Opening Sentence:Dressed in the street clothes they had given him – a shabby grey suit, it’s baggy pants supported by galluses; a rumpled white shirt, its collar too small to button; an old silk tie that dangled halfway down his chest; and a grotesque, checkered cap that sat on his head like an enormous mushroom – he emerged into the sun-drenched prison yard.
Synopsis: When fourteen-year-old Jesse Pomeroy was arrested in 1874, a nightmarish reign of terror over an unsuspecting city came to an end. “The Boston Boy Fiend” was imprisoned at last. But the complex questions sparked by his ghastly crime spree – the hows and whys of vicious juvenile crime – were as relevant in the so-called Age of Innocence as they are today.
Jesse Pomeroy was outwardly repellent in appearance, with a gruesome “dead” eye; inside, he was deformed beyond imagining. A sexual sadist of disturbing precocity, he satisfied his atrocious appetites by abducting and torturing his child victims. But soon, the teenagers blood lust gave way to another obsession: murder.
Comments:I found this book both chilling and interesting. I will start by saying that I would not recommend this to people who have a weak stomach, as some of the crimes are described in gruesome detail. There were times when even I had to put the book down for a time and return to it later. It is interesting that, despite people’s complaints about violence in today’s youth, America’s youngest serial killer appeared in the nineteenth century. I was amused to note that the furor about the negative influence of the media is by no means a modern phenomenon. These days, it is violent movies and video games. Back then it was the Penny Papers. If there is any lesson we can take from this book it is this: that, while the media may expand a persons repertoire of possible methods, the innate ability and desire to commit terrible acts upon their fellow human beings must already be there.