- This was chosen as the January Read-Along book.
Summary from GoodReads:
On January 15, 1947, the body of a beautiful young woman was found in a vacant lot in Hollywood. The victim, a Massachusetts-born aspiring actress, quickly became known as the Black Dahlia, lending Elizabeth Short in death a fame that she never enjoyed in life. In this much-acclaimed novel, originally published in 1987, James Ellroy transforms a ghoulish morgue story into a garish crime hunt through hell.
I have to admit to being a little torn upon seeing The Black Dahlia chosen for our read-along in January. I remember trying to watch the movie, but unable to do so due to my incredibly sensitive stomach and lack of desire to see anything gruesome, ever.
Surely a book would be better? Well – let me put it this way: Ellroy packs a punch with his writing. He’s offensive and fascinating at both the same time. He doesn’t care about any sensitivities his readers might have, but instead drags you down into a gruesome, gritty, HARD, Los Angeles reality – the 1940′s harsh reality. There’s no heroic portraits of good looking cops here, there’s no innocent women here, there’s nothing redeeming whatsoever about this story which makes it a very harsh, very effective story.
You see, The Black Dahlia mystery wasn’t romantic. There was nothing about it whatsoever that should have been dramatized in a way to make anyone feel good about hearing about it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it shouldn’t be written about – because it should. It does us good to read stories that remind us the world isn’t a pretty place as seen through rose-tinted glasses.
That said, I won’t deny that there were parts of this story that completely unnerved me. If I hadn’t been doing the read-along, I don’t think I could have pushed through a few sections, and honestly, I’m glad I did because the ending made some of it worth it (not all.. there was language that really got to me).
I can see why this book made the 1001 Books list – it’s an interesting work and one that really does a fantastic job of telling the story of Elizabeth Short, as much as we know about her. Just prepare yourself if you have an overactive imagination like I do.
Check out these review(s):