“Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”- Reflection 1 (pages 1–77)
Initially I chose “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” by John Berendt because I had heard that it was a non-fiction book that read like a narrative. As I researched the book further I discovered that this book was on the The New York Times bestseller list for four years which is not a fact that should be overlooked. Due to the fact that the book reads like a narrative and it spent four years on a bestseller list, I came to the decision that this book would be the right one for me.
While reading the first 77 pages of the book I came to greatly appreciate Berendt’s vividly descriptive writing. The way he describes the places and people of Savannah enthralls me and continuously leaves me wanting more. I also adore how every character that we meet has their own story and that every place the narrator, John Berendt, visits has history that effected and continues to effect many people. The time the author dedicates to the development of each character and their own stories helps the reader understand and know the eclectic group of characters. For example, we have Jim Williams who loves living like an aristocrat while not actually being an aristocrat. We also meet the charismatic Joe Odom who’s life seems to be surrounded by people and parties. A specific stylistic element that I think Berendt utilizes well is his use of similes. One of my favorite similes I’ve read is one that is used to describe Jim Williams’s eyes that states his “eyes so black they were like the tinted windows of a sleek limousine —he could see out, but you couldn’t see in”(3). By comparing Williams’s eyes to a limousine I could easily visualize the character’s appearance and personality better. Thus far the characters and each of their individual stories is my favorite part of this narrative.
Another facet of this book that I really enjoyed was how the information is conveyed to the reader. As the narrator learns new things the reader learns with him which helps the reader understand the narrator’s thought process. The narrator discovers information by talking with the locals of Savannah, who seem to thrive on the details of others’ lives, as well as doing a little research on his own. I’m excited to see how this method of conveying information to the reader develops the plot.
Just like described, this book does in fact read like a narrative and many times while reading I have to remind myself that this is non-fiction and that these characters and places still or at one time existed. I know that this book does have a murder mystery intertwined within it and am anticipating how each of the characters will play a part.