If I Did It – by O.J. Simpson with Essays by Fred Goldman and Dominick Dunne

Having already read William Dear’s alternate theory of who killed Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, this book popped up on the Bookbub list. The twentieth anniversary has spawned countless OJ Simpson true crime books, articles and television programs. As I mentioned before, I was not in the country when all this occurred so I am not completely burned out on the topic. And I was very curious about this book.

Absolutely no disrespect to Fred Goldman and their family but he writes a forward to the dictation done by OJ with his ghostwriter. I can’t even call it a forward. It is an angry, infuriated, grief saturated tirade. It is understandable. It is tragic. It may have been cathartic. But it the beginning of a he said-he said book. The viewpoints represented are both highly personal and highly biased. This is not a dispassionate review of what may or may not have occurred.

The OJ portion is just ridiculous. There is not much reading between the lines required except to acknowledge that OJ Simpson is a deeply narcissistic man who, at 35, dumped his first family to take up with an eighteen year old waitress who wasn’t even born when his career began.

He continually tries to lay the blame at Nicole Brown’s feet for everything that happened. She was violent, she was immature, she was on drugs, she was cheating on him, and she was unstable. All of these same traits can also be ascribed to OJ himself who should have known from the beginning that he had nothing in common with a teenager half his age.  In truth, the thing he hammers on over and over was that they continually turned back to one another for sex. Sex of convenience mostly.

When he gets done laying the blame at her feet, the description of the crime itself, mirrors the crime. A short, violent description of an altercation that probably lasted 15-20 minutes in total. He infers someone else was there and I think William Dear’s book is a pretty good indicator that OJ was with his oldest son Jason.

For all the mud slung at Ron Goldman by opposing attorneys and OJ himself this book is clear on one thing: Ron Goldman was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. He was dropping off some sunglasses and by OJ’s description, he simply tried to stand between OJ and Nicole and was overtaken by two more powerful men and killed.

OJ’s part of the book ends there. An epilogue essay is provided by Dominick Dunne, a writer and victim advocate who befriended the Goldman’s and understands celebrity crime. It is scathing of OJ and the process.

I really bought the book for one reason: I wanted the money I spent (a pittance at that) to go to the fund that the Goldman family established. Although OJ says this is a hypothetical account of what occurred, I think it sounds pretty close to what happened that night.

These two people kept coming in and out of each other’s lives and it was a car crash every time. In relationships like this, there seem to be a lot of casualties outside of the two people involved. That was certainly the case here. It will probably take generations to put some of it behind those families and even then, maybe never.

The book is not that good, the anger and grief is palpable and OJ does not come off well even by his own account. One star but maybe buying it for the Goldman Trust is enough incentive.