‘Catch Me If You Can’ by Frank W. Abagnale with Stan Redding

My Review (3 stars out of 5)


In the nineteen sixties, American Frank W. Abagnale, while utilising several aliases, became one of the cleverest con men the world has ever seen. Posing as an airline pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, and sociology professor, he forged thousands of cheques, stayed free of charge in hundreds of hotels and had a whole string of beautiful girlfriends along the way.

Co-authored (actually authored) by Stan Redding, this book was first published in 1980, long after Frank Abagnale had been caught by police and FBI agents. The audiobook is superbly narrated by Barrett Whitener and is certainly entertaining. The problem, of course, is that Abagnale himself had little to do with writing the book and consequently a fair proportion of it is little more than an amusing, but fictionized account of his adventures. There are videos on YouTube where the man himself talks about his life and details events that are radically different from those depicted in the book. When reading (or listening to) an account of someone’s life, I expect there to be a certain amount of dramatization, but for the most part I’d like to think that it’s a reasonably accurate story.

Popularised by the film version (starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks) Catch Me If You Can is good fun, but inevitably, a bit of a let-down on the it-actually-happened front, hence, only three stars.

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