This is a great book. Farrow takes what could be–what is, in fact–a very tricky story with lies, leads, traps, double-crosses, big reputations and big egos, and makes it enjoyable to read, for 400 pages…well, enjoyable except that you’re reading about truly despicable and gross people, and their whole gross conspiracy of predators and enablers.
If you live in society, you’ve heard about Harvey Weinstein. This book documents Ronan Farrow’s pursuit of the Weinstein story, and his refusal to give up. He was disheartened but not subdued by years upon years of silenced leads and forfeited interviews, and he chased the leads to the story, and what a story. When he finally had something, NBC released him from his contract (totally normal, nothing to see here, and so he took it to the New Yorker, and here we are today.
The book is charming, for such a harrowing subject, and I especially like Ronan’s frequent dry jokes at his own expense, often from his boyfriend. It’s a well-balanced narrative that reads like spy fiction (I mean, there’s an Israeli intelligence service called Black Cube…again, this is real life!)
And it’s not only about Weinstein–it’s about the whole thing, the whole gross conspiratorial system of powerful and not-so-powerful men and women who are willing to make things happen, or cover them up, because they or their livelihoods have been threatened, because they have a vested interest in not rocking the boat. Weinstein is gross, but society, in many ways, set him up for success.
I couldn’t help but feel a funny sort of adjacent-righteousness reading this book and seeing someone overcome an entrenched, hidden system–it’s a cliche but you, yes you, can make a difference. We can’t all be Ronan Farrow, but we can choose to not be silent in the face of oppression, whenever we find it.