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Are You There Alone?: The Unspeakable Crime of Andrea Yates
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Are You There Alone?: The Unspeakable Crime of Andrea Yates

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  839 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
On a June morning in a Houston suburb, a 911 dispatcher questioned the caller on the other end of the line: "ARE YOU HAVING A DISTURBANCE?"




It took a jury less than four hours to find Houston housewife Andrea Yates guilty of the drowning deaths of three of her five children -- and a mere half hour to sentence
Paperback, 432 pages
Published May 24th 2005 by Pocket Star Books (first published January 6th 2004)
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True Crime
486 books — 499 voters
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41 books — 11 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jennifer Wardrip
Nov 24, 2012 Jennifer Wardrip rated it it was amazing
To be honest, I was very hesitant to even read this book. Like most people, when Andrea Yates killed her five children by drowning them in the family's bathtub, the only information I knew was what I heard from the media. I almost immediately formed my own opinion -- Andrea Yates was evil. So it took me awhile to open my mind to the fact that there could be more to the story.

Once I started reading ARE YOU THERE ALONE? I absolutely could not read fast enough. This book is fascinating in delving i
Jan 11, 2009 Bunny rated it really liked it
This was an extraordinarily upsetting book. Not just because of the death of those beautiful kids, but because this poor woman showed so many freaking signs of mental damage, but no one cared to help her.

Extremely sad, and upsetting. People should read this before assuming that a woman having a hard time with her child/children is going to get over it.
Jul 17, 2007 peg rated it really liked it
Shelves: truecrime, psychology
Infanticide cannot be tolerated by any civilized society. It is one of the most unnatural and heinous crimes one can commit. What drives a parent to commit such crimes can only originate from the depths of the hell of disparing mental illness. This book forces its reader to take a look at the prodromal signs Andrea Yates exhibited prior to murdering her children and points out startling evidence that these murders could have been prevented had Ms Yates received proper psychiatric care. We can po ...more
Maureen Mantrop-utterback
Jun 10, 2012 Maureen Mantrop-utterback rated it it was amazing
read this because I lived in Clear Lake City where this happened. I know people have all sorts of opinions about what happened, but I have to say that after reading this book, her husband should have been tried as well as her. Her story is incrediably tragic. This is not written from her point of view, either.
O'Malley is a good writer, and she was skillfully able to keep from sensationalizing this story - she focused on the many mental health aspects, and, regardless of how you feel about Andrea Yates when you begin this book, you'll come away from it shaking your head at the mental health system in the United States.

My only gripe is that O'Malley constantly second guesses the lawyers involved with the case. Unless I've missed something, O'Malley is not a lawyer, and since she wasn't privy to most o
Jul 12, 2012 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
How could a person - a mother - do such a horrid thing???? Suzanne O'Malley did a nice job of shedding light on Andrea Yates, her condition and how this tragedy was able to unfold right before everyone's eyes. I read this in an effort to try to understand why.... Still don't know "why" but definitely understand mental illness more and the dangers of complacency and denial in dark situations. Very sad and tragic, but hope in some small way Andrea's story can help someone else reach out for help o ...more
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
A just about to finish this book and I think that am justified to write something about it.
Andrea Yates Killed her five children. That is the bottomline. The question is whether she had the intention to murder the children. I have noted that there was sufficient evidence to show that Andrea Yates was mentally sick. She was suffering from, am told. Postpartum Disorder. She had both visual and auditory hallucination. She believed that she was saving her children at the time she was drowning them.
Bookmarks Magazine

O'Malley brings dignity to the true crime genre with Are You There Alone?. Through her in-depth research, interviews, and personal correspondence, O'Malley exposes the history of Yates's mental illness, attempted suicides, and the medical system that failed her. She asserts that if Yates had received a proper diagnosis and appropriate medical treatment, her children might still be alive today. While some critics found O'Malley's writing tedious, most were impressed with her exhaustive details, a

