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Facing the Wind Facing the Wind

3.34  ·  Rating Details ·  195 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Robert and Mary Rowe's second child, Christopher, was born with severe neurological and visual impairments. For many years, the Rowes' courageous response to adversity set an example for agroup of Brooklyn mothers who met to discuss the challenges of raising children with birth defects. Then Bob Rowe's pressures - professional and personal -- took their toll, and he fell i ...more
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Published June 12th 2001 by Random House (first published 2001)
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Rachelle Urist
TMI. (Too much information.) The story is gripping, but Salamon's approach to the telling is tedious. It made me wish for a straightforward newspaper article - one that Salamon herself could have written beautifully. She's a fine journalist (with a law degree from NYU, a detail she never includes in her book-cover bios), a thorough researcher, and a compassionate human being. But in her effort to understand this tragedy she tries to cover its every aspect. The result: much of it seems a series o ...more
Dec 29, 2012 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a sad story, even more so because it's true. Bob and Mary have three children, the middle of which suffers from neurologic deficits secondary to Mary contracting rubella during pregnancy. The initial portion of the story details how this family during the late 60's/early 70's manages to deal with the many obligations taking care of a disabled child, and how they do so with stamina and grace. It was particularly unusual for a man at that time to be so invested in the care of a challenged chi ...more
Feb 22, 2011 Shawna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Bob Rowe who murdered his wife and three children with a baseball bat. As I read, I wondered what separated him from a man like John List, another family annilator. Both men lied to the authorities to delay the discovery of their family's bodies. Rowe spent a couple of years in an institution for the criminally insane and then he proceeded to get on with his life, getting remarried and fathering another child. He never expressed remorse, always insisting it was the mental il ...more
Apr 01, 2008 Rochelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is very disturbing but also fascinating. Unfortunately, it is totally uneven. The parts that discuss the Rowe family and the support group for mothers of disabled children are gripping. I loved reading about the different mothers and how they handled raising their children. On the other hand, the parts about Bob Rowe's battle with the legal system to get his license to practice law back after murdering his family and then going to a mental hospital for only two years are not nearly as ...more
Apr 29, 2016 Gerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Salamon tells an incredible true story of a family -- a mother and three children -- killed by the father, who apparently suffered a breakdown under the stress of caring for their severely handicapped son, Christopher, and the financial and other pressures related to his loss of his job. The first part of the book, focusing on the Rowe family and their lives before and after Christopher’s birth, was beautifully written and resonated with memories of my own. The latter half, focusing on Bob Rowe’ ...more
Catherine Martin
Sep 13, 2014 Catherine Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of a man who had everything, a loving wife, three kids, and a good job. But, he lost his job and took over the day to day care of his disabled son and was overcome by severe depression and, in a fit of psychotic depression, killed his family but was unable to complete his own suicide. This is a fascinating look at the background of this man’s life, particularly life surrounding his disabled son, the situation surrounding the killing and the aftermath, and his attempt to put his ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 13, 2014 Ashley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Horrid writing style. So much useless information and hardly any real time spent on the murders.
Feb 02, 2013 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-stories
This book makes one think very thoughtfully about the concept of "forgiveness", particularly at a societal level. It is about a terrible true event: the husband/father goes temporarily insane under the stresses of life (had a severely disabled child; his high-paying, prestigious job of which he was an acknowledged expert was no longer needed and he could not find an equivalent role). Bob Rowe murders his family and attempts to kill himself (this is one area I question; I do believe he went insan ...more
Jul 26, 2008 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008july
Clearly, I'm generally a fiction reader. I'll cross genres and authors, ages and settings. But my heart belongs to the narrative.

My career, though, is as a journalist. So narrative journalism always intrigues me. I read a lot online, and when I run across a non-fiction tale that's written like fiction, I'm willing to give it a try.

