Savage Appetites by Rachel Monroe

Savage Appetites

A provocative and original investigation of our cultural fascination with crime, linking four archetypes—Detective, Victim, Attorney, Killer—to four true stories about women driven by obsession.In this illuminating exploration of women, violence, and obsession, Rachel Monroe interrogates the appeal of true crime through four narratives of fixation. In the 1940s, a bored heiress began creating dollhouse crime scenes depicting murders, suicides...

Details Savage Appetites

TitleSavage Appetites
Release DateAug 20th, 2019
GenreCrime, True Crime, Nonfiction, Mystery, History, Audiobook

Reviews Savage Appetites

  • Diane S ☔
    3.5 This book was chock filled with book coincidences, it was eerie, maybe fated that I picked it up. Monroe explains the attraction reading about crime holds for many, from internet sides full of amateur crime investigators working on cold cases, to those who are attracted to the criminals themselves. Columbine, whose followers have their own groups, people who admire those two young killers of many, calling themselves Columbiners. Starting with...
  • Olive
    Check out my review/discussion video on booktube: the below review first appeared on Open Letters Review:In early 2017, the American cable television network Oxygen officially rebranded and started featuring almost exclusively true crime programming. The channel had always been directed toward women, but network executives noticed that the lifestyle shows they were airing weren't connecting with a viewership who wa...
  • Jessica Woodbury
    Let's just start with all the ways in which I have specific, subjective opinions about this book. I hate the true crime trend. I specifically hate the fandoms that have grown up around true crime. For me, it is exploitative and disrespectful, it turns real problems and pain into entertainment, and it does little to take on the very real issues of violence, poverty, policing, and bias in our criminal justice system even though all of these things ...
  • Valerity (Val)
    Rachel Monroe’s book delves into the issue of women and their obsession with true crime. As if that’s always a bad thing. This is basically divided into four sections relating four different cases the author examines as separate cases to consider as studies. I was already familiar with the one of the heiress in the 1940’s who came up with and then crafted a dozen miniaturized crime scenes called nutshells that were used for teaching what la...
  • Emily
    My standard procedure is not to give star ratings to books I don't finish, but I'm so annoyed by this book that I'm doing it anyway. Savage Appetites is a convoluted mess of a "true crime" book. The synopsis of this book sounds amazing, which is what drew me to it. However, the back of the book says that it's a combination of personal narrative, reportage, and a sociological examination of violence and media. What this really means is that this b...
  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
    3.5 starsOur society has become obsessed with true crime. Podcasts, books, TV shows, websites, and TV channels devote hours to discussing crimes. Statistically speaking, it's women who are fueling this obsession. The overwhelming majority of true crime readers and true crime podcast listeners are female. According to Monroe, forensic science is one of the fastest growing college majors and seven in ten of those students are female.Rachel Monroe h...
  • Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
    This is one hot mess of a book.The introduction reads like a bad article someone with an interest in true crime might dig up on the internet, read a little bit of, click elsewhere, and then forget entirely. By the time I made it to the last page (heaven help me, somehow I made it) it was more than eminently clear that whatever fascination the author might have originally held for true crime had soured. And with it, went whatever interesting magic...
  • Emma Eisenberg
    If I could give this book 6 stars, I would--it is the book I have been waiting to read all my life
  • Kristy K
    While definitely interesting, this wasn’t what I expected when I went into it. This reads as a part-memoir, part-biography of women who obsessed over crime. This will appeal to the niche of true crime lovers who are fascinated by those who take their devotion a step further. I received an advanced copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review.
  • Karen Smith
    This book is predicated on lies and a complete failure of any moral compass. The *true* story behind Alisa Statman's relationship with Patti Tate was never told in Monroe's book. They were domestic partners. Not roommates, not friends, not acquaintances. Statman did not 'entwine' herself or 'worm her way' into the Tate family. She fell in love with Patti and Patti fell in love with her. End of file. There was no ulterior motive, no 'obsession' wi...
  • Robert Sheard
    I thought this was going to be a true crime book focusing on four women criminals, which would have been interesting in its own way. But it's actually a book about four women who were obsessed with true crime itself. Monroe puts them into four categories based on whom they identify with in the crime scenario: the detective, the victim, the defender, or the killer. It's an interesting perspective in light of the fact that violent crimes in America...
  • Traci at The Stacks
    I was surprised by how much I liked this book. It’s not what I thought. The author smartly uses known true crime to share a commentary on women, crime, and obsession. So much to talk about here.
  • Cassandra Gillig
    a quick read that wonders (but not too hard) about why people, especially & overwhelmingly women, are drawn to true crime/forensics. it's full of interesting facts & slowly builds a history of forensic science & shies away from a lot of the violence of the crimes that are mentioned which is good for me, somebody who's pretty soft & was drawn to the book because i don't quite understand true crime fandom. this really is a great book about obsessio...
  • Karyn
    Savage Appetites surprised me with unique perspectives on women in the crime experience of murder. After having read many true crime books through the years, Rachel Monroe took me on a different path, and my view has expanded as a result.I rate this a solid 4.5 and highly recommend it to anyone seeking a few new insights on a well worn topic.
  • vanessa
