Perception: Nobody wants to read another turgid tome on O.J. Simpson, right? What can New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin have to say in 442 loooonngg pages that we haven’t already watched and/or read ad nauseam? Reality: Toobin’s The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson manages to be a real page-turner. This is no easy feat, considering most everyone who reads it will already know the plot, the characters, and the ending. (Toobin claims O.J. knew the ending before most anyone — he was tipped off to the not-guilty verdict the night before it was announced.)
Toobin made a name for himself early on in the Simpson trial when the defense team leaked him its infamous ”race card” strategy that resulted in a controversial New Yorker article. But the book shows he was hardly in the defense’s corner.
Toobin strips away the months of circuslike televised proceedings and the sordid tell-all books and lays out a simple, but devastating, synopsis of the case: Simpson was guilty; the win-at-any-cost defense team knew it — and even said so to their friends; the evidence was overwhelming, and the prosecutors blew it. The author maintains that Marcia Clark’s ”arrogance” (Toobin says she underestimated the sympathy the mostly black female jury would have for Simpson) and Chris Darden’s ”ineptitude” (Toobin says the prosecutor’s courtroom work was amateurish) cost them the case.
Toobin’s blunt, sardonic, often morbidly funny book (he even includes the police ”interview” with the Akita) is a dead-on take on what was not so much the murder of the century as the travesty of the century. A