Facebook
Skip to main content
PBS logo
 
 
Want fewer ads?

Search - Catch Me If You Can

Catch Me If You Can
Catch Me If You Can
Author: Frank Abagnale
Frank W. Abagnale, alias Frank Williams, Robert Conrad, Frank Adams, and Robert Monjo, was one of the most daring con men, forgers, imposters, and escape artists in history. In 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 la...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780671462871
ISBN-10: 0671462873
Publication Date: 7/3/1982
Pages: 262
Rating:
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 4

4.1 stars, based on 4 ratings
Publisher: Pocket
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 1
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Catch Me If You Can on + 54 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
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.
reviewed Catch Me If You Can 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!
kajsa-varg avatar reviewed Catch Me If You Can on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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!!!
reviewed Catch Me If You Can on + 232 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Really great book. A must read even if you saw the movie. The movie cut many good parts out. Incredible but true story.
Read All 12 Book Reviews of "Catch Me If You Can"

Please Log in to Rate these Book Reviews

bamboochik avatar reviewed Catch Me If You Can on + 54 more book reviews
You just cannot put this true story down! You will be amazed at how someone could actually accomplish everything he accomplished. How did he fool so many people?
reviewed Catch Me If You Can on + 7 more book reviews
This was great.I read this book about a con man conning airplanes when I was on a cross country flight.A really entertaining book.
reviewed Catch Me If You Can on + 533 more book reviews
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.
AMAZON.COM REVIEW
reviewed Catch Me If You Can on + 37 more book reviews
Amazing what this guy got away with.
reviewed Catch Me If You Can on + 4 more book reviews
Fun, action filled and keeps you interested!
reviewed Catch Me If You Can on + 15 more book reviews
I really enjoyed listening to the story of this man and all that he got away with. It's pretty amazing, especially considering he was a teenager when he started. This is an account of all that in Frank Abagnale's own words.


Genres:

Want fewer ads?