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Book Review: If I Did It - Confessions Of The Killer By The Goldman Family - Articles Surfing
Yes folks, it's the long awaited OJ Simpson confession book! Except that in OJ's mind it was anything but, he claims it is a fictional account of how we would have done it, if he had done it! I have lots of problems with this book, not least of which is what was going through his sick and twisted mind to want to write the book in the first place. If you are innocent this book makes no sense. And if you are guilty, it makes even less sense, unless you are trying to confess and clear the air. But he plainly says, time and time again that it is fiction.
The good news is that through the intervention of Fred and Kim Goldman OJ Simpson will not see one dime of profits from its sale. The not so good news is that OJ did manage to get the almost $700,000 in advances before the project became public.
Really it is the story behind the book that makes better reading than the book itself. When the Goldman family heard that OJ Simpson was having a book written they moved into high gear to prevent its publication and his ability to profit from the misery. In the 13 years following the guilty verdict Simpson has paid exactly nothing of the money awarded to the Goldman's. He relocated to Florida to avoid the pesky Californian judgment, and spends a happy life playing golf and who knows what else. The award was somewhere in the 18 million dollar range, with interest that now amount has more than doubled, one report puts it at 39 million dollars.
With ammunition like that the courts sided with the Goldman's and gave them the rights to the book. Unfortunately there were strings attached, a bankruptcy was involved. And after much soul searching they realized that although they had won, the win came at the great price of now having to publish the book.
The end result, is a book that I am sure OJ hates! Yes his material is included in its unchanged entirety, however it it preceded by some commentary by Fred Goldman, and the actual Ghostwriter Pablo Fenjves. The book is ended by a chapter written by Dominick Dunne.
Let's take these sections one by one. Fred Goldman explains at length the problems and frustrations his family felt when it became public knowledge that OJ Simpson was planning a tell all book. One article I read claimed that this section was 'under edited,' that might be true, but it is also written from the heart. And I will take that every time over the sterile grammatical style favored by many large publishing houses. It worked for me and set the scene well.
The most damning testimony to the guilt and obvious truth to the 'hypothetical version of events' comes from Ghostwriter Pablo Fenjves. In a matter of just 20 pages Pablo tells a very interesting side of OJ Simpson. Although I had no doubt of his guilt from the time of the actual 1993 events, Pablo makes a case that is so strong event Judge Ito and that half wit jury would have found OJ guilty.
Next up, is the OJ Simpson text. Pretty much it is a self serving and nauseating piece of garbage. He explains at great length what a nice guy he is, and what a bad person Nicole Brown was. The one chapter of interest is the one detailing the events of the fateful night. With the exception of the 'second man,' it likely is one of the few factual parts of the entire manuscript.
The final chapter is written by Dominick Dunne. Dominick covered the original trial for Vanity Fair, and became a close friend of the Goldman's as a result. His is an interesting story, he too lost a child at the hands of a murderer, his daughter was killed, and the killer walked free after only 2 * years behind bars. Needless to say he does not have any sympathy for Mr. Simpson. Dominick does a good job of summarizing the book, and while maybe not adding anything new, provides the reader with an eloquent essay.
So the question you are asking yourself right now is 'Should I buy this book?' Well a great work of literature it is not, but that does not mean that it is not a 'must read' book. I am glad that 'If I Did It' has been published, and I am happy that I managed to get a copy. It is compulsive reading, and I recommend it wholeheartedly.
I am working on an interview with Kim and Fred Goldman, and I think that will be an illuminating event. My advice, go get a copy and read it, it is widely available in bookstores and also through Amazon.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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