Official Review: The Making Of A Con by Grace Larson

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Official Review: The Making Of A Con by Grace Larson

Post by kislany » 19 Jan 2018, 13:56

[Following is an official review of "The Making Of A Con" by Grace Larson.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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The Making of a Con by Grace Larson is the biography of an inmate, Edwin Grant Hamilton (also called Pappy), who has spent more years behind bars than out of it. In the opening scene, we are witnesses to a 911 phone call during which someone is seemingly murdered. Next, the scene shifts to the author’s interview with Hamilton, comprised of a set of meetings that would spark the creation of this book. Hamilton himself wanted his tale told in the hopes that other people, especially those with alcohol problems, would learn from it and avoid a life of needless hurt. The story is told in the first-person point of view.

Hamilton started out as a young, innocent and naïve man who, after his father was murdered, was sent to live with his grandparents, as his mother didn’t want to raise him. Soon, he became an alcoholic without even realizing he was one. At the age of 17, he joined the National Guard and eventually was sent to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii during WWII, where trouble followed him. When he played a prank on a colonel by stealing his clothes while he was swimming, Hamilton ended up being court-martialed, got a Dishonorable Discharge and three years in prison. As the story went on, his trials and tribulations continued, as he never managed to stay for too long out of prison. It was enlightening to see him change from a guileless young man to a rather hardened criminal. His crimes were becoming more serious as well, culminating in him murdering his mother during that fateful night mentioned at the beginning of the book.

I found the biography interesting and captivating, but it also made me quite sad. Here was a capable, intelligent young man living a life that he was ill-prepared for. By the end of the book, it was clear that Hamilton was more suited for living in prison than outside in the real world. He just couldn’t cope as he didn’t know how. I am usually not sorry for criminals because there is a reason they are behind bars, however, I was sorry for Hamilton from the first page to the very last. Justice failed him miserably. Of course, this doesn’t mean he was blameless. He was an alcoholic which caused him to do things that he wouldn’t do when sober.

At some point, I had an eerie feeling that I was reading Kafka’s The Trial. The reasons for him getting from one prison to the next were often rather absurd and didn’t warrant such harsh punishments. For example, when he stole some money from a bar counter, the police wanted him to confess to twenty-two counts of armed robbery when he was clearly innocent of those charges. Of course, he went to prison once again.

The title, The Making of a Con, is very apt for this book. Grant Hamilton was, indeed, pushed to be a criminal. While reading it, I experienced quite a few emotions ranging from sadness to anger and disappointment with life in general at how cruel it can be at times.

The story was well written, and I was hooked from the beginning. However, I found several spelling errors, such as “When I came too I couldn’t talk” or “concerning grugs and alcohol.” Due to these issues, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading The Making of a Con, and I can easily recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the penitentiary system or is interested in true crime.

The Making Of A Con
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Post by HarmaniG12 » 22 Jan 2018, 03:49

Like Kislany's review

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Post by kandscreeley » 22 Jan 2018, 08:13

You know, I'm absolutely sure that there are criminals behind bars that we do a great disservice to. Yes they deserve to be there, but the prison system DOESN'T prepare them to live in the outside world. It is sad. This definitely sounds like one of those times. Thanks for the review.
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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 22 Jan 2018, 09:41

Wow, this book just kicked-the-bucket! Amazing! We cannot give points for creativity, I mean how can you give marks for wrighting the truth. But this book is certainly a great biography, certainly worth putting it into the shelf. Thank you!
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Post by Cotwani » 23 Jan 2018, 13:56

It is sad that the system failed Hamilton and he suffered 'needless hurt.' His biography can make a good movie. Thanks for the insightful review.

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Post by Darakhshan Nazir » 23 Jan 2018, 23:34

It seems quite depressing to me, how we witness him transform into a criminal .
Great review though!
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Post by Eva Darrington » 24 Jan 2018, 01:37

Thanks for the great review. I am interested in the criminal justice system, and how addiction affects crime. I hope to read this book at some point. From your review, it sounds worthy.
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Post by MsTri » 24 Jan 2018, 14:57

I'm not usually into biographies, but this one certainly seems like an exception, as I am very fascinated by criminals and what makes them tick. I often look at people like Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, etc. and wonder how they go from cute li'l babies to violent criminals. This sounds like a great look into a criminal mind and it is definitely going on my "Must Read" shelf!

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Post by Hildah Mose » 27 Jan 2018, 10:16

I already feel sad for Hamilton. I know if he could have been raised on different settings he could not have been so unlucky and end up turning into a criminal. I think his biography can help many young people avoid alcohol and committing petty crimes that spoil their lives for good. Thanks for the wonderful review.

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Post by Rosemary Wright » 28 Jan 2018, 02:10

Thorough review. I pity Hamilton. What else can I say, we are responsible for our choices. I'm glad this book is available to enlighten others about the destructive consequences of taking excess alcohol.

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Post by N_R » 28 Jan 2018, 04:04

This sounds like a great book to read, thanks for the review. I think that we sometimes forget that all criminals had a life/childhood before they commit horrendous acts and we can only think about the harm that they have done. A lot of them has had harm done to them too. Not saying that it makes it right, but it is something to acknowledge.

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Post by Hephzi Lolami » 29 Jan 2018, 16:13

Though I am a sucker at listening to other people's story because of how detailed they usually are, this one caught my attention from the beginning and throughout. I feel sad for Hamilton who lost his dad at a young age and didn't receive love every child deserves from their mom. Wo many Hamilton's are out there today, it's a pity. This was a great review. Thanks for sharing it.

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Post by Maggie G » 30 Jan 2018, 17:58

I’m torn—memoir and biography is one of my favorite genres, but this one sounds so sad!

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Post by KamalK » 06 Feb 2018, 03:44

I like reading books about conmen and criminals. Part of the psychology explained makes these things intriguing to me. That's the kind of life we can get to know through such books.

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Post by stoppoppingtheP » 06 Feb 2018, 06:56

I recently watched White Collar, which is also about a con man -Neal Caffrey. This made me interested to read this review. Thanks for the good review.

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