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Customer Review

156 of 160 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you liked the movie, you will love the book!, June 10, 2003
By 
This review is from: Catch Me If You Can (Paperback)
I really enjoyed the movie, but I did not believe any of it. How could a 16 year old pull off all these scams posing successfully as an airline pilot, lawyer, doctor, and FBI agent. Only in Hollywood! I had to read the book to uncover the truth. To my amazement, almost nothing in the movie was dramatized. Frank Abagnale did it all. And, this even includes the acrobatic escape from a commercial plane as it lands.

The book depicts a far richer story than the movie. At the start, the family situation is more complex. The scams are more intricate. The career path is more extraordinary. The movie skipped over interesting jobs, including a stint as a college sociology teacher.

Also amazing is that this teenager acquired far more knowledge about the meaning of every single digit on a personal check than any banker I know. And, I know, having been engaged in banking and finance for over two decades.

Frank's character development make the whole story more likely. Frank was not your regular 16 year old dude. At 16, he could easily pass for a fit 25 year old. He was 6 feet tall, 170 pounds. He also acquired quite a real world education by hanging out with his Dad. His Dad exposed him to political, business, and social circles that teenagers do not know. Thus, Frank Abagnale, being a keen observer, learned quickly how adults behave among themselves.

Frank was also strikingly handsome, and confident. So, the story includes many romantic interludes. This aspect of life is described most tastefully. There is nothing graphic here. And, it does not detract from the story. To the contrary, women were a key element in this scammer's education. They were often insiders to the professions he attempted to fake.

There are a lot of close calls, where you feel Abagnale's cover is going to peel off for good. But, invariably he recovers elegantly from what appears like desperate situations.

In the last part of the book things finally go south. But, it is still fascinating. You learn about the awful prison standards and jail terms in France and Italy. You also find out how Sweden treats their own incarcerated people so much better.

In the Afterword & Q & A section, you are relieved that everything turned out well for this likable Robin hood like figure. He now leads a very successful life as a corporate consultant on fraud, happily married with kids. Hard to believe but true.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 9, 2011 12:40:15 AM PDT
Lee says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2011 8:38:41 AM PDT
Abacus says:
Thanks for picking up that typo on the 8th year anniversary of this review.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2011 2:12:54 PM PDT
Lee says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2011 2:35:18 PM PDT
Abacus says:
Wow, spare me the attitude. I have a foreign background. I speak three different languages. And, English is not my first one. So, excuuuuuse me! as Steve Martin would say.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2011 2:38:27 PM PDT
Lee says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 11, 2014 11:50:43 AM PDT
redhead4ever says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Mar 4, 2015 8:47:14 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 4, 2015 8:49:31 AM PST
mike hammer says:
I downloaded this book from my library. I did read it, but did not buy it from Amazon. My Library had this book under Non-Fiction, but as I got into it, I was confused whether it was fiction or Non-Fiction. I went on the Amazon site, and tried to make a comment, but was told I had already made a comment, and therefor could not. Unfortunately, I had never made any comments, and had not finished the book until today (Mar 4, 2015.) Being an Air Force Pilot who flew KC-135's, which is basically a Boeing 707, the bottom of both are so high from the ground that the crew had to enter via a ladder. Jumping from the passenger aircraft, at night, more likely to be moving until reaching the terminal is a fiction, and since it is important to the plot, can hardly be considered anything but a deliberate fiction. I could site other places which are dubious, and apparently some others, including yours, agree with me. As a work of fiction, it was enjoyable. I would not quibble that a real Abernathy exists, but like so many others, including former Air Force Pilots, they tell a lot of fish stories.

Posted on Apr 7, 2015 7:59:30 PM PDT
Rainie says:
This review makes me want to buy the book ~ & if indeed this is a true depiction of the book, this will be a great read.
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