Reading Challenge: Book Review #6

So this one time when I lived in Chicago, my girlfriends & I decided we were going to start a book club. We met at this adorable coffee house not far from my apartment to discuss our first book, Eat Pray Love. I remember leaving that night so excited because I'd always wanted to be part of a book club & the first meeting was so fun! We decided our next book was going to be Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. I knew it was about Chicago during an era that seemed fascinating to me.  I went out, bought the book & then we never set a date for our next meeting & the club died.  The book sat on my shelf for another 6ish months untouched.  Then I moved downtown & the book traveled with me & sat on my shelf, neglected, for the next 2 years.  Then I moved to LA & lived in 3 different places, & the book continued to travel with me, unread. Finally, when this challenge presented itself I KNEW this book was finally going to get the attention it deserved & here we are. It only took 8 years. Nonetheless, when I posted on Instagram (Raalph120, follow me!) that I was finally diving in, I got a pretty decent amount of responses & the reviews were completely mixed. Some loved the book, other's hated it. Some only read certain chapters...I was super intrigued to see where I fell on the spectrum. And after the week I spent reading it, I still have no idea if I liked this book or not.  Before I get into my thoughts, read the summary that I inevitably stole from goodreads. Then we discuss.
Book Summary
Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that 'The Devil in the White City' is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.

Burnham's challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair's incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison.

The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World's Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.
Let's Discuss...
OK, there were definitely some very fascinating parts of the book surrounding the fair. Many important historical figures do make appearances (as noted in the summary, but missing one of my favorites, Helen Keller) & that in itself kept me hooked. I also found the chapters on serial killer H. H. Holmes, were way more interesting...but I'm not silly enough to think the book could survive just on his twisted story.  Learning about the construction of the fair was at times SO tedious & boring, but at other times very engaging.  I don't know if it was just me, but I also struggled to read more than 30 pages at a time. Soo is that a sign I was bored? I don't know. Once I was about half-way through I did find myself eager to keep reading...but was it because I liked the book or was it because I just wanted to finish it? Again, I don't know. The stories surrounding the fair are crazy & at times, I definitely had to keep checking that this book was in fact non-fiction. So, that alone, I say read it & judge for yourself!
Have you read this book? I'd love to know your thoughts!
Catch up on the other books I've read so far:
Book #2
Book #3
Book #4
Book #5

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