Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake is all about how a 16 year old boy became the most daring con-man in US history. Over the course of 4 years, Frank had stolen millions of dollars and flown all over the world posing as a pilot for Pan-Am airlines. Oh, and did I mention he also posed as a doctor, lawyer and school teacher?
Not only was he caught (several times before finally being put away) but he was later employed by the US government to help catch those trying to do what he did – swindle banks and companies. He was even the subject of a 2002 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. I hate to use a cliche but did Frank ever come out of it looking like a million bucks.
I really enjoyed this book. Granted, it took me some time to get through it – probably because I’ve seen the movie a few times and really wasn’t that excited to find out what happened. I mean, they basically explain the plot on the back. Even though I knew a lot of the details, my jaw dropped several times just blown away with how he accomplished all of this.
In order to bluff his way through all of these careers you not only have to be a good liar, you need to have full confidence in what you’re telling someone. The minute you start to expose some doubt in yourself; the suspicions begin to arise. Of course, with modern technology, schemes like this must have become increasingly difficult to succeed with. Back in the ’60s, cheques were mailed and when their “phoney-ness” (yes, I used that word) was discovered, Frank was long gone.
There are some minor details that apparently have been heightened. Frank said that when banks were called to discuss the validity of Mr. Abegnale’s claims, they refused to discuss the events. Frank noted that if a teenager had stolen thousands of dollars from your company – you’d be pretty embarrassed going over the details.
Overall, I really enjoyed it. I think that you’re going to get a far more entertaining story from the movie version but I’m a little biased as I had seen it prior to reading the book. Also, the movie has Tom Hanks. TOM HANKS.