Book Review: Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

“This is a good reminder that no one in the world is a reliable source for their own story.”

Karen Joy Fowler, Booth

Title: Booth
Author: Karen Joy Fowler
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 480 (Hardcover)
Published: March 8th, 2022

My Rating: ★★★★★
Read: 5/10/2022 – 5/22/2022


When I first saw the cover of this book, I wondered why a book about John Wilkes Booth would don imagery of flowers and birds. I never thought much of the name ‘Booth’ past John Wilkes. I never questioned where he came from. It wasn’t until I was over halfway through the book that it occurred to me that the Booth Theatre in New York is named for Edwin Booth, let alone the two had any relation. Even though this is a fictionalized take on the Booth Family, I learned a great deal.

I’m a sucker for slower-paced, character-driven historical fiction like this. The story mostly centers on Rosalie, Edwin, and Asia. They all have distinct personalities and perspectives that make the story rich from start to finish. The writing is lovely and sad rolled into one. I liked Rosalie the best with Edwin not too far behind. Lincoln is also inserted throughout the story, though it is usually brief. It adds a good build-up to his fate.


I do wish that authors would refrain from inserting modern-day politics at the end of books — especially in fiction which this book ultimately is. I’ve complained about this in too many book reviews these past two years and I’m weary of it. I’m sure I’m not only speaking for myself when I say that I read to escape current events. Nothing spoils a book I so thoroughly enjoy quicker than a politically charged author’s note whether I agree with what’s being said or not. I will not deduct a star from this as at least the story itself remained intact, but I can only wish that authors would consider the type of alienation these messages bring on. In my experience, it almost always ends up being hypocritical to the content.

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