Book Reviews of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Author: John Berendt
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ISBN-13: 9780679429227
ISBN-10: 0679429220
Publication Date: 1/13/1994
Pages: 400
Rating:
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 612

3.9 stars, based on 612 ratings
Publisher: Random House
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

62 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil on + 105 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Very different - a nonfiction work that reads like a novel, a travel guide, and a first-person account (The author is a character in the book and references his writing of the book within the story)

The book revolves around Savannah, Georgia and a murder trial that went on in the 1980s. The author spends a lot of time on the unique social dynamics of Savannah and the eccentric personalities that made up the city.

Good for it's unique approach and character portrayals. Fascinating if you are from or interested in Savannah. An average story (made more interesting by the fact that its true).

3 stars out of 5
reviewed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Don't let the awful movie ruin this one for you - this is one of the best books I have read, and the movie was one of the worst movies I've seen. I am STILL holding a grudge against Spacey, Eastwood, and everyone else who had anything to do with that heinous movie. Enjoy the book!!
reviewed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil on + 43 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
While this stunning work of non-fiction is undoubtedly well-written and interesting, after reading it, you almost feel physically and morally dirty after having consorted with the cast of characters in this book. It's a study in the underbelly of humanity, how Southerners appear polite, virtuous, and cleansed, but can say the nastiest things behind your back, hide the dirtiest secrets, and struggle with the dichotomy between how they want to appear to society and who they really are.
reviewed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil on
Helpful Score: 1
An enchanting novel that is part mystery and part travel book.
If you missed reading it, now is the opportunity to enjoy a book that was on the NY Times bestseller list for over three years!
reviewed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil on
Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed this book. I had put off reading it because of what I had heard about the movie and the cover and title seemed to convey a very dark sinister sort of story. However, the title actually comes from a comical chapter and the cover really is misleading. There is a murder mystery but the book is mainly about Savannah and the colorful characters who live there. Having lived in Savannah for a year I found it very authentic.
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Probably the best book ever written for the tourism industry of Savannah.
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I loved this book. It reads as a novel and is so enjoyable. Who doesn't love Miss Chablis? It's a murder mystery with a lot of camp to it.
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I really enjoyed this book - it's one that I would love to re-read someday when I get through my "to be read" list. :)
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I have read this book a couple of times and each time I find it funny and a delightful read. I know it is non-fiction but it reads like a fiction book. Hard to believe that the characters in the book are real and not made up by the author but, they are all to real. The story is told in a delightful manner and each character comes to life. After having read it this time I googled the characters. To my amazement they were exactly as the book described. The language was a little rough in places but without it I don't think the story would have been as believable. A fast past enjoyable read.
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too slow for me to get into.
reviewed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil on + 7 more book reviews
One of my favorite books of all time. I read this book after moving to Savannah and was lucky enough to be able to visit a lot of the sites in the book.
reviewed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil on + 5 more book reviews
This is a great book. Interesting from page 1, written in the first person by the author, who experienced everything he wrote about. At times you would think you are in New Orleans (some voodoo rituals). About half way through the book, the title is explained when you take a trip to a cemetery.
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I really enjoyed this story! I had watched the movie and wanted to read the book. The movie was good, but the book was better. The characters were well developed and drew me in to the story line.
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Could read this again and again. Loved the movie, loved the book.
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This was a fantastic book !!! It reads like a thriller and there are hilarious turns throughout. A must read.
reviewed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil on + 3 more book reviews
Loved it; very interesting especially after having been to Savannah and being able to visualize the places talked about in the book. Book is different from the movie. Don't get me wrong I loved the movie too, but the book has more background not only about the murder but just the area and people in general. Don't know how much is fictionalize but it's still fun to read. Of course it helps to be a southern and proud of it.
reviewed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil on + 4 more book reviews
Savannah is the setting- with a brilliant rendering of characters that come alive in the pages. The writer takes you on a journey to the Old South that is fascinating!
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I found Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil to be a very entertaining book. Some parts of it were a little disturbing, but all in all a very good book. It reinforced my desire to visit Savannah soon.
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Read this many years ago. Terrific story, all the better because it's non-fiction. Berendt captures the essence of lovely old Savannah and gives us a peek under the rug.
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I hadn't read this book in a while, and I'm so glad I picked it up. It still captivated me with it's storyline and eccentric characters.
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Held my attention. Since this is a work of nonfiction, pictures of the houses and whatnot would have been preferred over endless descriptions. There is some obvious filler that I suppose is there to draw out suspense, but it just annoyed me and I skimmed a lot of pages as I moved toward the end.
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Beautifully written, with an incredible sense of atmosphere and place.
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I enjoyed the characters in this book more than anything. The author also did a good job of "teaching" me about some of the history & culture of the area without making it seem like a history book. Great story.
