Happy Tuesday Readers! This week I managed to get to both a new release and a book that I’ve been meaning to read for a while. Here’s a look at what I read this week:
This is the third book in a series about Constance Kopp, one of the nation’s first female deputy sheriff’s. The first book, Girl Waits with Gun, is definitely where you should start if you want to check out this series. I liked that it is set in New Jersey, where I live. It’s interesting to read about what life was like in NJ and America in general for women during the early 1900’s. The author does a great job of mixing facts about the Kopp sisters with fictional storylines. All three of the sisters are great characters, each one unique, but all three independent and strong in her own way. I hope there will be more books to come in this series.
This book is not for the faint of heart. The author combines memoir with true crime, and there were parts of both that made me put down the book and walk away several times. During the summer after her first year at law school, Marzano-Lesnevich works as an intern at a law firm that specializes in reversing death penalty verdicts. The author considers herself to be anti-death penalty, but the case of Ricky Langley, a pedophile and confessed child murderer, leaves her questioning her beliefs.
Over the course of the book, the author tells the story of Ricky’s life, from before he was born, through the molestation of children and the eventual murder of one, and his life in prison afterwards. In alternating chapters, she tells the story of her life, which parallels that of Ricky’s victims.
Why read a book on such a gruesome and horrifying topic? Quite simply, once I started, I just could not stop. The writing is so good; the author tells the stories in a mostly chronological order, but every once in a while, slips in a memory or a nugget of information out of order, or hints at an event to come. I thought this book would be about one woman’s thought process regarding the death penalty, but it’s about a lot more than that. Although there is no doubt that Ricky Langley killed the little boy he was convicted of murdering, there are so many different versions of what happened. Marzano-Lesnevich tackles the question of truth, and whether or not we can ever really know the entire truth about a situation or person. She takes on the idea of forgiveness, and also not forgiving someone, but still loving them anyway.
I had complicated feelings about several people in this book, particularly the author’s parents. Although dealt many blows by a difficult life, I feel that they did not do enough to protect their daughters and they came away as fairly unlikeable people and neglectful parents. However, if there’s one thing that the author stresses in the book, it’s that you can never really understand what another person is going through, or what causes them to act in a certain way. If you can stomach the horrible content of this book, it is well worth reading, as it will make you think long after you finish reading it.
Up next, it’s time to read something a little lighter. Have a great week!