Book Report

The worst thing just happened to me. My book ended.

Usually when reading something I fancy, I slow down as the ending comes near. But this time, I wanted to know what happened. Great fiction is not finding out what happened, it’s about stirring up emotions, seeing the parallels in one’s own life. Whereas non-fiction is about the facts. A great storyteller laces the facts with mood, to make you feel that you’re just one step away from experiencing the same situation in your own life.

Not that I’m expecting a wife to kill me, but do you ever know exactly what goes on in another person’s head?

Sorry about revealing that plot point. But really, who’s responsible is the least of the book’s titillations. And, finishing, one wonders what is the truth?

But the truth of the act pales against the truth of these people.

Bill Kissel made a fortune in the toner business. A middle class fortune. Not a Sun Valley/Bohemian Club fortune. He was all about winning, driving his kids to not only excel, but exceed! Happiness is secondary to cash, to world dominance. Money buys you everything that you need, everything that counts.

Robert and Andrew Kissel were the Goofus and Gander of "Highlights". Except Robert’s Gander had a competitive edge that couldn’t be masked. This competitiveness cost him a partnership at Goldman Sachs, the Universal Music of the investment banking world. But he still made beaucoup bucks. Continuing on at Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong.

They say Hong Kong is all about the shopping. If you have to ask the price, maybe you’re a little pisher, not a he-man of the universe. Nancy Kissel did not have to ask the price. Shopping was a sport. She lived the dream that the tabloids say everyone in America desires. The Mercedes, the designer clothes, the privilege. But it didn’t make her happy. Could she ever be happy? An uneducated child of divorce? Probably not, and she wasn’t happy about it. You know the kind of person who can’t be crossed, who whines, who feels entitled? That was Nancy. The world owed her. And she got her material goods, but she didn’t get attention. No investment banker can give you attention. He’s too busy working ’round the clock to make those double digit millions.

Robert’s brother Andrew was so envious of his sibling’s success that he resorted to subterfuge, outright theft to establish and then maintain his lifestyle. That’s one thing about going over to the dark side. It’s impossible to cross back into the light without denouncing your heinous ways, coming clean. But those on the wrong side of the law always believe they can beat it, that they can escape. Andrew did not. He was murdered in his basement not long after his brother died.

What kind of family does this happen in? Where two brothers are killed?

An American family.

Ultimately, that’s what "Never Enough" is about, family. You’ve got one. That’s why you’ll be riveted.

It’s not the best written book, but the story is A+. Kind of like a great record. Doesn’t matter what it sounds like so much as how good the underlying material is. If you’ve got a great song, anybody can record it, anybody can have a hit with it.

Joe McGinniss has latched on to a great story. One that made the papers but jumps off the page when he writes it.

Great entertainment draws you in, enraptures then captures you, you don’t want to let it go. Movies used to be like this. But I haven’t seen one like that in a long long time. Great records were even better. Because if one was good, you believed the artist had many more albums in him, and you had years of new material to look forward to. That was before the album itself sucked and you only wanted the single.

The first half of "Never Enough" will take you to a creepy space that you want to escape, but can’t help being drawn into. The second half is slightly disappointing, but still cuts like butter.

Pick this up. It’s best read at night, when you can feel the spirits surrounding you, but anytime is okay. You won’t want to go to bed, you won’t want to go to work, you’ll just want to immerse yourself in the story, fascinated by the delineation of the human condition.

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