Book Review: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Book Review: Can You Ever Forgive Me?



This is a slim book at just 127 pages, and, for me, it could have been thrice as long and I would have savored every bit. Lee Israel’s writing is tight, polished, and endlessly witty. This book tells the true story of her time forging letters by literary and cinematic icons, which is a fascinating tale itself, but it was her voice that kept me reading.

I laughed more than I was expecting to while reading this book. Many of the sentences were so beautifully written and clever that I wanted to share them with others. Her writing style is refreshing and this story was unexpectedly heartwarming. She paints such fascinating portraits of the people she impersonated that I want to know more about each one of them.

I was disappointed that I finished this book so quickly; it is definitely a book that you could sit down and read all at once.

Eventually I received a letter from Ephron’s lawyer; then two detectives came to my apartment. They used words like harassment. “Well,” I said, “if she can’t take a joke...” I promised to cease and also desist, but knew the impulsivity that gin induces would inevitably chivy me to the telephone. Fortunately, it was disconnected for nonpayment before I could get myself into serious trouble.
— Can You Ever Forgive Me? Page 27

Book To Movie

Seeing a movie adaptation before reading the book has a tendency to spoil the book version, but that was not the case with this book. Recently turned into a bio-pic starring Melissa McCarthy, I saw this movie and immediately was dying to read the book. I was pleasantly surprised to find how closely the two aligned. (Some of the movies funniest moments were even funnier in the book.) A lot of time the true stories that movies are based on turn out to be far less exciting, funny, or enjoyable, but that was absolutely not the case with this story. If you have seen and enjoyed the movie I strongly urge you to read this book as well. It absolutely lives up to the hype.

Rating: 5/5