Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Catch Me if You Can

Reading Catch Me if You Can was probably even more fun than watching the movie (and isn't the book always better than the movie?).  Frank Abagnale Jr. is a charming character, although, at the same time, he's the sort you would really love to hate.  But somehow, the man who comes across on the pages isn't really worthy of hate.  He's a fun-loving guy who seemingly struck on a scheme that worked, and then just ran with it.  That just sounds like the great American dream, really.

While reading the book, I couldn't help but think "how gullible" over and over, but then again, I believe that it probably really is that easy to cheat people, if you go about it with a little panache.  Most people are basically fairly trusting — or at least, don't believe anyone would try to pull something so audacious over on the rest of us.  And it is that sense of security in the minds of those around him that helped Abagnale become such a successful thief.

The life Abagnale led seems quite appealing, the way it is presented in the book.  I believe there must be a whole lot of poetic license involved, as I cannot believe it was quite so easy, or quite so outlandish as presented in the book.  But then again, I do believe that the true story of his life must have been pretty out there all the same.

Reading about Abagnale's life — how he posed as a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, a promotional director, and  even an FBI man — makes me think of just how easy it is for us to convince others of the roles we want to play.  If you want to live the life, then just walk the walk and talk the talk.  Whether you actually do the job you say you do is entirely another matter.

That all seems so incredible, and yet, the book claims to be based on a true story.  Apparently it really is that easy to pull the wool over people's eyes.

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