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carole gill

Ooh this hits home with me.
I don't like this sort of writing.
first of all, at best it puts words in people's mouths who are no longer here along with "their" thoughts and emotions too.
Also the case is so recent that it's still raw--the pain is on-going and still being felt by relatives of JonBenet's and so on.
Having said that, I have to say I tend to see less wrong with fictionalizing an old murder case--but the case must be old enough where the victim's family isn't going to be hurt by it.
A case in point?
James Ellroy's the Black Dahlia.
A brilliant work in my mind--but we must also bear in mind Beth Short's sisters and a friend, Mary Pacios are still alive. I read Miss Pacios's book and I felt her hurt with regard to having to correct many untruths concerning the Beth Short she personally knew.
So those are some heavy qualifications to what I just said!
I do think though that a writer of fiction can write a work inspired by real events without in anyway going over the same story at all. In other words, going from beyond the crime or before it.
But in Miss Oate's case I don't think that's what she wanted to do.
Of course a great writer can write with passion and emotion and leave a moving, thought-provoking work behind.
I'd like to thnk that was solely her intention.

Jenny

I find that I also have an easier time with novels about historic crimes than recent ones, and I wonder about Joyce Carol Oates' motivations for writing fictional accounts of real events. I don't think she's necessarily trying to profit from the crime so much as caught up in the same fascination with it that much of the rest of our society feels.
I read Oates' book about the Chappaquiddick incident, Black Water, and after I'd finished the one thought that went through my head was "Why?" Why bother writing such a THINLY disguised account about such an ugly event? It gave a voice to a nonexistent victim since it wasn't "really" about Mary Jo Kopechne.

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