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Very Much a Lady: The Untold Story of Jean Harris and Dr. Herman Tarnower Paperback – February 21, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
It is Jean Harris' motive in killing Dr. Tarnower that interests these two writers. Jean Harris was neither psychotic nor particularly violent. In some ways, she seemed the classic example of the woman wronged. In other ways, she seemed the classic example of the 1950s woman coping uneasily and unsuccessfully in the changed world of the 1980s and in still other ways, she seemed the eternal victim of circumstance.
Both writers agree that the punishment did not fit the crime. Mrs. Harris did not intend to kill Dr. Tarnower and in law, intent does matter. Shana Alexander spends more time than Diana Trilling in exploring the mistakes made by the defense (such as their refusal to plead to a lesser charge), and she is more critical of the prosecution. Both writers, however, are primarily interested in Jean Harris' character. Their differing approaches regarding the latter are at the heart of these similar, yet ultimately distinct, books.
Shana Alexander is an objective partisan. She is honest about Jean Harris' flaws, but it is clear both from her tone and the accumulation of biographical information that she considers Jean Harris not as a victim but as a basically sane and not unlikable human being pushed beyond her limits by her culture, her background, her medical history and her own psychology. She doesn't exculpate Jean Harris but neither does she condemn her.
Diana Trilling, on the other hand, is far less partisan and far more critical. She sees in Jean Harris a woman who sacrificed her intellectual integrity for a sordid affair. She is disgusted by Mrs.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very well written book about a very old crime. Quite well written and well edited. The story was easy to followPublished 2 months ago by Happygoddess
The book overall is okay. However, I have hatred for Mrs. Harris. She divorced James Harris, a good husband and good man for a bad boy and playboy. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Raphael
The thing that I was NOT pleased by was the physical condition. I suppose I should have read the description more closely.Published 7 months ago by A. Williams
I remember when the Tarnower murder happened, and was always curious just what the real story was. This book tells the tale well. Read morePublished on December 31, 2013 by CL
I think this book is considered to be the definitive story of Jean Harris and Herman Tarnower. It certainly captures and holds your attention and is as generous and sympathetic an... Read morePublished on December 23, 2013 by Collar Wilson
As I went to Jean Harris's high school, she remains in the back of my mind for a variety of reasons. Read morePublished on September 30, 2013 by MortensOrchid
Ms Alexander shares a very comprehensive and empathetic look at one of the most sensational cases of the early 1980s. Read morePublished on May 27, 2013 by DMS
Shana Alexander did an outstanding job telling the story of how Jean Harris, a remarkably accomplished woman, came to be incarcerated for the muder of her lover, Dr. Read morePublished on May 7, 2013 by Chelsea Girl