The Barefoot Bandit: The True Tale of
Harris-Moore, New American Outlaw by
Bob Friel Colton
Since I’m no fan of true crime (it freaks me out*) and since I disdain books that take the side of the bad guys, there’s no way I’d’ve read this book if it hadn’t been our book club pick.
That having been said, this book actually kinda worked for me.
And here’s why:
First off, Friel is quite a nice writer. He’s a journalist, and I just love the way journalists write books. His tone is conversational, which makes the book’s words just glide easily past one’s eyes.
And despite my concerns that Friel would glorify the Barefoot Bandit, he really doesn’t. He’s clearly somewhat sympathetic, particularly when he learns about the kid’s horrible upbringing (if we can even call it that) by an alcoholic mom. But Friel lives on
, so for him, it
started to feel way more personal because this stuff was happening on his turf.
Orcas was one of the earliest places Colt burgled and pulled some of his Goldilocks/home-invasion
And that’s the part where I started to get ticked.
The guy was breaking into people’s houses and living there while they were out of town. He was sleeping in their beds and eating their cereal!
This really pushes my buttons.
And then, he did even worse things. He stole—and crashed—people’s airplanes.
This is truly Not OK in my worldview.
Sure, yeah, it was amazing that he could fly at all, given his complete lack of flight training. And I empathize with his yearning to fly. But still. I Am Honked Off that that guy ripped off people’s airplanes!
So, yeah. He violated two of the most sacred spaces one can claim: home and aircraft. So I was like, yeah, go capture that guy and Lock.Him.Up.
So they did (the capture actually felt somewhat anti-climactic, despite the fact that it happened onboard a boat in the
), and now he’s in jail
until he turns 26. Again, not very satisfying. Bahamas
OK. So, the book. It started to feel a little bit too long, though I honestly don’t know where to recommend any editing. I think the story just dragged on too long, because the guy evaded capture for so long.
But overall, the story was surprisingly captivating. Back when Colt was Bandit-ing, I didn’t pay too much attention, so most of the story was news to me. And Friel’s writing style is sufficiently engaging that the book was sometimes hard to put down.
For this true-crime-phobic reader, this book’s a success.
* I read this book only during daylight hours, and never after dinner. Not because it’s a scary or freaky book, but because I am just that weirded out about true crime.