Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Alienist Written by: Caleb Carr

Hello Readers, I hope this Fall Season find you all well and ready for All Hallows Eve, only a week away. I recently found myself in NYC and I must say…it’s not the place for me, the noise, smells, people, lack of trees…just not for me I grew up with Trees and fresh air and though I enjoy clubs, dancing, parties, etc… I like being able to breathe in fresh air when I leave these places. Not saying NYC isn’t nice and impressive, but not for me… that being said after having Finished this most recent book The Alienist I can say Old Time NYC was most certainly not for me. The year is 1896 On a cold March night New York Times reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned to the East River Dr. Laszlo Kreizler together they view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy, a prostitute from one of Manhattan's infamous brothels. This latest book the Alienist I found myself just completely absorbed in this tale and there were so many larger than life figures in this book I found myself researching the characters and NYC while reading! The Author Caleb Carr transported me to a moment in history when the modern idea of a serial killer was being discovered and penned. I followed the team who were investigating a string of horrific murders going back who knows how far and watched them frantically piece together a far complex puzzle that of a man or woman before they killed again and again and so forth. The police commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt, in a highly unorthodox move, enlists the two men in the murder investigation, counting on the reserved Kreizler's intellect and Moore's knowledge of New York's vast criminal underworld. Though Moore himself thinks he’s quite useless at times. They are joined by Sara Howard, a spitfire take no nonsense can curse with the best of them lady who is one of the first female secretary’s in the NYC Police department. There were so many wonderful chapters, sentences, and overall ideas and setting that I simply felt engrossed in the story. I even got to read this book in NYC which added a touch of atmosphere I usually don’t get to always enjoy while reading. I’ll restate a note the author makes in the very beginning of this book… “Prior to the twentieth century, persons suffering from mental illness were thought to be “alienated,” not only from the rest of society but from their own true natures. Those experts who studied mental pathologies were therefore known as alienists.” If this book is based on even a quarter of the facts surrounding Alienists and their patients and how NYC officials, Church leaders, and families in general acted, then sadly we’ve only evolved so far in society, but at least we have evolved. This book questioned the home, community, and society… do men who are mad create acts of violence or are men who suffer from the acts of violence made mad? The classic forgive me for using it chicken and the egg question, of course some men are mad and some men are made mad, but it seems that even today it is much easier to blame a mental illness rather than parents, schools, society, our community…why? Because readers, if a person is simply “Not right” then it is so much easier to see why they would act in violence and madness rather than someone who was made to act violent, because that readers means we need to fix something or perhaps we ignored what needed to be fixed? The Alienist touches upon this concept quite a bit with several cases and examples of such and the Alienist Kreizler even states that the public will “wish him to be mad” when he’s observing a rather horrific case. The concept of America are also addressed readers at one point it is said “We are not obligated to provide everyone who comes to this country with a good life, we are obligated to provide them with a chance to attain that life, through discipline and hard work.” Sound familiar readers? There are a lot of heavy topics and subject from Native Americans, serial killers, what makes a killer, women’s rights, corrupt police, corrupt Church leaders, just a whole lot of topics that it seems are quite relevant to today. And, this group hunting this murderer are being threaten and told to stop their investigation, why? Because, Kreizler it seems is seen as a threat. Granted this isn’t a very old book so the author would have been trying to draw comparisons, but very little changes when it comes to society it seems readers, or at least with this book. The scenes set and descriptions were quite thorough and did not paint NYC into this grand city with a vast history, but rather a sweat shop filled with corruption and immigrants who were looking to live as best they could with what they could. Then you have this group of people one being Theodore Roosevelt (Love this former president readers) who are trying to stop the corruption and it seems to do that must also stop this killer. Quite the read indeed readers, I most hold back as I don’t want to give you any spoilers, and it took me a damn long time to figure out the puzzle pieces, but the author does a great job of not giving anything away either. So, a great book indeed and one that I think is wonderful to analyze not only the past, but possibly also present and future.

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