SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE by Sheila Weller

SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE

The Untold Story Behind the Alex Kelly Rape Case: Growing Up Rich and Out of Control

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Weller, the author of bestsellers on O.J. Simpson and Amy Fisher, offers a great deal of information, some of it stunning and not widely known, about another high-profile case: that of Alex Kelly, the one-time star high-school athlete recently found guilty of rape. Last June, Kelly was convicted of one 1986 rape, and he is scheduled to be tried next month on another rape charge. But Weller also unearths several other women in the young man's hometown, Darien, Conn., who say that Kelly raped them, or attempted to, and other sources corroborated their stories to Weller. His violent pathology is all the more disturbing for how it was supported by the people around him because he was a star wrestler. Kelly was also a drug addict who assured his teachers, parents, and coaches that he was cured even when there was evidence to the contrary, and a daredevil party animal admired by other boys. Weller sketches quite convincingly a culture in which being wealthy and male could excuse an enormous amount of cruelty: Darien is the kind of suburban town where sexism and status-obsession seem particularly intense. But though Weller's analysis seems on-target and her reporting generally thorough, her constant rush to judgment can be intrusive. It's hard not to have a strong reaction to Kelly's crimes and to the criminal indulgence of his parents, who helped him escape judgment for seven years. But Weller can be harsh on others whose offenses seem far less serious, for instance, broadly indicting the spoiled and badly behaved teenagers of Darien. And she muddies her story with her focus on the actions of ``lax, licentious,'' or divorced couples who let their offspring run wild, since, as she admits, the Kellys ``did not fit [that] bill.'' Solid reporting and social analysis, though a more neutral, less judgmental tone would have served the writer well. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-671-01437-4
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1997




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