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15 July 2008 @ 06:31 am
If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer  
Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, a review rejected by the Hipster Book Club! (For cogent reasons pertaining to the subject matter.)

If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer
By: The Goldman Family (Author), Pablo F. Fenjves (Foreword), Dominick Dunne (Afterword)

O.J. Simpson’s 2007 hypothetical murder confession is worth your attention, not as a confession, but as a glimpse inside the man who is O.J. Simpson, the celebrity who flaunted getting away with murder. If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer provides a new perspective on the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. As published, this book is truly the story of the Goldman family. The family wrote the forward, explaining their reasons for publishing the manuscript; the afterword was written by renowned crime journalist and close Goldman family friend Dominick Dunne. The eight-chapter story of the Brown-Simpson marriage and year preceding Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman’s murders constitutes the bulk of this text, but that narrative is best read in the context provided by this publication.

Simpson’s version of events places blame on Nicole Brown Simpson, who is portrayed herein as an emotionally unstable drug addict. He describes the two famous 911 calls during their seventeen-year marriage as isolated incidents for which both parties were responsible. He adamantly denies being an abuser; in Simpson’s portrayal of the marriage, he is the stable, responsible one who reacted to Nicole’s mood swings. A classic wife abuser, Simpson blames the victim, an unstable woman who drove him to extremes. The pair separated two years before the murders but had been in reconciliation discussions for the last year. By Simpson’s description, Nicole was prone to violent mood swings and changed her mind about reconciliation on a daily basis.

Co-author Pablo Fenjves, a Brentwood neighbor of O.J. Simpson and witness at the murder trial, interviewed Simpson over a matter of weeks to ghostwrite the confession. The sports star was forthcoming about his marital troubles and opinions on Nicole’s cocaine-using friends, but froze when it came to the material for “Chapter 6: The Night in Question.” Fenjves claims that Simpson wanted to exclude that material from the book, despite the fact that Simpson’s handlers had promised publisher Judith Regan that this would be a confession in every manner. When the project came to light, Simpson attempted to distance himself from the actual confession, but Fenjves is adamant that he has included only the words and sentiments of the man himself, and Simpson did sign off on the final manuscript.

O.J. Simpson’s hypothetical confession to the Simpson-Goldman murders reveals details that only the killer could know. It is worthwhile to note that the hypothetical confession never contradicts any of the case evidence, and in fact, it explains several discrepancies which existed in the prosecution’s theory of the murder. O.J. reveals that after leaving his ex-wife’s house, he stripped and wrapped his clothes in a ball, which would explain the lack of blood evidence in the vehicle he was driving. He also discloses that his point of entry was a broken rear gate to the mansion and that he had an encounter with Goldman outside the house before confronting Nicole.

The Simpson camp conceived If I Did It as a retirement project, a way to profit off murder despite the civil judgment the Goldman and Brown families received in their wrongful death and battery suit against Simpson. After being found liable for the murders in his 1997 civil trial, Simpson was able to avoid paying damages to the Goldman and Brown families through the use of bankruptcy court and sham corporations set up in his children’s names. For If I Did It, he received an advance of just under one million dollars, none of which the Goldmans or Browns saw, and he expected to receive lifelong payments in his children’s names. When the project came to light, causing public outcry, HarperCollins dissolved its ReganBooks imprint, which had sponsored the project, and Simpson wound up in court over the rights to the manuscript. In bankruptcy court, the manuscript was considered an asset, and as such it needed to be liquidated (published) so that Simpson’s creditors could be paid. In the foreward, the Goldman family explains how, after reading the book’s contents, they decided to publish the confession themselves and control the income from the project.

With the publication of If I Did It, America has received one more chapter on its most infamous celebrity murder trial, and the Goldman family has finally imposed punitive damages on the man they believe is responsible for the murder of their son. The manuscript was improved by the addition of the Goldman preface, comments from writer Pablo F. Fenjves about the confession process, and Dominick Dunne’s conclusion about the rights of victim’s families. If I Did It is a strange piece of justice for the Goldman family and a fascinating read for the public who was gripped by the televised circus of the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
the Shapkatheshapka on July 15th, 2008 01:45 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I read that last summer in the leaked online version. I think I'll check out this one with the foreword and afterword. Thanks for the review!
lagizmalagizma on July 16th, 2008 05:52 pm (UTC)
Barbara Walters saw the manuscript and called it "chilling." It don't think it really is chilling stand-alone. You have to read it in context, with the opinions of the ghost-writer who spent all that time with him. At one point OJ yelled at him when Pablo mentioned going through a certain intersection after the crime. OJ was like, "WHY THE HELL would I go that way? I went down XYZ street!!" And then, "Uh, I mean, IF I did it, I would go that way."

They dropped the "if" part from their conversation for the most part.
the Shapkatheshapka on July 16th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, that is creepy. I've been willing to believe he didn't do it. Now? Not so much.
nothingheadsomethinghead on July 15th, 2008 07:49 pm (UTC)
Very interesting. I understand why they wouldn't run the review, but at the same time, I think a lot of people would like a well-reasoned sensible review like this one.
lagizmalagizma on July 16th, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks, man. I appreciate you saying that.

As you know, I like reviewing regardless of whether I get published for real. I wrote the review without getting pre-approval for the title, and when HBC decided to pass, I was like, ahhh! Am I some crime-mongering freak who reads literature that should be burned??

It's good to know there is an audience for reviews like this.
scarredbyitallscarredbyitall on July 16th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC)
Yay, you finally got your copy from the library! Wasn't that just the weirdest, creepiest book? I love how he tells the ghost writer which route he took home... or, um, er, that's the way he woulda gone had he done it. Hmmm.

Now you have to go read How I Helped OJ Get Away with Murder by his ex sports agent, Mike Gilbert. It is the best book on this subject out there. Compare it to If I Did It. Although Gilbert cannot be completely trusted, I think he had an a view that few others were privvy too, and his account is a fascinting comparison to OJ's. Gilbert agrees that Nicole was pursuing OJ in the months before her death, that she desperately wanted to get back into Rockinham but in the few weeks before her death she suddenly did an about face and started spurning OJ. He didn't like the reversal of roles and he finally snapped. It's very convincing. Gilbert claims to feel a lot of remorse and guilt for supporting OJ during the trial and after. He says he is sickened by OJ's treatment of his daughter, Sydney, who is "too much like her mother." You have to read this!
lagizmalagizma on July 16th, 2008 05:58 pm (UTC)
Ohhh! You sold me. But can you believe the L.A. County library system has no holdings for that title?
scarredbyitallscarredbyitall on July 16th, 2008 06:07 pm (UTC)
If they're like most public libraries their new budget year started July 1st. Tell them you want to request that they purchase it for the collection. L.A. County should definitely have this book, even if the cover is embarrassing to be seen holding :)