I originally published this post as a straight book review, but I had to come back and edit. It wouldn’t let me go. I am that fucking angry.
This is a bitter, angry book. It needs a trigger warning sticker: “Incest and Rape Survivors Will Be Blamed and Shamed.”
I should note that I found this book because I read Ann Rule’s book. Her account left a lot of questions (because I’m smart enough to read and comprehend) and I Googled the Spellbound to see if there was anything more to know. This story of the inconsistencies and the search for the truth was intriguing. That part of it was the only reason I kept reading and I still almost didn’t finish the book. What really drew me in was my fascinated horror at the treatment of the third victim on that boat.
Seriously. I was gobsmacked by the attitude toward Kerry. What is it about this that the author doesn’t get? She ended that voyage with a life-threatening head injury. Two other people were apparently murdered. Is it that much of a stretch to surmise someone tried to kill her, too? She had obviously been through something horrific. She was obviously frightened to talk about it. Yet, all I read was constant browbeating about “justice for Mom and Dad” and the author’s incessant, “I deserve to know.” What about what happened to her? Does justice for the dead trump compassion and justice for the living? Did anyone remember that she’d lost her parents too? Did it ever occur to the author that Kerry suffered nightmares and PTSD worse than he did? Did it occur to anyone that she needed to be cared for and reassured instead of berated? No wonder she refused to talk about it. No wonder she let contact with her family be lost. My God, that poor girl.
I’m trying to cut some slack here, I really am. I’d be angry too, if my parents died violently under suspicious circumstances and I could never be sure what happened. I’d be frustrated too, with a broken criminal justice system. I’d be grieving too, with my parents gone and my family dissolved into ugly infighting.
Factoid 1: It doesn’t matter if a woman voluntarily slept with 100 different guys last week. If guy #101 rapes her, it’s rape.
Factoid 2: It doesn’t matter if a woman voluntarily slept with the same guy 100 times, whether anyone else approves or not. If she says “no” for the 101st time and he forces her, that’s rape.
Like I said, I was trying to feel compassion for the author, but it’s really difficult when I see how he takes all his negativity out on everyone around him. He chose to shame and blame a woman, an apparent rape victim, by flinging her alleged sexual history around, which has nothing to do with being raped, and wanting to “slap the little bitch” because she was terrified of what would happen if she testified, and blaming her for the lack of criminal proceedings against the prime suspect, in print. Reprehensible.
This book should have been written by someone with the ability to be objective, with a lot less purple prose and a lot more compassion for the third victim of that deadly voyage. I’m so sorry I read it. Pages and pages of oh-poor-me whining about his biological mother and who owed him money but didn’t pay it back and who else decided to write a book about this whole mess (which I found online, don’t bother, it’s pap, and it treats Kerry the same way, albeit with slightly more subtlety), the condescending and contemptuous attitude toward virtually everyone involved, the drinking, the temper tantrums, the family feuds. Add in the ugly way Kerry was treated by those who should have cared for her, and I’m left utterly disgusted and feeling like I need a bath with Brillo pads.
I do hope everyone involved finds peace. Including the author. Especially Kerry. But I do not recommend this book.