Originally published 2015-05-27: A young woman is murdered on a public street, but no one responded to her screams.
When I read the description of No One Helped by Marcia M. Gallo on NetGalley, I knew immediately that I wanted to read it. I had heard about Bystander Apathy from an online forensics course I took, and I’ve also heard about this case many times. So I was interested in seeing what else the author had to offer.
Marcia M. Gallo examines one of America’s most infamous true-crime stories: the 1964 rape and murder of Catherine “Kitty” Genovese in a middle-class neighborhood of Queens, New York.
Front-page reports in the New York Times incorrectly identified thirty-eight indifferent witnesses to the crime, fueling fears of apathy and urban decay. Genovese’s life, including her lesbian relationship, also was obscured in media accounts of the crime.
Fifty years later, the story of Kitty Genovese continues to circulate in popular culture. Although it is now widely known that there were far fewer actual witnesses to the crime than was reported in 1964, the moral of the story continues to be urban apathy. “No One Helped” traces the Genovese story’s development and resilience while challenging the myth it created.
What can I say about No One Helped? If you want an in-depth, absolutely thorough look into the Kitty Genovese case, and the tendency of the public to look the other way when witnessing a crime, this is a must-read. Every aspect of the murder of the young lesbian bartender is chronicled down to the very last detail.
And that was actually why I didn’t really find it an appealing read.
I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting. To be fair, the description of the book tells you exactly what you can expect from it, and that should have clued me in that I wasn’t going to enjoy it. My mistake, not Gallo’s; for real crime buffs who love minutiae, this is probably a fascinating read. The story is there and the mechanics are there.
For me, though, I think it just covered the case too well. Gallo goes into too much tedious detail for me, and a few chapters in, I found my attention wandering to anything and everything that was going on around me. I had to put it down without finishing it, and that’s why I can’t give this book a fair star rating.
I give this book two of five stars for having a compelling idea, but not being my cup of tea.
These are affiliate links; click to buy your copy & I get a percentage of the sale, but it doesn’t cost you any more than your regular purchases. I received a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review from NetGalley.