A painstaking and meticulous exploration of all the facts and conjectures surrounding a disturbing case.

TO THE BRIDGE

A TRUE STORY OF MOTHERHOOD AND MURDER

A deep probe into why a mother murdered her child.

On May 23, 2009, why did Amanda Stott-Smith drop her 4-year-old son, Eldon, and 7-year-old daughter, Trinity, off the middle of a bridge and into the Willamette River more than 90 feet below? (Trinity survived, but Eldon was killed.) That was the nagging question that prompted Rommelmann (Transportation, 2013, etc.) to investigate the years leading up to that moment and the fallout that changed the lives of so many in just a few seconds. The author has thoroughly researched the incident and bolsters her analysis with interviews with friends, family members from both sides of the children’s family, Stott-Smith’s legal counsel, and others, revealing a twisted tale of abuse and victimization, drug dependency, affairs, and revenge. Stott-Smith and her husband, Jason, the father of Eldon and Trinity, did not have an ideal relationship by any means, with physical, emotional, and verbal abuse coming from both sides of the marriage. The children, including Stott-Smith’s older son by a previous relationship, were often caught in the middle of their parents’ arguments and suffered greatly for it. Extended family members meddled in the couple’s business, increasing the animosity on all sides, and Jason’s drug use and control issues added more layers to a complex situation. A friend at the time said that Stott-Smith “lived a classic abused life, more mental than physical…Jason controlled her like a communist….He didn’t want her to go anywhere or do anything. She was a prisoner.” Rommelmann’s presentation of all the details, although at times repetitious and overworked, is also unrelenting, as she builds her case toward an almost empathetic end given the emotional and psychological state Stott-Smith was in at the time of the incident.

A painstaking and meticulous exploration of all the facts and conjectures surrounding a disturbing case.

Pub Date: July 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4842-2

Page Count: 324

Publisher: Little A

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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