Mar 16, 2010 Lennie rated it did not like it
I've read several true-crime books and ARE YOU THERE ALONE? has to be my least favorite. The author, who also happens to be a reporter, does just that, she reports the crime of Andrea Yates (the mother who drowned her five children in a bathtub) in such a way, that it feels like you're reading a police report (just the facts, m'am) rather than a non-fiction book. It would have been nice if she could have included a personal/human angle to this story so that the reader could have had a better und ...more
Terry Russler
Sep 13, 2011 Terry Russler rated it it was amazing
I would have never believed that the US court system would not see such a blatant mental health crisis in Andrea but this book is a prime example of how sad the mental health system is in the US. My heart went out to Andrea Yates and her poor children... Thank God her convition was over-turned in 2006 and she is now being treated in a mental hospital and not living her life in a prison (reality, she is her prison). I have read this book at leat 4 times and still get information from it.
Apr 05, 2012 Jennifer rated it liked it
Mental illness is real, and though I don 't condone her actions, my heart is saddened by all the signs that were missed. If only those many times that she and her husband had sought help had been realized ... seven lives may have been spared.
Retnadi Nur'aini
Apr 22, 2011 Retnadi Nur'aini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Aku bertanya-tanya, apakah duka memiliki kapasitas tertentu? Sebanyak apa yang bisa Anda tanggung?” (Russel ‘Rusty’ Yates, halaman 401)

Pada suatu siang di musim panas tahun 1989, Rusty sedang menuruni tangga menuju kolam renang di kediamannya, Sunscape Apartments. Matanya menangkap sesosok gadis bertubuh ramping mengapung di kolam renang. Gadis itu sangat cantik. “Peri air”, demikian Rusty menjuluki gadis yang bernama Andrea Pia Kennedy.

Empat tahun kemudian, mereka menikah. Namun seperti banyak
May 04, 2013 Carol rated it it was amazing
This book had me waffling many times between anger at Andrea Yates, for her brutal drowning of her five children, and anger at her husband, Rusty, for doing nothing, or almost nothing, so it seemed, to help his wife. The medical community was another entity that won a lot of my anger for their seemingly misdiagnoses or faulty treatment of Andrea Yates throughout the years that she battled mental illness.