The first third of Facing the Wind does the narrative thing very well. It's about a family, and the people close to them, with a severely disabled child. It tells thei
Apr 19, 2008 Rae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 28, 2011 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A truly heartwarming and horrific story of the struggles of mothers and families with children born with a physical or mental handicap or disability. Some of the children that are discussed truly break your heart. The father that is mainly discussed in the story - is the main purpose behind this story I believe. Mainly to show how such stress is related to dealing with these difficulties and what can trigger tragic events. They don't say in this story if the women involved with the story were th ...more
Jan 31, 2016 Mamatufy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The true story of a man who killed his entire family & got away with it &, even worse, went on to create another family. Insane is all I can think. This book explores all the safe guards that should have been there to protect the family from their so-called protector & eventual killer. A painful look into the ramifications of forgiveness & mental instability.
Astonishing true story of a family's struggles, a crime so horrific that it hardly seems believable, and a plea for forgiveness. Sensitively told and carefully reported. By the author of The Devil's Candy, the story of the total meltdown that happened during the making of the movie The Bonfire of the Vanities.
Jan 24, 2016 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was just an ok book. I wish she had stayed with the subject at hand and not gone into so much detail about the side story (friends of the couple, the support group, etc.). The book bogged down at times and I ended up just skimming through a lot of parts.
This is your typical boy meets girl, boy and girl raise family, boy kills everyone in the house with a baseball bat and successfully pleads insanity story. I avoided the true crime genre for some time, suspecting (correctly) that I'd enjoy it a little too much, but if you can handle it, this is very well done, readable without being hacky or trashy. The epilogue (consisting of the author's rather uncomfortable luncheon with members of the parental support group the ill-fated family in question o ...more
How does a loving father and husband kill his entire family? What causes a well regarded member of society to do something so horrendous? This is about Robert Rowe and one journalist's attempt to understand that. It's also about what it's like to raise special needs children and the mothers who supported each other as they struggled to give their kids the best life possible.
I never really understood the motive in the end, and as another reviewer mentioned, I don't believe that Salamon did eit
Jul 08, 2008 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Recommended in my current purse book, SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME, and it sounded promising, so.....

Interesting, but a bit dry. The story is actually an examination of a true crime combined with a story about a group of mothers with blind children. It was a fascinating combination, and I appreciated that the author didn't seem to take sides with either group. I'm not sure about the "Reconciliation" part of the title - I think it was more of an agreement to disagree.
Oct 18, 2012 K M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is interesting on so many levels- the dynamics of a family with a special-needs child, the interactions among their support group members, the exploration of the mind of someone who, seemingly, just snaps, and the legal system's response to issues of mental health.....there is just so much in this extensively researched book. The writer has taken a very sensitive issue, and without sensationalizing, created an engrossing, unforgettable narrative.
Sep 10, 2007 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not a reader of the "true crime" category, but picked this one up on the recommendation of a friend, and am glad I did. Quite a read! My book group was split 50/50 over this one---some people really liked it and some couldn't stand it. It IS hard to stomach the reality of what happens in the book. But the writing is very good, and the story moves you along with it. It certainly made me think---about a lot of issues. Things are not black and white.
Mary Beth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 13, 2008 Katrine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a perfect bookclub book. It is excellently written. The journalistic rather than fiction writing background of the author makes this heartbreaking story very readable. It is though provoking and so interesting to see, if read in a group, whether the readers can forgive or not.
Aug 23, 2012 Chamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Whoa!!! What a book!! I would say this is one of the most shocking books I've ever read and I think the author did a great job of offering many different angles to this story. I think this is a must read for any true crime entusiast. This is not for the feint of heart.
Jul 06, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spooky, true-life
Riveting story of a man who murders his family, then is found not guilty by reason of insanity. I couldn't put this down - but there were no pictures of the people involved in the story, which was disappointing.
Mar 07, 2009 Sheila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
A true story of a man who kills his family (wife and three children, one child of which is blind and disabled). The book included interviews with other mothers in a mom's group that the wife belonged to.
Ann Brooks
Mar 19, 2013 Ann Brooks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An important story about living the American Dream, and living the American Nightmare. It doesn't miss a beat.
May 18, 2008 Luann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sad, and true, story of a man who kills his family and his journey through life afterward.
David Quinn
Feb 27, 2011 David Quinn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story isn't for everyone but I found it riveting.
Jul 08, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Julie Salamon has written ten books in many genres, most recently Mutt's Promise, illustrated by Jill Weber. Their previous collaboration was Cat in the City. Julie's other books include New York Times bestsellers Wendy and the Lost Boys and The Christmas Tree (also illustrated by Jill Weber--a new edition is coming out Fall, 2016), as well as Hospital, The Devil’s Candy, Facing the Wind , The Net ...more
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