I’ll start by being completely transparent: I do not enjoy reading nonfiction.
To be honest, I only read nonfiction when it’s something I have to do for work or a book club, and me reading this book was no different. This was the choice for this month’s library book club and going off the title alone, it is something I never in a million years would have picked up out of my own interest. I generally dislike reading True Crime because taking personal pleasure in reading about the terrible misfortune of real people just feels weird to me, so any stories about true crime or serial killers stir no interest in me. However, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book.
One thing I really enjoyed about this book was the fact that it was about the victims of Jack the Ripper without ever bringing him into the discussion. It kept all the information purely on the forgotten women who died at his hand and the misinformation spread about them without making Jack the Ripper into some weird cult figure. At the same time, this was also one of the issues I had with the book. Because there was only so much information available regarding these women a lot of this book felt incredibly repetitive and thus the book felt longer than it should have. On that note, the book reads more like a slice of life of the Victorian era than a dramatic True Crime novel which is how I felt it was marketed.
Overall I enjoyed it as a depiction of Victorian life for women, but I felt it was a bit too long and repetitive to justify the page number. Still an important book for remembering the victims of the heinous acts of Jack the Ripper were human beings with lives and stories and not just footnotes in the mystery surrounding him.
Title: The Five
Author: Hallie Rubenhold
Three Descriptors: Informative, Well-Researched, Sad
The Invention of Murder by Judith Flanders
Ripper by Patricia Daniels Cornwell
The Ardlamont Mystery by Daniel Smith
The Mutual Admiration Society by Mo Moulton