    This book was disturbing for me to read at times - particularly the last story which gave me the heebie-jeebies. I really enjoyed the author's writing: it's analytical and thoughtful and sentimental in a way. The detective and defender stories probably most resembled my interest in true crime, but every story was about something I didn't know too much about (even the West Memphis 3 and the Tate-LaBianca murders are not rabbit holes I've ever trul...
  • Chermaine
    I'm finally glad to see a true crime book that talks about the complexities of people's interest in death and murder and all those things and even how many women aren't just some mindless creatures who decide to become Serial Killers groupies or decide to become murderers because some man told them to.It's extremely interesting in that it is satisfying to see that there are people who look at this and are horrified at the things that Humanity can...
  • Angela
    As other reviewers have noted--not a true crime book so much as one about true crime and its fascinations, which suited me just fine (I've never been a true crime devotee, but I have e.g. gone down the rabbit hole of reading serial killer fandom Tumblrs). It's a fascinating topic, and I could have read twice as many of these case studies. Rachel Monroe is both a top notch investigator and skilled prose stylist, and we are lucky to get to read her...
  • Erin
    I've often wondered where my love for true crime comes from and what this obsession means about my personality. Rachel Monroe had the same wonderings and wrote this nonfiction book about the different aspects of true crime and why some people are drawn to it. The book is divided into four parts:1. The Detective - focusing on Frances Glessner Lee (the female pioneer of forensics who built miniature replications of crime scenes in the 1940s)2. The ...
  • Sarah Dealy
    If you slug through the meandering structurelessness of this book you will find some interesting stories. However, they are so coated in the author’s meaningless personal anecdotes, over exposition of well know cultural events and judgment of the audience she is writing about (which includes herself) - that they are hard to find. Additionally, most of the interesting nuggets in here have already been covered many times over by reporters more ta...
  • Katherine
    SAVAGE APPETITES is a must read, not just for fans of True Crime, but for everyone who must make their way through a world over-saturated with tales of crime by the 24-hour news cycle. In this book, Rachel Monroe delves into the stories of four women who were not directly affected by violent crimes, but instead became obsessed with them, and subsequently had their lives changed -not always for the better. Monroe frames the narrative with her own ...
  • Mary
    Savage Appetites is a unique look at women's obsession with True Crime, and four women who took that obsession to an extreme level. Writing with a journalistic prose, author Rachel Monroe has given the reader a fresh take on True Crime and fans will enjoy reading about these four cases.
  • Cara EM
    What draws so many into the gory, fearful world of true crime? Rachel Monroe dissects one region within this popular phenomenon; namely, the women who become obsessed with true crime. Divided into 4 sections about 4 real life women, she discusses four archetypes women tend to fall into when obsessed with true crime, and their lives to perhaps explain why they fell so deeply.Monroe writes engagingly well, and the book feels more like an intimate c...
  • Alison Hardtmann
    Perhaps true crime stories are contemporary fairy tales--not the Disney versions but the dimmer, Grimm-er ones, where the parents are sometimes homicidal, where the young girls don't always make it out of the forest intact. We keep following them into the dark woods anyway. Parts of ourselves long for these shadowy places; we'll discover things there that we can't learn anywhere else.A friend recommended this book to me when we discussed why we l...
  • Rachel
    I once saw a writer friend gripe on Twitter about a Goodreads review that bragged about finishing their book in "under an hour" or somesuch, and ever since then, I have felt like I am personally demeaning a writer's years of hard work by snarfing the finished product in a weekend. So I've made up some mythical Someday in my head where I can / will re-read books I once binged more slowly, in paperback (July 2020! I put an alert in my calendar!), u...
  • Jamie Canaves
    Exploration Of True Crime (TW basically everything)I have so many thoughts on this book I could write an entire review for each of the four sections. It starts and ends with the author attending a true crime con. In between it focuses on one fascinating woman and three cold cases which are looked at from a different angle then just the actual case–women’s obsession is the “thesis” for the book. First, we learn about Frances Glessner Lee w...
  • Kales
    What a fascinating book. I heard about this book from author Mackenzi Lee who recommended it, and Rachel Monroe guest starred on the podcast "You're Wrong About...". It did not disappoint. If you are a true crime fan, you should definitely read this book because it will get you to look twice at why you enjoy true crime. It's a great introspection while still learning about interesting crimes. The Detective was the most fascinating section for me ...
  • Renata
    I'm so here for the post-true crime trend of books (like, this one and Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession makes a trend, right?) trying to unpack the appeal of true crime. (Which for me, is personally very limited but I'm sort of fascinated with why others like it??) This is kind of a collection of long essays and each of them were very interesting. I couldn't believe I was finding another new take on the Manson story after my ...
  • Kelly
    It took me a while to get really into this, but once I did I was hooked. I do agree, the writing in the introduction and part of the first chapter is really rambling and convoluted. Once I adjusted and got into the stories she was telling I did not put this down. I liked that I have never heard of any of the women she covered, and the thought provoking points raised by discussing their cases.
  • Julie (A Girl and a Book)
    Another fantastic nonfiction read. I've been on a big true crime kick lately, and this was amazing. Highly recommend the audiobook Another fantastic nonfiction read. I've been on a big true crime kick lately, and this was amazing. Highly recommend the audiobook 🖤