The main character, Andrea Yates, does not say much in Are You There Alone? Throughout almost
Jul 31, 2015 Sammantha rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: True Crime readers
First off I have to say how I felt before reading this book. I got this at the library. I recently found out about Andrea Yates even though the crime happened in 2001. I was watching a documentary on Netflix called "Crimes of the Century" and Andrea Yates was one of them. I was very appalled by this crime. How can you murder all five of your children? How?! She was found not guilty by reason of insanity and so she'll spend her days at North Texas State Hospital. My opinion is she needed the deat ...more
Feb 10, 2016 Marissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book surprised me with how excellent it was. I was expecting a typical run through of the horrific events of the crime, with lots of shaming of Andrea, particularly because it was released before her successful appeal, but I was very wrong in that assumption. The author builds an excellent timeline of the Yates' lives together up to the tragic murder of their children, and follows through to after Andrea's first trial and guilty verdict. Suzanne O'Malley goes to great lengths to accurately ...more
Indarpati Indarpati
Adakah buku sejenis ini di Indonesia? Rasa-rasanya tak ada. Padahal banyak kasus serupa terjadi di negara kita misal yang di Malang dan Bandung. Mungkin karena masyarakat kita tidak lebih melek soal penyakit mental serta pengobatannya.
Suzanne cukup dalam mengupas soal penyakit Andrea yang sebabnya bermuara pada depresi setelah melahirkan ini. Dia banyak juga mengupas kehidupan sekitar Andrea. Dengan gaya feature memikat, buku ini lumayan juga sebagai penambah pengetahuan tentang penyakit2 mental
Aug 26, 2012 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Why give a book like this a five star review? Because it opened my eyes to how sick this woman was at the time of the tragic death of her five children by her own hands. I held so much judgement against Andrea Yates when I first heard this story in the news. I am so glad I picked up this book because it opened my eyes and heart to how the medical community and others let this poor woman fall through the cracks. I am in NO way condoning what she did. It was horrible and tragic. But before you jud ...more
Wow! I never imagined how mentally disturbed this young woman was. That by no means excuses the actions of Andrea Yates who drowns her five children in the bath tub in order for them to gain their "salvation." This book offers an intriguing look into her motivations and thoughts. It makes you question her doctors, her family, and those who were around her on a daily basis to allow her the opportunity to be alone with the children. This book would drag at times and is not the best true crime book ...more
Jul 21, 2012 Kellie rated it it was amazing
Suzanne O'Malley did a wonderful job of researching and following a story well past its modern day media "shelf life." I was often surprised as I realized what I thought I knew about this case, was often wrong. This is a book that I have recommended to many others - who are often shocked to have THIS be recommended. But anyone who has read it after I recommended it has come back to tell me that they too found it to be worth their time.
May 17, 2010 Eileen rated it really liked it
I was completely disgusted with the state of mental health care, as well as the first jury's complete bias. The book was truly a wake up call regardless of how well it was written, amd it was written with obvious insight and knowledge. I just wish there was an epilogue or update regarding the subsequent not guilty by reason of insanity verdict. A horrific crime, but a sad And very very ill defendant...I praise her attorneys.
Nov 14, 2011 Brenda rated it liked it
This is a story about Andrea Yates (convicted/sentenced to life in prison in Texas) of murdering her 5 young children (ages ranged from 2 months to 7 years) as she struggled with mental health. During the leading up to the deaths, there were a lot of issues/disprencies regarding the lack of care Yates received and how little is known/discussed about postpartum depression and/or postpartum psychosis.

Oh My God! Ibu ini sadis sekali T_T kasihan anak-anaknya ;_;. Depresi sekali tapi jangan gitu juga Bu, tega amat sama anak-anaknya, malah ada yang ditemukan dibak kamar mandi ;_; huaaaa... Suaminya juga kasian ngadepin isteri yang terlalu Depresi, Frustasi dan lain sebagainya...
Apakah di Indonesia ada kejadian seperti ini? woaaahhh
Jun 04, 2011 Krystin rated it really liked it
Shelves: already-read
I read this book a year or so ago and actually enjoyed it. I am usually into true crime bc it intrigues me, not bc i think it's cool. I don't know how she could do something so sick as to kill her children, but i wanted to know her story.
Jun 09, 2010 Sara rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010
The cover of the mass-market edition paperback contains one of the most well-designed, creepiest visual effects I've ever seen on a book: when you look at the front of the book from a certain angle (in florescent light, at least; I never took it outside), Andrea Yates just disappears.
Jul 03, 2015 Alaina rated it really liked it
Mental illness... Something that is so hard to understand. But it is very real. I am very sensitive to mental people with mental illness. I feel bad for all parties involved in this case.
Jody Phillips
May 29, 2012 Jody Phillips rated it liked it
This was a compelling and hard book to read. The author did a through job, but it was such an ugly topic I would find it difficult to reccommend to others.
Jun 28, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: with-susan
Very good true crime. Explores the backstory of Andrea, and her illness. Raises a question of what to do when "justice" isnt enough....
Jun 30, 2012 Michelle rated it it was amazing
WOW what an insight to Andrea Yates and the tragic event that left the world in shock. Great read and highly recommend for true crime fans. Could not put this down!
Lisa Nevin
Dec 01, 2008 Lisa Nevin rated it it was amazing
Andrea Yates was mentally ill and it was incredibly sad that the system failed both her and her children. The writing was on the wall but no one was reading it.
Jul 26, 2011 Amy added it
It was good up until the 100+ page chapter on the trial... then I had to force myself to finish it.
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