How I Read It: Print
Dates Read: 4/4/19-4/11/19
This one is a doozie. It is so incredibly good but dark and heavy. I truly love the thrill of the book. We follow the trial of Elizabeth Ward for the arson and deaths of Kitt Kozlowski and Henry Ward. But this story isn’t as simple as the prosecutor and defense attorney think. The farther you read, the more you find out about the story and how the lives of all these victims are involved.
So this one is super cool for a couple of reasons: 1) We actually hear what is said in court, how the jury is affected by the witnesses on the stand, and how easily we can flip flop as bits and pieces of information are disseminated to us. To see how easily these attorneys can flip something that was supposed to be strong evidence for the opposition into evidence for their side is mind blowing, and such an incredibly cool way to confuse the reader. And 2) We get to see tiny sections of a day and try to piece together the sections until we can get our own clear picture. So not only are we seeing what is presented in court, but we are seeing the truth come out in bits and pieces through flashbacks.
I personally find this whole story really interesting because it delves into the idea of mental health and how far a parent will go in order to give their child the best chance at life (and what best chance means). This isn’t something that I ever think about because I am not a parent, nor have I ever been in a position (thank God) where I was in a chronic medical situation. But this opens up a door for Munchausen by proxy (P.S. The Act on Hulu is soooooo good and is a classic example of MBP (no idea if that is actually an initial for it, but I made it one!), and how much MBP can hurt a child) and the ethical question of at what point do you keep going or at what point do you give up.
I also think this book begs the question of loyalty. At what point do you choose to stand behind the people you love/trust, what are you willing to do to stand behind them? Are you willing to lie? Are you willing to sacrifice yourself for them? Or do you remove yourself from the situation entirely? The theme of loyalty and guilt in this book is opens a philosophical debate that I could talk about for hours (pray for my dad because he probably will hear all of it).
So if you can’t guess, I would probably give this book 5 out of 5. (P.S. this book does talk about abuse, rape, and arson, so if these are triggers, be prepared) If you have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!