Review: The Fact of a Body, by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

The Fact of a Body Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Nonfiction, Biography, True Crime

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The Fact of a Body is the true story of the murder of little Jeremy by Ricky Langley, a strange young man who’s a convicted pedophile. It merges with the story of the author, who was an intern in the law firm working on Langley’s defense after the first trial, which sentenced him to death. Alex is strongly against the death penalty her whole life, but finds herself struggling with her own history. For the first time, she wants a man dead.

This was a difficult book to get through at times, in the sense that the theme of child abuse (especially molestation) is so very recurrent and graphic. This made me wince and felt quite heavy to read about. I considered putting it down several times, but in the end I was entranced by the story and wanted to see where it was going. If you hate open endings, maybe skip this one – it’s not that it leaves you in a frustrating note, but it leaves margin for interpretation and I didn’t really know what to make of Ricky Langley in the end. Not a good person, that is for SURE. But how much of what he did or said was true, we might never know. Continue reading

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Review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, by Michelle McNamara

ill be gone in the dark michelle mcnamara

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Nonfiction, Biography, True Crime

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I heard amazing things about this book, written by the author of the blog http://truecrimediary.com/, which deals with never-solved cold cases. Michelle died in 2016, and this book was published after being put together from what she’d written plus her notes. The author has a matter-of-factly but tactful voice. She makes the point to make the victims the center of the story, and doesn’t deal with the crimes with morbid curiosity. She aims not to glamorize the murderer, and I think she did that very well. Continue reading

eARC Review: Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover

educated tara westoverRating: ★★★★★

Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction

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I have received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This powerful, gripping memoir must have been one of the strongest books I’ve ever read. Educated is Tara’s story, her life in a survivalist Mormon family, and then her education which eventually led her to Cambridge and to discover so many things she never knew.

The violence, the power of denial and the acceptance of what was normal within such a world struck me deeply, my heart beating fast as I read some parts of it. It literally took my appetite away at least twice. This story grips your attention, demanding, honest. There are parts where I sighed, sad for the author’s beliefs as a kid, the things she went thought unquestioning their wrongness. I had to make several pauses between chapters, the power of this story so enthralling it put me in an anxious mood more than once.

TW: abuse, violence, gaslighting, toxic family relationship.

Review: A River in Darkness, by Masaji Ishikawa

A River in the Darkness Masaji IshikawaRating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Non-fiction, Memoir

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Half-Japanese and half-Korean Masaji Ishikawa lived a poor and hard life in Japan with his family, angry at his violent father and feeling like an outsider. Then, when he’s thirteen, his family moves to North Korea, in search of a better life – the promises of free education, abundance of jobs and free access to doctors lures them. They soon find out the depth of the lies of the propaganda, and life gets much, much harder. Masaji tells the story of his life in “paradise on earth”, and its brutality, the endless hunger, poverty and cruelty and his escape 36 years later. Continue reading