In a system that is largely run by private business it was probably inevitable that sooner or later the profit-before-all fake-it-till-you-make-it narcissism of many businesses considered successful today would finally also hit American health care. As ever, while rich people play at saving the world, the ordinary among us are the ones who pay the price in our lives.
This kind of elitism and snobbishness has always existed in the arts. However what the many who tightly cling to this sense of superiority do not realise is that it is only very recently that realism has crept into literature - think about Homer, Beowulf, Shakespeare with his Wyrd Sisters, Titania and Oberon. Human beings have always enjoyed a good does of the mysterious, miraculous, mythological and the unexplainable in our stories.
Mark pays a heavy price for his cowardice, his inability to face up to reality and do the mature, adult thing in a difficult and tense situation. I feel that Mark might be paying this price for the rest of his life, but Meredith pays a heavier price for her involvement with Mark.
Bentley talks admirably and openly about the impact the operation had on his mental health, and the lack of aftercare and support that he got from the force. One of the most psychologically fascinating parts of Operation Julie is how Bentley manages not just his dual identity, but how his experiences in Wales, and getting closer to the people who were involved in the making and selling of LSD changed him as a person. It feels obvious that Bentley could not finish the job and simply go back to who he was before, he needed to find a new self, and that was no easy feet.
The unpretentious, no frills way that Debbie presents us with the series of events, and their ultimate effect on her life, with very few interuptions is a masterclass in letting a story tell itself, and should be considered gold standard for true crime podcasting everywhere.
If you are looking for the next great literary piece of true crime in the tradition of Capote, then this will not be the book for you, and that is exactly as it should be. True Crime while often tending towards the most shocking, spooky or gruesome does reflect life, thankfully an extreme of life many of us won't experience, but life none-the-less. Burke, who comes across as a down to earth man of the people makes this memoire all the stronger by retaining his authentic voice, which is the books ultimate strength, rather than trying for literary kudos.
McGowan, feels like the right person to have written this book. It is true as a fiction writer she doesn't have the investigative experience of a journalist or former detective, nor the sharp academic skill of a criminologist or sociologist, but what makes her perfect is that she herself grew up in the triangle and was a young woman at the time of the dissaperances and murders.
Moore, with her highly unique experience is slowly building a podcast which is valuble in the true crime field, it deepens our understanding of the innocents effected by brutal crimes, the ones that all our storytelling forms, news, films, books have neglected. For those who truly seek to understand the most devient crimes, understanding not just what led up to them, but also there half life is equally important, and Moore does so well in giving a voice, to those who had previously been voiceless.
What Russo firmly does is place the outcomes of the cult, within a cultural context of the crumbling American empire, and the death of the public service ideal. By doing this he makes the scared, isolated lives the cult members live much more a symptom of the modern worlds lack of connection, community and shared values, rather than the punchline of a joke.
The fact that behind the fandom, obsessiveness and excitement that true crime can illicit in it's follower there is terrible pain. Not a pain that is showey and ostentacious, but the pain so many people carry with them every day, which becomes a constant companion and eventually is just part of you. It is a reminder of how things happen to people, and the choices that impact us the most are often the ones other people make, sometimes far, far away. Their ripples are sent out throughout the world, but always hit the heart.