ONE OF MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE BOOKS
At least 15 years ago after hearing Mr. Abagnale's exploits discussed on the radio, I read this book. I've repeatedly encouraged others to read this audacious autobiography.
Suffice it to say, the long-awaited movie with DiCaprio and Hanks didn't begin to depict Mr. Abagnale's insanely uninhabited early life. It's unlikely the most illustrious writer of fiction could create such hilarious hijinks and unnerving escapades. Mr. Abagnale's many off-the-cuff impersonations and miraculous escapes were astounding, especially for someone too young to vote!
Read the book. You won't be disappointed.
Opal H. (precycle) reviewed Catch Me If You Can CD : The Amazing True Story of the Youngest and Most Daring Con Man in the History of Fun and Profit! on + 87 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I haven't seen the movie but would love to after reading this amazing true story. This guy was one of the most daring con men, forgers, imposters and escape artists in history. this is a hilarious account of his life which is stranger than fiction and captivated me from the first page to the last!
Andrew H. (andrew041488) reviewed Catch Me If You Can CD : The Amazing True Story of the Youngest and Most Daring Con Man in the History of Fun and Profit! on
Helpful Score: 2
I loved this book from start to finish. The book keeps you hooked from start to finish with a fast-moving storyline and lots of imagery of faraway places and unique characters. I read this book after watching the Stephen Spielberg film and feel like I missed out on a lot of great stories not included in the movie. This book satisfies the conman side of ourselves without having to actually commit a felony!
Having greatly enjoyed the movie of the same name, I thought it would be interesting to read this autobiographical memoir of Frank Abagnale's years on the run from the law. However, while truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, the fictionalized account that Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks brought to life in the film adaptation was much more entertaining and intriguing, and certainly more deserving of the title "Catch Me If You Can".
If you've seen the movie, you'll recognize the main plot. Frank runs away from home at the tender age of 16 after his parents divorce and poses as a Pan Am pilot to earn free flights and, more importantly, make his fraudulent checks seem more believable. Additionally, the book delves more deeply into Frank's so called "addiction" to the ladies, often stewardesses. He does settle down at times, posing as a doctor, a lawyer, and a sociology professor, all through the use of faked credentials. It is interesting to see exactly how he accomplished all this (and there were a few close calls), though he does repeat himself at times.
Unfortunately, what's missing from the book is the best part of the movie, namely, the other side. The FBI is mentioned regularly, but we don't get to see what they're doing to try to catch Frank. There are no Christmas phone calls or, really, any major interactions between FBI agent O'Reilly and young Frank until the afterward. While there is still some excitement in the chase (yes, he really did escape custody through an airplane toilet), it mostly comes from close calls and self-imposed ethical conflicts on Frank's part.
The book was originally published in 1980, and, obviously, airport security is much more stringent now. Additionally, the fear of identity theft has become more mainstream in the last decade. In an "interview with the author" after the epilogue, some of these points are addressed, but the big picture is left incomplete. I am unsure if security issues prohibited Mr. Abagnale from delving into more detail in terms of check security measures he helped create, or if it was merely a case of him creating them after the original publication. Either way, the book still stands without it, but it would be much more powerful and relevant with it.
In my opinion, while not an awful book by any means, I suggest that you save your money and just rent the movie instead. Keep in mind that it's only about 80% true, but that other 20% really ties the plot together and provides at least 50% of the entertainment.
Barb S. (BDS) reviewed Catch Me If You Can CD : The Amazing True Story of the Youngest and Most Daring Con Man in the History of Fun and Profit! on + 86 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I had seen the movie and wanted to read the book because the books are usually better than the movies. It was a very interesting book and interesting to see the differences between it and the movie. Frank Abagnale was a very gifted individual to pull off all of the scams and impersonations that he did. It is good to know that he used his giftedness to eventally lead a successful life that helped society. I read a lot of true crime and this was a nice change of pace from the rapes and murders.
