The book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was written by John Berendt and was 388 pages long. This was a non-fiction story of the beautiful town of Savannah, Georgia. John Berendt was a reporter who lived in New York and one night while dinning out he realized that one plate of food cost him the same amount of money that it would to fly to Savannah. So he did and he found himself in love with the city and stayed.
It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: a fading belle who packs a pistol in her dcolletage; a charming, piano-playing con man who moves like a hermit crab from one empty showplace ouse to the next, accompanied by his high-living entourage and pursued closely by his creditors; a moneyed dowager who conducts business from a cruising Mercedes limousine; a sour alcoholic inventor who claims to own a vial of poison so powerful that it could kill off the entire city; a voodoo priestess in purple shades; and a foul-mouthed black drag queen who passes so convincingly for a woman that she is able to extort abortion money from the parents of her white boyfriend. With these and other people from savannah, Berendt reviles his alliances and enemies in the town where everybody knows everybody else. The exciting colorful town of Savannah is said to be the main character in this Novel, but the main character was actually John Berendt, he was the narrator and main character.
He was a reporter from New York who made savannah and the people in Savannah his interest, his home, and his life. He learned all about this secluded city through observation, meetings, and gossip.
He was an intelligent man who always knew where to be at the right time. There was this one scene in the book where he was having an interview with Jim Williams when Danny Hansford walked in, in a tirade, with a shirt on that said F-U on it. Well earlier that day his other friend Joe Oldem had been talking about this strange man who woke up in his bed with that same thing printed on his shirt. John was in the right place at the right time to put two and two together. Jim Williams was the other major character in this book, he was an antique dealer who owned one of the nicest homes in Savannah. He was a major player in the restoring of the city. He would buy the homes, restore them, then sell them.
He didnt get much credit for his work but it didnt let it bother him. He was very rich and let everyone know it by living like it. He hosted the grande arty of the year. It was the social event that everyone prayed to get invited to. Jim was a smart man who didnt care what people thought of him and spoke his mind through his actions. There was a scene where he was telling about a time that a movie was being shot right in front of his home and the camera crew were being very rude. so he asked them to leave and when them didnt he took a Nazi flag out side and hung it over the side of his house to ruin their shot, it was a part in the book I found extremely funny.
Another character in this novel was Joe Oldem, he was a piano playing con-artist who oved in and out of vacant homes that were for sale. He had a charm about him that always had people trusting him. He was broke but didnt let anyone know it by all of the checks he wrote. The checks of course always bounced and he would have to appear in court to keep from going to jail, his charm of course always got him out of things. His girlfriend Mandy was also another interesting character in this book, she was a strange but funny women who you couldnt help but like. She was the winner or the Big Beautiful Women of America Pageant and was kinda crazy when it came to driving. She would do her makeup, hair, nails, and watch tv all while she was driving.
How did she do it, she drove with her knees, yes her knees. I liked Joe and Mandys characters cause they really showed what the real people of Savannah were like, not the rich ones, not the poor ones but the real ones, the ones that you most likely would run into if you visited Savannah. Then their was Lady Chablis, she was a drag-queen who wouldnt ever let anyone not know what she was thinking. She was the trash talker of the town. She was a famous stripper who mouth was the star of her show. She would get estrogen injections to ppear more like a women, they worked so well that the parents of her white boyfriend believed she need an abortion and payed her and her boyfriend for it.
I liked her character cause she always brought laughter to the book when it was needed. Then their was Danny Hansford, he was the towns walking streak of sex. He was an employee and rumored lover of Jim Williams. He had a bad-ass attitude and drove around town in his fast car squealing his tires and acting like the king of the road. He was really lonely inside and talked about death to Jim a lot. He tried to kill Jim and himself but Jim killed him first. His character was necessary for the book because his death is what the book was actually about, but I didnt like him, if I meet him in real life hes someone I probably wouldnt acquaintance with.
The story took place in the beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares: Savannah, Georgia. The time period was sometime in the late 1980’s. The part in the book were Jim was describing the murder of Danny would make a good scene for a movie preview. It was late at night and Danny and Jim were arriving home from a violent movie at the drive-in that Jim didnt care to see the rest of. Jim suggested that the 2 of them play some video games and board games before going to bed and Danny agreed. Danny and Jim stared to play when Danny got very angry at the game, he threw the remote and cursed at the game, Jim left the room and went into his office. He could hear things breaking and Dannys temper get out of control.
Just when he heard things calm down Danny raged through the door and told jim I am leaving tomorrow, you on the other hand are leaving tonight and fired 3 shots at him and missed, Jim then took a gun out of his door and shot and killed Danny. This scene was what the story line of the book was about. It was very dramatic and would draw the crowd into the book. The theme of this book was mostly friendship. Friendship was a huge in the book. John meets a lot of interesting people in his journey that become close friends to him and wouldnt have made the book what it was with out them. There was also a couple of other themes in the book, too, there was a strong theme of race and religion. The separation between the rich white people and the poor black people was very stated.
I liked the book a lot, I was very drawn in to it because of the people and the town. It was well written and well explained for it being a true story. It can sometimes be hard to put detail and in to a true story but John Breendt did a good job at it. The strongest features of the book was the way he described the people and the city as being one, The weakest part of the book was that the actually story of the murder didnt start until the second part of the book. If I was the author I would probably incorporate more of the murder story line into the first part of the book and introduce the characters throughout the whole book not just the first part ( the book was separated into a part 1 and part 2).
The ending of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was very satisfactory, Jim was ound not guilty of Danny Hansfordss death. Jim threw his first Christmas party of the year for the first time in 8 years, where he found himself remaking the guest list. Then at the very end he died, I believe that it was ideal for him to die, it was uncanny though that he died in the same place that he would of died 8 years ago if Danny had shot and killed him like he intended too. After Jims death Savannah was still the same. It was growing inward away from the real world, living in its own. The book starts with the town and ends with the town and I found that to be very satisfactory.