
3. The Golden State Killer was not identified prior to this book being published so if you’re looking for a conclusion where an identification is made, you aren’t going to find it here.
4. A 74-yeard old man named Joseph James DeAngelo was arrested after this book was published (April 2018) and charged with many of the crimes depicted in this book. He is assumed to be the Golden State Killer although the trial is still pending.

Ok so all of that being said, my biggest issue with the book was the fact that it was very disjointed and all over the place in terms of timeline and content. It jumped around from the 1970s to the 1980s to 2010s back to 1970s… You get the gist. Which might not have been a huge problem if the story was more cohesive. However, I felt like the bulk of the book was a compilation of mini-stories or random thoughts that didn’t real tell a complete story. I found the discussion of the various crimes committed to be extremely repetitive as the killer’s MO didn’t deviate a whole lot. I’m not sure why each crime needed to be rehashed.

I guess I was expecting more “investigation” and less victim back story. And I feel like I finally got that 8 out of 10 hours into the audiobook. The last 2 hours were probably my favorite because there was more discussion about creative ways in which Michelle and other investigators dissected the known information to formulate theories. That part was superb. I would have appreciated more of the latter and less of the former.

I feel like it’s a little unfair to judge this book too harshly considering the author passed away while the book was still being written, had to be pieced together posthumously, and likely wasn’t edited in the way the author would have edited it. I’d like to think that had Michelle McNamara had an opportunity to finish it herself it would have been better.

Lastly, the entire time I read this book (having known the killer was allegedly in custody) I wanted so badly to compare the theories in the book with known information about Joseph James DeAngelo to see if the investigators’ theories were accurate. Guess I’ll have to wait for the HBO documentary that somebody will undoubtedly produce one of these days to find out!

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