This autobiography,Catch Me If You Can, by Frank Abagnale is his remarkably true story of how he conned his way across the world as a teenager…often literally one step ahead of the authorities. The story is remarkable in that he started his life-of-crime at the tender age of sixteen and was contemplating retirement to Brazil (no extradition to the United States) before he could legally drink. Once you get past the fact that he was a thief you come to see his brilliance, his audacity, his luck, his stupidity, and even his honor code (he never ripped off an individual – except for one and it’s so funny that you’ll just have to read the story to enjoy it yourself).
“I promptly put the giant jet on automatic pilot and hoped to hell the gadget worked, because I couldn’t fly a kite. I wasn’t a Pan Am pilot or any other kind of pilot. I was an imposter, one of the most wanted criminals on four continents, and at the moment I was doing my thing, putting a super hype on some nice people. I WAS A MILLIONAIRE twice over and half again before I was twenty-one. I stole every nickel of it and blew the bulk of the bundle on fine threads, gourmet foods…”
Everybody love…sort of the “Robin Hood” type who robs the rich. Of course the rich pass the cost down to the rest of us, but let’s not allow that to cloud the story here. This is a classic story of someone who, rather that put his mind to good, put his mind to evil (okay evil may be too strong a word – how about illegal?). The book was entertaining and Mr. Abagnale paid a price and turned his life around. I never saw the movie of the same name, but I cannot imagine that it could have included the level of detail to illustrate just how smart a criminal this guy was.