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Book Review: The House of Gucci by Sara Gay Forden

The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed by Sara Gay Forden.

Book Description from Goodreads: On March 27, 1995, Maurizio Gucci, heir to the fabulous fashion dynasty, was slain by an unknown gunman as he approached his Milan office. In 1998, his ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani Martinelli--nicknamed "The Black Widow" by the press--was sentenced to 29 years in prison, for arranging his murder.

Did Patrizia murder her ex-husband because his spending was wildly out of control? Did she do it because her glamorous ex was preparing to marry his mistress, Paola Franchi? Or is there a possibility she didn't do it at all?


Ok, so I have a pet peeve when it come to nonfiction and this book hit that nerve. While it may very well be exceptionally researched, it's, in places, fabricated. The book is detailed, so much so, it covers Maurizio's inner thoughts. Some of that might have been in a journal, but it's just too precise. Like, there's no way. Detailed conversations that took place in a restaurant are quoted word for word. Now, it could have been recorded, but all of the conversations in the book? I don't know. To me it read like a nonfiction with some fictional imagery. I do believe that the author either worked with or had Patrizia's journals, so that I don't really question, but everything else just felt fictional.

With that out of the way, I really enjoyed this book. It's so outrageous of a story that it absolutely felt like a guilty pleasure to me. I had been asked by a friend what I was reading and I was so hesitant to answer because it felt dirty. Like watching Keeping Up with The Kardashians.

Like I mentioned, it's very detailed, which I appreciated, but to some might seem a bit dry. It follows GUCCI more than it follows Maurizio, but that back story is necessary (and quite interesting). It starts at the very beginning with Guccio Gucci and ends surpassing Maurizio. So if you're not terribly interested in Maurizio, but love Gucci, I'd recommend this book for it's amazing history.

I do want to warn, if you're going into this book thinking "oh yeah, I love true crime", I have some unfortunate news. It lacks in true crime. I thought the same, but ended up finding the history of the GUCCI dynasty interesting, so it wasn't totally a loss for me. I do wish there was more of the trail, more of the investigation, more forensics, etc. All that is glossed over, at best. Leaves my mind still wondering about a lot.

All in all, I enjoyed the book. I went in hoping for a true crime, nitty-gritty book about the murder of Maurizio. While that wasn't what I got, I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the business history of GUCCI, the family, and the drama. I rated it a 3/5.


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