...Smith said, "They [The Clutters] never hurt me. Like other people. Like people have all my life. Maybe it's just that the Clutters were the ones who had to pay for it."
This was one of the most outstandingly well thought out and well written books that I have read in a long time. It was also one of the most disturbing.
It covered every aspect of the Clutter murder, from the days prior to the murder to give you a history of the family, to the execution of the death sentence over 5 years later. I think what made this book as important as it was, however, was the fact that it didn't just cover the murders, but the entirety of the impact of the murders.
Truman Capote gave us insight into every aspect of who was affected. The family of the deceased, the families of the murderers, the friends of both, the town, the police who investigated, the judicial system, and the murderers themselves. He was able to write this in such a way that it wasn't sensationalized like so many other true crime novels can be, but it was more of a documentary on everything. You felt like you were in there with him, getting these interviews, and feeling the same feelings you know he must have been.
I do want to say that I had already heard of the Clutter murders and researched a lot of the factual aspects of it prior to reading the book. Because of that, one of the biggest thing that I carried with me as I got to the end, was the feelings of the family of the Clutters and the citizens of Holcomb. Their reaction to finally seeing the people who committed the murders and their subsequent reactions and thoughts toward them and their future. Every bit of the book made me think. Every action, response, quote, etc. made me think about why it happened, how I would have handled it, about my opinions of capital punishment, the psychological aspects and possible implications of the murders. Everything.
That is what this book so outstanding to me. Never once did I consider this a novel just about the murder of a family, instead I saw it as a novel about the full ramifications of a crime that just so happened to be murder.
*I have slowly started some further research about the possibility of some aspects of the book being altered or completely untrue. I need to look into it more, though I doubt that anyone will ever fully know the veracity of this book, especially given that all parties that were directly involved are dead...