Friday, March 2, 2012


I don't have children, so all this bad-parenting-that's-really-not-that-bad doesn't resonate with me at all.  This book is about a Columbine-style massacre in which the perpetrator lives to stand trial.  The time period oscillates between the time before and the time after the killing spree and focuses on the boy (Peter) who did the shooting and a girl (Josie) who survived the incident—and their culpable parents.  Josie and Peter were childhood playmates, but then Josie started dating one of the despicable guys who tormented Peter, and therefore Josie stopped intervening on his behalf.   The author is not extremely judgmental about the parents but certainly faults them for seeing only what they want to see in their little darlings.  Case in point:  Peter's older brother Joey died in a car accident caused by a drunk driver.  Peter's mother found heroin and needles in Joey's room after his death but didn't tell anyone, because she didn't want to taint Joey's perfect image.  Asked if Peter and Joey were close, the mother responded that Peter worshipped Joey, when, in fact, Joey had bullied Peter his entire life.  The main characters behaved badly at every juncture, and they all seemed to be outliers.  In other words, the story would be more plausible if characters like Matt, Josie's boyfriend, had at least one or two redeeming qualities.  My favorite characters were Peter's lawyer and his wife, who attempted to defend Peter as being a victim of something akin to battered woman syndrome.

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