Truth versus fiction in this book?

Discuss the July 2015 book of the month, The Wicked Wives: A Novel Based on a True Story by Gus Pelagatti.
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Truth versus fiction in this book?

Post by zeldas_lullaby » 03 Jul 2015, 21:35

How much do you think really happened, versus how much do you think was made up or embellished?

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Post by Fran » 04 Jul 2015, 07:02

That is probably the biggest problem I had with this book. I felt the author didn't think a book based exclusively on the "facts", of what was an extraordinary story, would not be sufficient to sell the story and even the title, I suggest, was picked to imply a seedy 50 Shades type book and much of the content was included for exactly the same reason.
But that's just my opinion and I'm sure many will disagree with me. :doh:
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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 04 Jul 2015, 10:29

No, I agree with you, Fran. This book is incredibly salacious. I mean, all the smutty stuff in here can't possibly be on record. It almost seems like the author's imagination got the better of him. This book would definitely not be publishable as "true crime." (I don't say that with much authority, since I've read practically no true crime.)

I think the only difference is that you are (very rightfully so) offended by these women's scandalous encounters, whereas I'm just sitting here saying, "What the heck? Seriously?" And laughing about it. But I can (genuinely) see how this book could offend. I really don't think it's just you!

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Post by bookowlie » 04 Jul 2015, 11:04

I agree with Zeldas_lullaby. I found many of the scandalous encounters humorous, rather than overly salacious.
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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 04 Jul 2015, 11:08

I can see it from either perspective. But yeah, they emit laughter from me. "Like, seriously? Good grief, wives!"

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Post by Fran » 04 Jul 2015, 13:28

zeldas_lullaby wrote:No, I agree with you, Fran. This book is incredibly salacious. I mean, all the smutty stuff in here can't possibly be on record. It almost seems like the author's imagination got the better of him. This book would definitely not be publishable as "true crime." (I don't say that with much authority, since I've read practically no true crime.)

I think the only difference is that you are (very rightfully so) offended by these women's scandalous encounters, whereas I'm just sitting here saying, "What the heck? Seriously?" And laughing about it. But I can (genuinely) see how this book could offend. I really don't think it's just you!
@zeldas_lullaby
I wouldn't say I was offended more a case of feeling somewhat cheated as I felt both the title and the content was misleading and I do not like feeling that I have been manipulated by an author. As you rightly point out some of the content the author could not possibly know so it is clearly fictionalised and IMO deliberatly and unnecessarly salacious.
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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 04 Jul 2015, 14:08

Yeah, that makes sense. Well, let's see... he says on the cover that it's "a novel based on a true story," If you look at the back blurb, the first three paragraphs do read like it's a trial procedural, like Law & Order, or something. But then the very last paragraph mentions the word lust.

Yeah, looking at the evidence there, it does seem misleading. I've been told that the second half of the book is the courtroom part, but I haven't made it that far yet. All the same, it does seem weird to me. I would probably, if I were the author, have maybe marketed it a little bit differently or written a different back-cover blurb. It does seem advertized as a true crime type book, but it reads like something else entirely.

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Post by bookowlie » 04 Jul 2015, 17:12

Fran wrote:
zeldas_lullaby wrote:No, I agree with you, Fran. This book is incredibly salacious. I mean, all the smutty stuff in here can't possibly be on record. It almost seems like the author's imagination got the better of him. This book would definitely not be publishable as "true crime." (I don't say that with much authority, since I've read practically no true crime.)

I think the only difference is that you are (very rightfully so) offended by these women's scandalous encounters, whereas I'm just sitting here saying, "What the heck? Seriously?" And laughing about it. But I can (genuinely) see how this book could offend. I really don't think it's just you!
@zeldas_lullaby
I wouldn't say I was offended more a case of feeling somewhat cheated as I felt both the title and the content was misleading and I do not like feeling that I have been manipulated by an author. As you rightly point out some of the content the author could not possibly know so it is clearly fictionalised and IMO deliberatly and unnecessarly salacious.
Fran, I agree with you that the title is misleading, although I don't think the author's choice of title was meant to be sexually enticing. I thought the word "wicked" was chosen to mean "evil". I do agree that the title was not the best choice, since it reminded me of a cheesy reality show about wives.

The salacious passages may have been based on court documents. There were many trials from the Philadelphia Poison Scandal and there were witnesses and defendants who testified. I can't say whether the book's sexual passages were completely fabricated. For the record, erotica and cheesy affairs in books are not my cup of tea. However, I thought the sexual passages in this story highlighted the wives' amoral,evil personalities. Personally, I was more focused on the way the Assistant District Attorney put the pieces together of the conspiracy. It's interesting that readers view a story in different ways.
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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 04 Jul 2015, 20:19

It is indeed interesting. I also want to chime in that the author, being self-published, probably struggled with how to present his book, regarding the cover, the blurb, the genre, etc. I can attest that I struggle with those issues. So the author might not have meant to be misleading.

Actually, the whole book reminds me of a good episode of 48 Hours Mystery.

Interesting point about "wicked." I swear, these wives were wicked in more ways than one.

If their sexcapades really were in the record somewhere, then wow. Paperwork just go so much more interesting.

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Post by Momlovesbooks » 28 Jul 2015, 07:48

I agree with many of the comments being posted. I picked up this book thinking it would be more of a true story, but find things that couldn't really be known by the author. I haven't finished reading this book, so maybe more of the "true life" events come towards the end. However, I feel slightly misled by the classification of this book.

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Post by bookowlie » 28 Jul 2015, 11:46

Momlovesbooks wrote:I agree with many of the comments being posted. I picked up this book thinking it would be more of a true story, but find things that couldn't really be known by the author. I haven't finished reading this book, so maybe more of the "true life" events come towards the end. However, I feel slightly misled by the classification of this book.
I am a little confusing. The book is classified in the Historical Fiction genre. Although it is based on a true story, it is still classified as fiction.
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Post by Momlovesbooks » 28 Jul 2015, 12:18

Guess I was just confused! But anyway, I'll finish reading the book and see what my overall opinion is. The review made me want to read it!

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Post by bookowlie » 31 Jul 2015, 12:24

bookowlie wrote:
Momlovesbooks wrote:I agree with many of the comments being posted. I picked up this book thinking it would be more of a true story, but find things that couldn't really be known by the author. I haven't finished reading this book, so maybe more of the "true life" events come towards the end. However, I feel slightly misled by the classification of this book.
I am a little confusing. The book is classified in the Historical Fiction genre. Although it is based on a true story, it is still classified as fiction.
Oops, I meant to type "I am a little confused"!
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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 31 Jul 2015, 13:41

HA HA HA! Hey, it works either way. ;-)

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Post by Katherine E Wall » 07 Aug 2015, 23:26

I know I am late to the party, here, but I found the credibility lacking. I know it is fiction, but whatever world we build, we need to make it ring with truth, and this, for me, at least, did not carry its weight. It was interesting, but I think it would have been more interesting with a bit less emphasis on the sexual escapades.

Mind you, I can see how this would be a strong selling point in today's market.

With historical fiction based on true events, I do like when the author provides a bit of info into the research process. That gives me the opportunity, if I wish, to delve deeper into the whole truth vs fiction aspect. Something I tend to do when a topic interests me. I said in another thread, that I have added it to my list of things I may investigate more some day. Sadly, there are so many topics worth researching, and not nearly enough time. :D
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