Catch Me if you Can, by Stan Redding

2012 Book 21: Catch Me if you Can, by Stan Redding (2/1/2012)

This is the autobiography of Frank Abagnale, Jr. a con-man and counterfeiter who made millions passing fraudulent checks all around the world and, meanwhile, posed successfully as a Pan Am pilot, a pediatrician, and a lawyer. I enjoyed the movie based on this book so I hoped the book would be better. Although the book certainly provided more information about the scams and how he got away with it, Abagnale himself was much less charming in the book. He was too much of a womanizer and a…well…con-man. Emotions weren’t expressed (other than relief at escaping one or another of his women), making it difficult to empathize with him. Also, the adult Abagnale (who took part in writing the book) didn’t seem to feel much remorse about his activities. He rationalized: “I never conned a square John out of money,” but ignores the emotional strain that he must have put on many of his victims. Also, I am a little skeptical of the “true” part of this “true crime” story. I believe that the basic idea is true, but there were just too many convenient coincidences for his story to be entirely accurate. He must have taken bits and pieces of different escapades and pasted them together into a unified story, and over-emphasized his own cleverness. Clearly, he’s a genius, but I still would have liked a little more “oops, that was stupid” in his story. It would have humanized him. Not even a genius can be clever all the time! 3/5 stars