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Catch the Book if You Can

Catch Me If You Can is both a book and a movie, as many by now know. Whenever I see a movie based on a book, except for Lord of the Rings and its ilk, I'm always curious to read the book. I've read all of the James Bond books I can get my hands on, all of the Tom Clancy books, and so on, and CMIYC falls into the realm of being a factual book, which makes it even nicer in my opinion.

The book, in this case, is better than the movie. It's longer, of course, and contains far more hilarious incidents than the movie could contain. The movie's flaw, I felt, was in being too serious at times, but the book suffers no such flaw. In short, the book tells the crime caper hijinks type of story that the movie should have distilled to a miniature.

For example, the details of Frank's escape from prison are actually much more interesting (he pretended to be an undercover federal prison inspector) than in the movie (he pretends to be sick and almost escapes when nobody is looking). His imprisonment in Sweden is left entirely out of the movie, but is one of the most interesting parts of the book.

Also, as I got the "movie edition" of the book (the one with the movie poster with Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio on it), I got an extra brief interview with Frank Abagnale, Jr. in the back. The questions and answers cover a wide range of topics, from how his father's death affected him to how his own children have been raised, and from how he views prisons and rehabilitation as effective (or not) to why he went to France instead of Brazil when he attempted to "retire."

All told, the book is a worthwhile read, especially after you've seen the movie. This is not Lord of the Rings - reading the book beforehand may actually diminish your appreciation of the movie. Pick up a copy if you get the chance (or borrow my copy, if I know you).

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