Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Foxcatcher: The True Story of My Brother's Murder, John du Pont's Madness, and the Quest for Olympic Gold - Mark Schultz, David Thomas

Summary: The riveting true story of Olympic wrestling gold medal-winning brothers Mark Schultz and Dave Schultz and their fatal relationship with the eccentric John du Pont, heir to the du Pont dynasty 

On January 26, 1996, Dave Schultz, Olympic gold medal winner and wrestling golden boy, was shot three times by du Pont family heir John E. du Pont at the famed Foxcatcher Farms estate in Pennsylvania. Following the murder there was a tense standoff when du Pont barricaded himself in his home for two days before he was finally captured.

Foxcatcher is gold medal winner Mark Schultz’s memoir, revealing what made him and his brother champion and what brought them to Foxcatcher Farms. It’s a vivid portrait of the complex relationship he and his brother had with du Pont, a man whose catastrophic break from reality led to tragedy. No one knows the inside story of what went on behind the scenes at Foxcatcher Farms—and inside John du Pont’s head—better than Mark Schultz.

The incredible true story of these championship-winning brothers and the wealthiest convicted murderer of all time will be making headlines this fall, and Mark’s memoir will reveal the true inside story.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review:This book was not what I expected. When I read the blurb, I expected it to be a lot of info about John du Pont. How he was crazy. How the trial went. The nitty gritty, ya know. Because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love juicy details about real-life crazy people?

This book was not that.

This is not to say that Foxcatcher didn’t have its fair share of describing the craziness of John du Pont. There was plenty of evidence for that for sure. However, the way it was built up (and the way it looked, frankly) was like it was going to be this really heart-wrenching story that had adapted easily to the movie and would leave us all in tears. It was not that, however.

Not to say that this wasn’t a sad book or that didn’t have plenty of room for sorrow. It did. It was just misleading.

I would say that the most accurate description of this book would be that it is a wrestling memoir of Mark Schultz. Now, to be fair, Schultz is a legit wrestler. He is an Olympic gold medalist, two-time World Champion, three-time NCAA champion, and seven-time national champion. He has also coached at many prestigious places and done a lot for the wrestling world. It’s just that a wrestling memoir is not what this book claimed to be. But it was. The first 1/3 of it, actually, deals almost exclusively with that. There is actually a section—I kid you not—which reads like the famous shrimp reciting by Bubba Gump in “Forrest Gump,” only it involved wrestling moves instead of ways to cook shrimp. So, ya know, that was not really my kind of thing. Also, I think that this book was more of a cathartic release of anger and animosity than anything. Schultz obviously thinks du Pont is completely crazy, and spends a lot of time describing different behaviors that obviously show evidence of this. However, a lot of the book is just his memoir and the hard things in his life. He’s encountered a lot of adversity (both real and perceived) and so I’m just hoping that by writing this book he was able to be a little bit at peace, because it is obvious that it was torturing him in so many ways.

Also, this book was not well written. It’s written pretty much like you would expect a wrestler to write.  A wrestler with an education, but still. A wrestler. So don’t be expecting anything spectacular if you choose to read this book.

I wouldn’t suggest reading this book if you’re looking for an extensive and journalistic look at the du Pont trial and John du Pont. A lot of this is glazed over in the book, and I think it’s because Schultz just couldn’t face it. If you love wrestling and know who Mark Schultz is (because, like I said, he’s legit) then you should definitely read this memoir.

My Rating: 2.5 stars.

For the sensitive reader: There wasn’t a lot of sex or explicit violence, but there is a murder and quite a bit of discussion of drug use.

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