Customer Reviews for

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a splendid piece of nonfiction. Part true crime, part Savannah guidebook, it reaches beyond both of these to become a captivating character study. John Berendt effortlessly captures the voices of both the people he meets and th...
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a splendid piece of nonfiction. Part true crime, part Savannah guidebook, it reaches beyond both of these to become a captivating character study. John Berendt effortlessly captures the voices of both the people he meets and the city of Savannah, itself. And yet, though his impressions and experiences shape the narrative, he remains an understated presence in the book, offering what he sees and hears with minimal commentary, and leaving us, the readers, with the sense that it is we who are in fact meeting these people and this place. As their new acquaintances, moreover, we're free and welcome to come to our own conclusions about the quality of their characters, and so we, too, become drawn into the book's singular series of events. Deftly rendered with elegant and evocative prose, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a funny, insightful, and often touching glimpse into Savannah's charming, mysterious heart.

posted by slimikin on May 14, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

BEWARE ABRIDGED AUDIO BOOKS

This audio version of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is an example of how a great paper book can be turned into a dreadful audiobook. Actor Anthony Heald performs well enough, but it's pretty funny when he tries to make his voice sound like a an elderly, sout...
This audio version of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is an example of how a great paper book can be turned into a dreadful audiobook. Actor Anthony Heald performs well enough, but it's pretty funny when he tries to make his voice sound like a an elderly, southern, african-american voodoo priestess. It's a stretch for a white guy. My main beef with this dud is the abridgement. When I first picked it up and saw "Abridged" printed on the box I groaned. But then I noticed that it was three discs. Midnight is a pretty short book, the three disc length led me to believe that only a minimal amount of text was cut out. So I broke my usual rule with audiobooks - never buy an abridgement!

I popped it in the car and all was well until I got to the third disc. After only a few minutes of "Midnight", it was THE END! I was left wondering what was occupying the other hour of the disc. Well, to my horror, it was the author himself, John Berendt, in a long, boring ode to himself. He congratulates himself effusively for writing such a spectacular book. He is sure to let us know how famous he is. How many languages it's been translated into. How much he's done for the city of Savannah, how much the citizens love him..... bla, bla, bla, until I almost fell asleep at the wheel. I would have much preferred that the remainder of the disc was left to the continuation of the actual book. So in the end, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" was abridged into only two discs. And then you're also paying for an extra disc of blather. Dont bother.

posted by Mary_T on November 17, 2009

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  • Posted November 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    BEWARE ABRIDGED AUDIO BOOKS

    This audio version of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is an example of how a great paper book can be turned into a dreadful audiobook. Actor Anthony Heald performs well enough, but it's pretty funny when he tries to make his voice sound like a an elderly, southern, african-american voodoo priestess. It's a stretch for a white guy. My main beef with this dud is the abridgement. When I first picked it up and saw "Abridged" printed on the box I groaned. But then I noticed that it was three discs. Midnight is a pretty short book, the three disc length led me to believe that only a minimal amount of text was cut out. So I broke my usual rule with audiobooks - never buy an abridgement!

    I popped it in the car and all was well until I got to the third disc. After only a few minutes of "Midnight", it was THE END! I was left wondering what was occupying the other hour of the disc. Well, to my horror, it was the author himself, John Berendt, in a long, boring ode to himself. He congratulates himself effusively for writing such a spectacular book. He is sure to let us know how famous he is. How many languages it's been translated into. How much he's done for the city of Savannah, how much the citizens love him..... bla, bla, bla, until I almost fell asleep at the wheel. I would have much preferred that the remainder of the disc was left to the continuation of the actual book. So in the end, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" was abridged into only two discs. And then you're also paying for an extra disc of blather. Dont bother.

    9 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2009

    Abridged "Midnight..." Disappointing

    I concur with another reviewer here that the Abridged version of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" was a disappointment. So much of the story was glossed over with broad summaries of plot events, a goodly portion of the tension and detail that make a story engrossing apparently fell on the cutting room floor. And as previously noted elsewhere, there's an additional disk featuring the author patting himself on the back, a dubious bonus that could have been used instead for the novel.

    I used this experience to ensure I only purchase unabridged novels in the future.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2013

    Thunder

    Nobody Listens To Me And Everyone Disrespects Me.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    Recommend if you plan to visit Savannah soon.

    The descriptions of the characters and the Savannah area were thorough and interesting, but the plot seemed to drag. I had visited Savannah last summer and there were many references to this book from the tour guides and tourist information. I expected more to the story. I plan to watch the movie now and hope the screen play is better written than the book. The book may have had a bigger impact on me if I had read it when it first came out. Many of the social issues it dealt with are no longer as shocking as they might have been back then.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Historical Savannah

    Visited Savannah this Fall so it was interesting to see all the places that were mentioned in this story. Bonaventure Cemetery was definitely my favorite place. As for this story, it was just O.K.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2007

    Mediocre

    The story is boring and not very exciting. The audiobook feels rushed, like there's a race to finish. The authors commentary at the end is especially nauseating, he goes on and on about how great his book is and how much everybody loves it. There are so many really great books out there I wouldn't waste my time on this one.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2006

    Not Impressed.

    I found it to be very tedious and uneventful. There were pages upon pages of details which were really not significant to the plot, nor the characters in question. It seemed as though it was a collection of miniature biographies which happened to cross the author's path, and in that 'mess' there happened to be a very involved trial, having no baring on the author's life. A realistic story, only a waste of time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2005

    Definitely disappointing

    I had read all the hype for this book. It's advertised as a great murder mystery, but that part is only about 20% of the actual plot. I did enjoy the diversity and characterization of the Savannahians, but the book was definitely not what I expected. There were a few exciting parts, but not enough to read again or to recommend to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2004

    B O O O O R I N G!

    This book is Boring with a capital B! Rarely do I put a book down before finishing it, but this is a first in many, many years. I bought the book because I will be visiting Savannah this summer and heard it had good examples of Savannah lore. At first I was fascinated this was a true crime with a mix of history, but soon learned the author focused more on the characters. He dragged on and on and on about the players never getting to the heart and soul or any of these individuals. I suppose if you live in a bubble you would find these characters fascinating, but I have kookier and nuttier characters in my own family. My husband and I are movie buffs and were surprised to hear Clint Eastwood directed a movie based on the book. The movie must have been just as lackluster as the book, since this is the first we have heard about it. I will never know how this story ends and frankly, I don't care. The book has been tossed in the Goodwill box.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2003

    So So

    When I first starting reading this book it caught my attention, but then it seemed like it dragged on. I like a good non fiction crime book so I thought this one was going to be one I would really enjoy. It seemed to bore me. The facts about Savannah were the interesting parts to me, as I would like to go there because I know a lot of people from there. I didn't think this book kept any consistincy. It jumped back and forth and I don't really know if it was infact about the murder, or was it this mans journey from New York to Savannah?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2001

    Where's the Good?

    Should be called Midnight in the Garden of Evil for I did not find much good in this book. Not a good plot although difficult to change if non fiction, not good characters, not a good ending. The only highlights of the book for me was the drag queen and Minerva, otherwise boring!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 1999

    Can we say GRAPHIC!!??

    This book is extremely graphic. The writer tells the story very properly, and, in a way that is almost prissy, but then the characters open their mouths and the whole thing becomes rated-R. I had to read this for school. If you are forced to read something, it ain't so bad. Just don't read it to your grammy.

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