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If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister's Story of Love, Murder, and Liberationby Janine Latus
Synopses & Reviews
In April 2002, Janine Latus's youngest sister, Amy, wrote a note and taped it to the inside of her desk drawer: "Today Ron Ball and I are romantically involved, but I fear I have placed myself at risk in a variety of ways." That same spring Janine was struggling to leave her marriage, to a handsome and successful man--a marriage in which she felt afraid, controlled, inadequate, and trapped. Ten weeks later, Janine had left her marriage when she learned Amy was missing. It took more than two weeks to find Amy's body, and two years to convict her former boyfriend for her murder. Haunted, Janine turned her journalistic eye inward. How did two seemingly well-adjusted, successful women end up in physically or emotionally abusive relationships with men? The resulting book traces the roots of her own--and her sister's--victimization with unflinching candor, a heart-wrenching journey of discovery.--From publisher description.
"At age 37, Janine Latus's younger sister, Amy, was strangled to death by her live-in boyfriend, bundled in a plastic tarp and buried beside a remote country road. It was a wretched end to a too-short life, one frequently marked by disappointment, sadness and struggle. In the hands of a less gifted writer, Amy's story might stand only as an encomium or a cautionary tale: a glimpse into the life of one abused woman, representative of thousands like it. But Latus weaves a double strand. Part memoir, part biography, the book (which grew out of an article in O Magazine) explores Latus's own relationships with abusive men — and her eventual emancipation from a marriage riven by emotional and physical violence. Latus has a spare, economical style, softened by an undercurrent of humor and marked by a total absence of self-pity. When on a ski vacation, a boyfriend brutally beats her, breaking several of her ribs and her nose — and then makes love to her, in a twisted form of penance — Latus doesn't wince in the retelling. She lets ambiguities and contradictions abide: she loved her husband, even as he humiliated and hurt her. Had things been slightly different, she seems to say, she — and not Amy — might have perished at the hands of her partner. Unforgettable, unsentimental and profoundly affecting, Latus's book resonates long after the final page is turned." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Janine Latus is a freelance writer, radio commentator, and regular speaker on domestic abuse issues. She has also taught writing and journalism at several universities and is on the board of directors of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She lives in Virginia. If I Am Missing or Dead is her first book.
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