Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Mighty Heart

A Mighty Heart is Mariane Pearl's account of the kidnapping and murder of her husband, Wall Street Journal's Daniel Pearl, by terrorists in Pakistan in early 2002. After his disappearance, Mariane assembled a team to help find Daniel, and this memoir shows a race against the clock as the team wades through political red tape and corruption to determine who was responsible for the kidnapping and where Daniel was being held. This was such a high-profile crime, that the reader already knows the outcome; this is why this account deals with how the search was approached, what Mariane was going through emotionally, how the international team bonded with one another, and how Mariane was able to look toward a future for her and her unborn son after the murder of her husband. This was good; however, I was a little distracted by the use of present tense writing. I know the idea was to make the story more immediate, like it is happening now, that the reader is part of the search. But I'm not sure it worked; I also don't think the authors (Sarah Crichton was co-author) were very consistent with the tense. I would have preferred the story to be told in past tense, with what was happening to Daniel at the concurrent time interspersed throughout. I hope the film was done this way.

Also we're told what a great journalist Pearl was, how he tried to make the world a better place through his writing, how he stopped at nothing to get a story, how his personality and love of life came through in his writing. And it's true, I guess. But it would have been nice to have seen this first-hand if Mariane had included an article, a story, or even a personal letter written by Daniel for those of us who have never read his work. Also, it would have given Daniel the last word, and shown how his spirit and message survives, even if the terrorists killed his person.

3 1/2 of 5 stars