The Story of Chicago May

The Story of Chicago May

By Nuala O’Faolain

Reviewed by: Darrell


This book is a biography of Chicago May, one of the most colorful criminals from the early part of the last century. It is also a commentary on Chicago May’s own autobiography and several other first hand accounts of this turbulent time in American history.


I was very disappointed in this book and I would not recommend it to anyone else.

I first become interested in reading this book after hearing an interview with the author on NPR. In that interview the author painted a vivid picture of Chicago May and it left me wanting to learn more about this fascinating character and her life. Unfortunately, O’Faolain’s book seemed to be a lot more interested in critiquing Chicago May’s autobiography than in bringing Chicago May to life for the reader. I also found many of O’Faolain’s reflections and conjectures inane and uninteresting. For example, O’Faolain ruminations on the question of whether Chicago May ever read Jane Austen left me scratching my head and wondering what the author was trying to accomplish and why she felt compelled to inflict these distractions on the reader.