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The book was okay, it's more of a gossip column than a murder story. To me it seemed forced, a New York writer comes to Savannah, looking for a story to write. There is a lot of filler, with only so so coverage of the killing. Not many likable characters in this book.
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I enjoyed. Not exactly a show stopper.
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Very quirky account of a southern town and one reporter who moves into town to solve a murder,I loved it so much that I wanted to live there too.
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Good book with great descriptions of the characters.
reviewed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil on + 158 more book reviews
A must read for anyone who has loved their visit to the historic city of Savannah, GA just as i did. Though a non-fiction book, it reads like many a bestselling murder mystery. NY author John Berendt falls in love with the city so becomes a part-time resident in order to learn the inner workings of Savannah society. He discovers some unique characters, moneyed families both new and old, and becomes the confidante of the accused in the May 1981 murder of a young male hustler. Berendt stays in town over 8 years as the murder trial unfolds and the accused runs his antique business from the county jail. It's hard to believe the one of a kind personalities he encounters are all real people!
reviewed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil on
I'm a little late to the game, having not read this book until recently, but I loved it. I especially enjoyed the fact that it read like a novel, but was based in fact. If you're from the south, have ever been to the south, or just like a good, well-written story, do yourself a favor and check this book out. Well worth your time.
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Loved this book, well written with characters that you won't always believe but love to read about. Twists and turns and you can't wait to find out the truth and the why's. A good read.
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I did not really enjoy this book, but it did keep me turning the pages - like a gripping whodunnit. Surprisingly, it is a work of nonfiction, but it reads like a fictional narrative. I did think it was a bit on the "mass market" side. It tackles voodoo, eccentric local inhabitants, and if it's true, it certainly captures a wild flavor of Savannah. Kept me reading 'till dawn, but left me a little bland.
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This book was really enjoyable. Berendt took an approach that really drew me into where he was. Loved it!
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Much better than the movie. Definitely required reading if you plan to visit Savannah!
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I liked this book about Savannah and what happened there in 1981 and afterwards. Just learning about the city's history and its inhabitants was worth the read. I look forward to seeing the movie.
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A hauntingly gorgeous murder mystery set in graceful Savannah
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This was a wonderful book. It happens to be my all time favorite. You just get wrapped up in this book. I have toured the Mercer house. And it's awesome. This is a must read book in my opinion.
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On May 2, 1981 shots rang out in one of Savannah's grandest mansions, Was it murder or self defense? Said to be one of the best non-fiction novels since IN COLD BLOOD.
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One of my favorite books. So much so that we vacationed in Savannah, Georgia to see the places written about in the book.
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Great mystery in Savannah, lots of eccentrics, excitement, and thrills. I read it straight in 2 days. You will too.
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This was a fantastic read. You get a great feel for Savanah and you forget that you are reading non-fiction with every page!
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Enjoyed it the second time. A good look at a Southern town and the characters who reside there.
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I loved this book! I've read this and the other book by Berendt and I have been impressed both times. If you love the South or a good mystery check this one out.. and bonus.. it's nonfiction!! It's creepy and fun and shocking... never dull.
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If you've ever been to Savannah or wanted to go, this book gives a great history. I really enjoyed it!
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Gorgeous and gripping. I loved this book. I recommended it to several people who also liked it.
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I enjoyed this book from the first word until the last, it is pure poetry. I always want to visit Savanna after reading it!
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Strange, almost schitzophrenic, but a good read.
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This is a spellbinding mystery novel set in Savannah. If you saw the movie, the book is so much better.
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Awesome story!
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good story.
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If you liked the movie, you'll love the book.
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Great book, but the title makes it seem as if it's a horror story, but this is far from the truth.
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I REALLY ENJOYED THIS BOOK. BUT KEPT THINKING IT WAS ABOUT NEW ORLEANS, AND NOT SAVANNAH. I'VE ONLY BEEN TO SAVANNAH ONCE
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Very well written book with interesting characters.
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Read for a book club but was not impressed. To me it was choppy and the homosexual undertones got old quick. Had it's interesting moments but could have been better. Very loosely based on true characters.
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Great read.
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Much better than the movie
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strange book....not sure I liked it.
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a suspense thriller that was made into a movie.
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Pretty interesting. Writer go to Savannah to write about the people and culture
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What actually happened on May 2, 1981 in Savannah? Was the murder actually self-defense?
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Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty, early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.
It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the uproariously funny black drad queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight. These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everone knows everyone else.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story is a sublime and seductive reading experience. Brilliantly concieved and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city is certain to become a modern classic.
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Supposed to be an excellent book