Smile: Behind the Lens of the ‘Dating Game Killer’ by Ryan Green
Happy to give this back to Kindle Unlimited
Diving into “Smile: Behind the Lens of the ‘Dating Game Killer'” by Ryan Green, I approached it with my inherent fascination for true crime. However, despite my background in psychology, this Kindle Unlimited find fell short of my expectations, earning a mere two stars. I regret to express my disappointment, and I understand this may not align with the sentiments of others who found merit in the book.
The narrative delves into the heinous deeds of Rodney Alcala, shedding light on the unimaginable suffering endured by his unfortunate victims. While acknowledging the existence of legitimate mental illnesses, such as the personality disorders attributed to Alcala, it’s crucial to emphasize that the majority of individuals grappling with mental health challenges do not resort to violence. In grappling with the story, I struggled to attribute his actions solely to mental illness, as a sense of malevolence seems to permeate his character.
Alcala’s demonstrated intelligence and social ineptitude further complicate the narrative. The book suggests that his capacity for meticulous planning and awareness of societal norms, as evidenced by his evasion of law enforcement and concealment of his crimes, indicate a conscious understanding of right and wrong. In essence, he appeared cognizant of the repercussions of his actions.
While the book explores the malevolent actions of Alcala, it left me yearning for a more comprehensive examination of his background, particularly his family dynamics. An exploration of his sisters’ experiences and any potential signs of abusive behavior could have enriched the narrative. I found myself questioning the effectiveness of the mother’s seemingly well-intentioned efforts and pondering whether a more proactive approach, such as involuntary institutionalization, could have altered the course of events. Though not a cure for evil, such intervention might have provided an opportunity for intensive therapy, necessary medications, and a prolonged stay to potentially mitigate the tragic toll on victims.
In summary, “Smile” left me with mixed feelings. I desired a deeper exploration of Alcala’s family life and more nuanced perspectives. While the book unveils the darkness within the ‘Dating Game Killer,’ its narrative shortcomings make it challenging for me to recommend wholeheartedly.