Book Review: Chasing Diana – Perception Vs. Reality: Inspired by Our True Story by James and Robin Firestone

Late Princess Diana requires no introduction. She was a legend who was loved by one and all. In the hindsight, was she really loved by all? If yes, then — based on the facts presented in the book, why were there many red flags in the investigation of her “accident?”  Chasing Diana – Perception Vs. Reality: Inspired by Our True Story by James and Robin Firestone is a screenplay version of the accident, which killed Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed, that James and Robin Firestone witnessed. The screenplay is not an exact replica of the incidents that took place. The authors have included many elements of drama in it — probably, to attract a broader audience and eliminate the chances of monotonicity.

The leading characters of the screenplay are Jack Goodrich, Rhonda Goodrich, and their son, Brandon Goodrich. To say that Jack and Rhonda’s marital relationship is going through a rough patch would be the understatement of the year. Jack is an actor who is struggling to land a role. Rhonda was an actress but now she has bid farewell to her acting career. They plan — well, technically, Rhonda plans and Jack goes along with her plan — a trip to Europe. What was supposed to be a fun family vacation turns into an overwhelming series of events after they witness the car accident of Princess Diana. The dramatized version of the events highlights the manner in which their testimony was manipulated over and over again.

Since I was reading the book for facts and not drama, I was relieved to see the journal entries of the author at the end of the book. These entries presented the facts and encouraged the readers to read between the lines. These events, as endured, by the authors clearly signal that there was a bigger force at work behind the “accident” that shook the world. The manner in which Robin’s testimony was cut short in the court is one of those events.

Although I am glad that I picked this book, I am not too glad about it being an overly dramatized version. The drama was a bit too much for me. The journal entries are more fascinating than the whole book. But, like I said, drama might not have been for me, other readers might enjoy the distraction from all the seriousness. We cannot imagine the emotional turmoil that Princess Diana’s sons and Dodi Al Fayed’s family endured after the crash, but at least, we all have given it some thought. What we could have never contemplated is how this awful tragedy affected the lives of the witnesses. I applaud the efforts that Firestones made to have their voices heard. Their sole intention, as I understood, has been to bring forth important facts that could help bring justice to the beloved princess of all time. For the reasons mentioned above, I would rate the book 3 out of 4 stars.

Having said that, I am not satisfied with the dramatized presentation of the screenplay. It was too distracting for me. If it weren’t for my thirst to know more about the “accident” and the wonderful journal entry of the author, I would have stopped reading the book after a few pages. If you are looking for the facts and not drama, I would suggest you go straight to James Firestone’s journal entry at the end of the book. For the reasons mentioned above, I would rate the book 2 out of 4 stars.

This book was an “OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day”. It can be found on OBC bookshelf by clicking on this link: http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelves/book.php?id=192042.

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