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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sutton by J.R. Moehringer


Sutton by J.R. Moehringer is historical fiction about Willie Sutton. We meet Willie when he is released from Attica to a reporter who has exclusive rights for his story. Willie begins at the beginning as he revisits all the key points of his life with the reporter and his photographer starting with where he was born in Brooklyn. Willie explains to his temporary guards that it was the media who made him a myth, not him and here we go again with keeping that myth alive.
As they drive around Brooklyn and stop at each location, Willie spends time talking to his two companions as he relives the life he had as referenced at the place they have stopped. Willie has tried to be moral and good and do the right thing. But as his buddy Eddie tells him, “It’s all fixed against them.” Eventually Eddie succumbs to crime.
Certainly a question has to be raised, “Who exactly are the crooks?” The story weaves in and out of Bank Board Rooms in a sort of circuitous way. So many different versions of the same events, Willie’s POV, newspapers’ POV, cops’ POV, publics’ POV. Which is the truth? Moehringer leaves it to us to choose our own truth, which is telling about us the reader as to which story we believe, which truth we choose.  Sutton’s story is like ours about love and truth with money being the distraction.

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