Golden Boy by John Glatt

IN golden boy, New York Times bestselling author John Glatt tells the true story of Thomas Gilbert Jr., the handsome and charming New York socialist accused of murdering his father, a Manhattan millionaire and hedge fund founder.

One Sunday in January 2015, Thomas Gilbert Sr., a hedge fund founder and member of the Manhattan Social Elite, lay in bed watching a football game. Then his son, Thomas Gilbert Jr., known as Tommy, went wearing a hoodie. Tommy pressed a gun to his father’s head and shot him. Tommy then returned to his apartment and was arrested seven hours later.

These are the most straightforward facts in this particular case. The years leading up to the deadly moment and the trial that followed were anything but simple. Gilbert’s navigated a world of private schools, Ivy League opportunities, country clubs and Hampton mansions. The expectations of exceptionalism and a ‘certain lifestyle’ brought further pressure to complicated situations. And by all accounts, Tommy Gilbert’s fight for mental health was complicated.

IN Golden Boy: A Murder Among the Manhattan Elite, John Glatt, investigative journalist and author of over 25 books, has tackled a juggernaut with genuine crime. In the section on recognitions, Glatt says, “golden boy is without a doubt my most challenging book on real crime. “After reading it, I believe in it.

The people involved in this story struggle with some of the most difficult mental difficulties – obsessive-compulsive disorder, paranoia and possible schizophrenia – either as a sufferer or family member / friend. At the same time, they are in the pressure cooker to maintain a certain lifestyle standard and under the attention of Page Six. Just putting these elements into perspective must have made Glatt’s job much more difficult. But he is successful.

First, Smooth degrades the world of the Manhattan elite. A world of Park Avenue, private clubs and Princeton. This is the world where Thomas Gilbert, Jr. – Tommy – grew up. He is the son of two bright financiers, Thomas Gilbert, Sr. – Tom – and Shelley.

Growing up, Tommy attended prestigious private schools and was successful, both academically and athletically. He’s the title of “golden boy.” Everything is given to him and fortunately. He shows great potential.

Then things change. While the problems seem to be reaching their peak in Princeton, it is clear that Tommy’s mental problems begin much earlier. At Deerfield Academy, the exclusive private school he attended, he claims his roommate is polluted. He dreams that his father is harassing him. He begins a wide range of psychiatric treatment.

But deep inside Tommy Gilbert’s head, seeds of anxiety and paranoia rotted. He began to develop irrational fears for his father and some of his classmates. He experienced social anxiety and became increasingly insecure.

Years later, Tommy wanted to tell a psychiatrist that in sixth grade, something strange happened to his brain during a bus ride with a friend. He would describe it as the first time he experienced mental problems and had no idea why.

“I did not feel like myself,” he explained. “It simply came to our notice then. It was alarming because I immediately lost social skills. Luckily, my friend was listening to music at the time, so I did not have to talk to him. ”

He also began to dream that his father was sadistically harassing him – and vice versa. In a recurrence, he kicked his father and yelled at him to stop disturbing him.

In another, he was eating potato chips when his father suddenly grabbed them out of his hand and started yelling at him for no reason.

By that time, Tommy told the psychiatrist, he had loved his father, and they had shared a good relationship.

This is where the story becomes enormously frustrating – and where Glatt professionally weaves together questions about mental health and privilege.

Several times Tommy goes together. He is clearly rudderless. He’s clearly lying. He is clearly taking illegal drugs. Several psychiatrists / psychologists recommend institutionalization. But no one steps in and institutionalizes Tommy against his will. The argument goes something like: After seventy-two hours, Tommy can just check himself out, then he gets mad.

Dr. Spicer then wanted to force Tommy to a psychiatric hospital by force, but Gilberts was against it. In most states, including South Carolina, hospitals can only keep involuntary patients legally for seventy-two hours. Once the hold was lifted, they knew Tommy would immediately unload himself.

“It’s bad enough to have a mentally ill child in your hands,” Shelley explained. “It’s worse to have an angry mentally ill child.”

Bound to this argument is “What do people want to think?” Tommy himself is embarrassed about his mental background.

Maybe there should have been a trigger warning for me. As a child of mental health professionals, I almost yelled at the pages – as if anyone can hear you through the pages and years. But seventy-two hours, which can seem insignificant, are often (not always) enough to put the brakes on in some very dangerous situations. Tommy, before the murder of his father, violently threatened a country club employee, attacked a friend and set fire to this friend’s house.

But instead of putting him on a 72-hour team, his family gave him an allowance, paid Manhattan rent on multiple occasions, paid for his country club membership, insisted he became a member of the family business, and covered police reports for to save face. It is the perfect illustration of privilege.

It was clear that I was frustrated. But Glatt is more sympathetic as a writer than I seem to be as a reader.

Great frustration is the name of the game during the trial, which took three competency hearings, two law firms and four years to get to. Glatt does a beautiful job of reproducing the step-by-step process of getting Tommy Gilbert into the courtroom. Again, according to the section on recognition, Glatt began work on this book in 2015 – and it took years of research, interviews and “following the labyrinthine path through a series of hearings” to provide a graceful portrait of the intricate maneuvers and motives of all parties to this. sag.

Golden Boy: A Murder Among the Manhattan Elite brings to the fore two aspects of American life that we struggle with – privileges and mental health stigmas. Through thorough investigative research and empathy for all involved, John Glatt has managed to present these complicated matters in an exciting, captivating tale.

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