“…extremely wicked, shockingly evil and vile.”
The Stranger Beside me is a must-read for any fan of true crime. I don’t know if it was fate or divine intervention that put Ann Rule and Ted Bundy together in 1971, but it resulted in one hell of a book.
I knew quite a bit about Bundy going into this – I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts and have had an interest in the topic since high school.
This book was still incredibly shocking, terrifying and provided such an in-depth look into Bundy’s life and personality that the reader feels like they knew him. Although Bundy has been dead for 30 years, I still found myself watching for him out of the corner of my eye.
I think what makes Bundy so horrific (as opposed to someone like Charles Manson) is that he could hide his true self. He convinced so many people that he was kind, caring, a good friend, a gentleman. He compartmentalized the various parts of his personality incredibly well. Even after he confessed to multiple murders, Ann Rule admitted that a part of her felt bad for him and mourned who she thought he was.
When I was little, I remember my mom telling me that “monsters are real, they just look like everyone else.” Never has that rung more true. Bundy looked like everyone else. Only his victims saw his true face.
While reading the book, I also started watching the Ted Bundy Tapes on Netflix, and it’s been interesting to follow along with both. Would highly recommend either watching the Netflix series or finding a podcast episode about Bundy to supplement your reading.