Part 1 of “The Stranger Beside Me” is already captivating me!!! However, I’m not quite sure how the story of a famous serial killer wouldn’t captivate someone. First of all, Ann Rule’s writing is great. I find it interesting how much detail she used to describe different settings. Ted Bundy’s home is described in detail, as well as his new home in Florida. Perhaps she is doing an “In Cold Blood” effect like Capote and attempting to draw the reader in by describing the places that Ted Bundy had been.
It also shocks me how much of a future Ted Bundy had before his life went downhill. He could have been the governor of Washington! This also emphasizes something that I’ve been pushing this entire semester. These people ruin their lives for crime. People these days tend to focus only on the crime and the punishment. Nobody gives a damn about the potential future the criminal could have had. In Ted Bundy’s case, his bright and successful future was shot to hell the minute he became a fugitive.
Similarly, we don’t usually focus on the past of the criminal. In Ted Bundy’s case, it would be foolish not to. His mother’s backstory and hard life probably contributed to his downfall later on in life. I’m not arguing that parents are always responsible for their children’s actions. I’m just saying that having a rough home life doesn’t exactly do wonders for the children involved, and it certainly didn’t do wonders for Ted Bundy. However, aside from his rough future, his childhood seems pretty normal. He did childlike things, got bullied in school, and related well to his grandfather. Never in his childhood are there any signs of a mental problem or even an anger problem. He seems like a pretty average kid. However, burglary and vandalism started early for him, when he was in high school. And it all went downhill from there…