Before a recent trip to Savannah, Georgia, I was asked the same question each time I mentioned the city: “Have you read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil?” I wondered why so many people found this book to be synonymous with Savannah and decided I’d better check it out.
The author, John Berendt, explains how he came to Savannah on a whim in the 1980s and became fascinated with the city and people he met. He recounts the decade-long murder trial of wealthy antique dealer Jim Williams, weaving the lives of his circle of friends and enemies into the storyline. It’s easy to forget that the book is based on actual events as the eccentric characters blend with a suspenseful murder mystery and make it read like fiction.
Berendt includes interesting facts about the city’s history, giving insight into modern Savannah where the book has a noticeable presence in the city. It is referenced at almost every tourist attraction. Additionally Mercer House, former residence of Jim Williams, has been transformed into a museum and replicas of the “Bird Girl” statue from the book’s cover can be found throughout the city.
So now I get it. If you’re taking a trip to Savannah…this is a must read. And you might want to check it out even if you don’t have a trip planned!
– Kathryn Gosaynie, BWB Aquisitions & Guest Reviewer