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Outside Valentine

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  306 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Liza Ward's spellbinding first novel is told from the very different points of view of three narrators mysteriously linked by a shocking crime and their efforts to heal the past. Based on the Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate murders in Nebraska in the 1950s, Outside Valentine examines the effects of violence and the power of love as the three voices interweave and ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Picador (first published 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 501)
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Nancy (NE)
I'm not sure this book belongs in the non-fiction category. I was about half way through when I realized the author is the granddaughter of the Lincoln couple that was murdered. Ward has taken a tragic real life event and somewhat fictionalized it. Changed the names of the characters, not covered all the details. She writes from three perspectives = one of the perpetrators, Caril Ann Fugate, the Lincoln couple's son, and the son's wife. I was curious how much the figures in Liza Ward's story wer ...more
Ron
Ward's storytelling is something like Alice Hoffman's, with darker moments out of Joyce Carol Oates. There are long internal passages as characters think, feel, and wonder restlessly, yearning for love, attention, someone - anyone - to care about them and lift the veil of loneliness surrounding them. When they talk to each other, they seldom say what they really mean. Their world is frozen like the deep Nebraska winter of 1958, in which the Starkweather murders take place.

The theme of loneliness
...more
Deereads
Really enjoyed the style of writing and I liked the movement from character to character. I couldn't put it down. I loved how things ended in the last chapter.
Gracey
2.5 stars This book tried a little too hard for me. It was also even more upsetting than I expected from the subject matter. Not bad, per se, just too much.
Jane
This book is what I guess you'd call "fact-based fiction", based on the Charles Starkweather/Caril Ann Fugate killing spree in Nebraska in 1958.

It is told from the point of view of Caril, Lowell (son of two of the victims), and Susan (a young girl who is obsessed with the murders and later marries Lowell). It tells how the murders affected families, friends, and neighbors for generations after they took place.

I remember these events well since I lived only about 20 miles away from Lincoln. I was
...more
Robert Beveridge
Liza Ward, Outside Valentine (Henry Holt, 2004)

Outside Valentine is pretty much tailor-made for me. I'm a sucker for the subject matter (three stories paralleling the killing spree of Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate), the book was released by a major press but dropped off the radar after getting almost no publicity at all, and a whole lot of critics liked it a whole lot. And yet I've spent the last couple of years trying to get myself to like it and failing miserably. It's not that the
...more
Darci
Oct 10, 2008 Darci rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like true-crime fiction
I didn't realize this was based on a real-life tragedy, but the idea that this story did actually happen sends chills down my spine. This is completely different than most books I read, and the story reminded me of Monster, because it seemed like these two killers simply got ahead of themselves and didn't have any way to get out of the muck they'd dug their wheels into. it was interesting, and certainly a good read, but I just can't fall in love with stories that depress me and have no good rede ...more
Joanne
This was an interesting book. I was 16 years old when the Charles Starkweather/Caril Fugate rampage took place, and it traumatized me. Growing up in a small town in Eastern Colorado I related to the story completely.
I didn't realize until later when I googled some research that Liza Ward is actually a granddaughter of the couple that was murdered in Lincoln, Nebraska. She changed the names of the victims in the book, so I didn't pick up on the relationship. I would be interested if anyone felt
...more
Juliet
Another previously undiscovered gem from my bookshelves full of advanced reading copies. Atmospheric, tantalising, enchanting. A wonder of a novel, very enjoyable and exceptionally well written.
Mandy
The first book in quite a long time that I just cannot finish. This book seemed tailor-made for me. I love true crime, and this novel is based on the killing spree of Charlie Starkweather and Caril-Ann Fugate.
I really liked watching the film Badlands which is about the same subject.
But this book, I just can't do it. I couldn't care less about any of the characters, not one. It goes along in three different time-lines, and I hated every one of them.
This book has some high ratings, and lots of pra
...more
Julia
When I started this book, I found it confusing, as the author wrote in the first person, but from three different characters point of view. It didn't take long for me to adjust to the differing voices, though, as they were very distinctive. As I reached the last half of the book, I found it hard to put down.

