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Madness Under the Royal Palms: Love and Death Behind the Gates of Palm Beach Hardcover – January 20, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
Instead, I found that the book is more of an amusing anthropological study that offered layers of depth and insight into individuals, relationships and social groups. The result is a humorous parable with some heavy moral lessons.
Leamer used multiple sources to build a penetrating character analysis of some of the more notable Palm Beach residents who, as an aggregate, are symbols of the various cliques that define the essence of Palm Beach.
NON-FICTION THAT READS LIKE FICTION
While it's a non fiction work, it has the literary ardor, flow, and the readability of a sticky novel you can't put down. The structure and clever collation of the vignettes is creative; like a movie that presents a montage of time periods in a character's life. As you move through the book, the building of the individual events sculpts the big picture, and lives are viewed through different lenses.
STORIES THAT WILL MAKE YOU CRINGE
As Leamer draws us into his world and follows the lives of the characters, like with Aesop's Fables, we cannot help but predict the tragic outcomes of the paths they have chosen. The irony here is that these are real people, illustrating that the tragic flaw of humanity is our inability to step outside our selves and get past the artificial world of our own construct. This is the real-life version of Faust, and a lesson in perception and mortality. Some of the characters were blessed with not surviving to read about their own catastrophic social failures.Read more ›
It reminded me of "Midnight in the Garden of Eden," only there were more characters in this one so it was a very lively read. Very definitely recommended for those who like to read about the rise and fall of the rich.
Leamer, who purchased a duplex a block north of Palm Beach's tony shopping street, Worth Avenue, in 1994, is something of a Nick Carrawayesque narrator. He shares the lives of his subjects, joining them for tennis games at the Breakers Club and attending some of the myriad social events around which life centers during the "season," when the population of the island triples. But Leamer, a former Newsweek editor who brings solid journalistic credentials to his task, never allows proximity to the world he's trying to capture dilute his objectivity. He's a consistently clear-eyed observer, with no illusions about the people he's describing and no awe of their wealth and power.
At least partially as promised in its subtitle, there's a surfeit of death in MADNESS --- a shooting, a suspected poisoning, a savage beating, a suicide and a death by fire --- all in the space of barely 10 years. The characters who swirl through the book encompass sociopaths like Fred Keller, whose bitter divorce battle (described in all its sordid detail) ends in a shattering act of violence, to the merely self-absorbed, a description that fits most of the rest of Leamer's subjects, including participants in the several May-December marriages that dot the book. Life in Palm Beach, Leamer writes, is like an "elaborate costume party in which one can wear whatever outfit one wants as long as the mask never falls.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I think I bought this at the Dollar Tree (for a $1.00). I will read anything, and this book was not what I expected. Read morePublished 1 month ago by TERESA
Laurence Leamer has written at least one decent book -- not great, but decent -- "The Price of Justice", about Massey Energy. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Robert B. Lamm
The prose is good, painting a word picture of a world almost entirely foreign to me and to most Americans. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Judith Kelsey-Powell, Kindle Customer
Amazing read about a sub set of America consumed with avarice.....as well as the chief maggot who fed on them.Published 14 months ago by David E.
LIke a throw away gossip magazine .... the people in it aren't really interesting and it is written rather haltingly.Published 18 months ago by Ppope