Thursday, May 12, 2016

Forgiving My Daughter's Killer

Hi again. BookLook Bloggers provided this volume free in return for a review. 

This book is written by the mother whose teenage daughter was murdered by the daughter's teenage boyfriend. Nancy French, a co-writer of various conservative leaning books, helped. We hear the voice of the middle aged mom, who provides a very personal look inside her family and pain (at one point, she even explains her inability to have sex with her husband after the shooting). French also contributed to a Q&A at the end with the killer himself. 

The book is about family, faith and restorative justice. The author and her husband are the co-founders of the Ann Grosmaire (her daughter) "Be the Change" Fund, a charitable fund to promote forgiveness and restorative justice.  This is a form of justice that is based on three principles: crime is the violation of people and of interpersonal relationships, violations create obligations on the part of the offender and the central obligation is to right the wrongs. It fits in with the author's Catholic/Christian faith (her and her husband practicing different forms of Christianity over their lives) as well as being valuable to the victims as well as hopefully those who commit the crimes.  

It is a very good book though obviously hard to read, especially early on when basically it is waiting game for Ann to die (perhaps, this provides everyone a chance to get ready better in some small way).  Early on, though it isn't easy particularly for the father, the parents were open to forgive the killer.  I think the fact they knew him, there was some expectation he would actually marry Ann, factored in here.  Plus, the author (Kate) herself experienced death before -- as a child, her brother accidentally killed someone with their father's gun.  Still, her empathy is remarkable on some level, clearly, though there are other accounts of people who forgave a killer without having a personal connection with them beforehand.  I think some can "relate" with her a bit more on that end. Some might say "I couldn't do this" all the same.

The book tells a remarkable story as well as (without being heavy-handed or let's say overly angelic) talking about her faith through all of this tragedy.  It is well written and overall reads like a novel. 

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