Much of the material was frightening to read, but was written with so much honesty and realism that it was riveting. I only wish that Susan had been more developed as an adult. I kept wonder
...more
Allison M.
Was a good book. Before I had read it, I had known nothing about the murders that happened in Nebraska and Wyoming.
Michelle
Dark and cold, just like the cover. A fictionalized account of a true crime (murders in 1958; didn't know this was based on a real even until I finished the book). It took me a long time to get into the shifting narrative; and even longer to latch onto any of the characters. I didn't truly care about any of them until the very end of the book, and then only barely. There was a very detached feeling to the whole thing. Nonetheless the prose itself was quite lovely and I am glad to have read it.
Katherine Farren
I had no idea this novel was based on real life events! Had I known the murder story was true I may have been more intrigued. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the story of Starkweather and Fugate far more than the love story between the two main characters. I was disappointed by the ending. I was hoping for something much more dramatic or tragic to happen to the couple, just as Starkweather's and Fugate's fates were.
Jessica
Ward picks up where the typical mystery leaves off by exploring how the world continues to spiral out of control long after the perpetrators meet justice. Her language captures that mood of isolation and longing that she's going for and the sense of silent tragedy that comes from love gone cold. This one has much more to say about the nature of human relationships than a typical whodunit.
Bookmarks Magazine

Popular culture has engraved the Starkweather killings in successive generations' collective memory with Terrence Malick's 1973 film Badlands and Oliver Stone's 1994 Natural Born Killers. There's no dearth of nonfiction accounts, either. Ward, however, reinvents the subject in her first novel. Drawn from the murders of her well-to-do grandparents (parents of her father

Bethany
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cecilia
Dysfunctional relationships lay the foundation for this novel. Multiple, overlapping stories from different times over a 50 year period are woven together in the story. One of them is told from the point of view of Caril Ann Fugate famous for her involvement in the Starkweather serial killings. Interesting once you get involved in the story, which takes a bit of time.
Susan
I actually picked this book up at a dollar store, and couldn't believe how much I liked it, although it's quite different from what I normally read. Although it's fiction, it's based on true crime. These words inside the book jacket describe it better than I could: "Disturbing, bittersweet and lyrical ..." Well written, I recommend it.
Jen
Outside Valentine is a novel written by American author Liza Ward. It is a fictional account of the son of two of Starkweather's victims and how the brutal murders still haunt him into adulthood. Outside Valentine is Ward's 1st novel, and she is the granddaughter of two of Charles Starkweather's victims.
Beth Wilkins
This isn't my usual cup of tea, but Ward is such a good writer that I didn't get bored reading it. I don't normally like switching perspectives either, but unlike a lot of writers who use it Ward actually made each of the characters sound different. Recommend if you like dramatic reads.
Jen
Interesting and gripping novel based on the true life killing spree of a young man in America who goes on the run with his girlfriend. What I liked was how the story was told by 3 seemingly unconnected characters, whose stories come together at the end.
Sara
This was a book about the Starkweather killings in Nebraska. It's alright if you're into that sort of thing...or if you're into the whole three narrators converging thing too.
Laura
Good book, not my cup of tea exactly- literary suspense fiction. Based on the Starkweather Fugate killings that also spawned the very fine movie Badlands.
Lori Anderson
I thought it was just terrific. Skillfully weaving three voices into one story line, the author did a fabulous job of keeping my attention.
Marcela
The author was a local to Duxbury and I was working there at the time. I loved the suspence is this book. I rec reading it!
Amy
Nov 09, 2007 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Yes
Shelves: shelve-it
Awesome storytelling & good writing make this crime novel excellent. I fear this is her only book, but what a great ride it was.
Martha Johnson
Spooky and creepy. A good book for those who want to hear about a gruesome and odd murder story.
Corey
I didn't really like this book. I just couldn't get into it..I think it was the writing style.
Dee
A retelling of the Charles Starkweather murder spree.
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