DAY OF FURY by Joyce Egginton


The Story of the Tragic Shootings That Forever Changed the Village of Winnetka
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 Here, Egginton (From Cradle to Grave, 1989, etc.) delivers true crime at its best: horrific events, page-turning suspense, fully drawn characters, and a culminating sense of the tragic significance of it all. Egginton's subject is the rampage of Laurie Dann, a deranged young woman who on May 20, 1988, entered the Hubbard Woods elementary school in Winnetka, Ill., and opened fire on classrooms of children, killing one child and severely wounding four others. Dann then fled to a nearby house, shot one of the occupants, and committed suicide. Last year's Murder of Innocence, by Joel Kaplan, George Papajohn, and Eric Zorn, also dealt with this crime, but unlike that book, which focused mainly on Dann's tormented character and history, Egginton's has a more ambitious aim: to describe the effects of the shootings on the people involved, on the entire community of Winnetka, and on the nation. With novelistic fullness, Egginton enters into the lives of the many touched by the violence: teachers, parents, children; the army of policemen, clergy, and social workers called upon to manage the crisis; the medical personnel who treated the dead and wounded children. Common to all was the experience of being shaken on a primal level: The violence against children was an assault on their most basic sense of rightness and sanity. Egginton details the effects on community members: their defensive self-isolation within a ``trauma envelope,'' the need to find a scapegoat and their surprising choices, the elevation of the dead and wounded children and their families to a kind of sainthood. The overall meaning that Egginton distills is that Dann's ``day of fury'' robbed Winnetkans and Americans alike of the illusion that safety is possible in our society, that even with sufficient money, privilege, and vigilance violent crime can be kept away. Penetrating and chilling.

Pub Date: July 15th, 1991
ISBN: 0-688-09085-0
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1991