MUCH better than the movie! This true crime/memoir reads very much like fiction, and it's a facinating read! I can't imagine how he got away with everything he did - $2.5 million in bad checks, impersonating a pilot, a doctor, a laywer and SO much more!
This story was absolutely amazing. An autobiography by Frank Abagnale Jr about his escapades as check fraud throughout the ages of 16 and 21 was hilarious, captivating, and thought provoking. This is without a doubt one of my favourite books!!!
"Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake" is a very fascinating and fun story. While not as flowing as the movie, the book seems much more realistic and true to life, containing many of Abagnale's earlier mistakes and lessons learned that were not shown in the movie.
During his brief but notorious criminal career, Abagnale donned a pilot's uniform and copiloted a Pan Am jet, masqueraded as the supervising resident of a hospital, practiced law without a license, passed himself off as a college sociology professor, and cased over $2.5 million in forged checks--all before he was twenty-one.
JaNeil K. (KaneJ) - , reviewed Catch Me If You Can CD : The Amazing True Story of the Youngest and Most Daring Con Man in the History of Fun and Profit! on + 16 more book reviews
If you think the movie is hard to believe just wait until you read the book. The most amazing part is that it is a true story of an amazing man who has turned his life around from a life of crime to changing security measures to help protect us all.
I thoroughly enjoyed this -- to the extent that I intend to listen to it again and share it with my family and friends. Truth is certainly stranger than fiction in this case. The book had even more outrageous cons than the movie. This guy is/was a genius of con. Fascinating.
When this true-crime story first appeared in 1980, it made the New York Times bestseller list within weeks. Two decades later, it's being rereleased in conjunction with a film version produced by DreamWorks. In the space of five years, Frank Abagnale passed $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in every state and 26 foreign countries. He did it by pioneering implausible and brazen scams, such as impersonating a Pan Am pilot (puddle jumping around the world in the cockpit, even taking over the controls). He also played the role of a pediatrician and faked his way into the position of temporary resident supervisor at a hospital in Georgia. Posing as a lawyer, he conned his way into a position in a state attorney general's office, and he taught a semester of college-level sociology with a purloined degree from Columbia University.
The kicker is, he was actually a teenage high school dropout. Now an authority on counterfeiting and secure documents, Abagnale tells of his years of impersonations, swindles, and felonies with humor and the kind of confidence that enabled him to pull off his poseur performances. "Modesty is not one of my virtues. At the time, virtue was not one of my virtues," he writes. In fact, he did it all for his overactive libido--he needed money and status to woo the girls. He also loved a challenge and the ego boost that came with playing important men. What's not disclosed in this highly engaging tale is that Abagnale was released from prison after five years on the condition that he help the government write fraud-prevention programs. So, if you're planning to pick up some tips from this highly detailed manifesto on paperhanging, be warned: this master has already foiled you.
The true adventures of Frank Abagnale, one of the most daring con men, forger, impostor and escape artists in history. You will be amazed at the stunts he successfully pulls off. Hilarious, and stranger-than-fiction. Made into a movie.
Barbara C. (kewl) reviewed Catch Me If You Can CD : The Amazing True Story of the Youngest and Most Daring Con Man in the History of Fun and Profit! on + 469 more book reviews
During his brief but notorious criminal career, Abagnale donned a pilot's uniform and copiloted a Pan Am jet, masqueraded as the supervising resident of a hospital, practiced law without a license, passed himself off as a college sociology professor, and cased over $2.5 million in forged checks--all before he was twenty-one. TRUE CRIME
Jeffrey S. reviewed Catch Me If You Can CD : The Amazing True Story of the Youngest and Most Daring Con Man in the History of Fun and Profit! on + 19 more book reviews
A great story and an easy read, I don't know which was better, the movie or the book. But now that I've read the book I would sure like to see the movie again. Frank Abagnale was a master of social engineering before the term even existed.