Karen's Reviews > If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister's Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation

If I Am Missing or Dead by Janine Latus
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's review
Jun 11, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: audiobook
Recommended for: No one!
Read in January, 2008 , read count: 1

I am shocked and saddened by the tone of this book! Is this a book about the author's missing/murdered sister (as the title implies) or is it about the self-absorbed author?

The title is very compelling and as a fan of true crime shows like Forensic Files, 48 Hours Mystery, etc. I thought this book would be interesting. I listened to it on audio and I must say that the author's sister--the true victim here--was done a huge disservice. This is the most self-indulgent piece of work I have ever picked up. I did keep reading, wanting to know what happened to the author's sister, craving more details of her life and her situation leading up to her going missing. Unfortunately, these details were eclipsed by the author's own bouts of histrionics and lust for the spotlight--at the expense of her murdered sister. I was completely disgusted by the author's preoccupation of how much she weighed and what kinds of clothes she should wear. Really? Are you kidding me? Ironically, this book could have been so much more interesting and compassionate if written by someone else.

I can't imagine an author's ego being so big as to exploit her sister's memory for her own personal gain, under the guise of bringing light to abuse. (Maybe because I have a very close relationship with my own sister.) This book smacked of selfishness and the author's own personal need to be in the spotlight. So many details were left out it was frustrating. As a reader you were constantly asking "what happened" and "why". Perhaps Janine Latus did not have those answers, as she didn't seem to have a close relationship to her sister, in my opinion. Perhaps one of her sister's coworkers would have been better equipped to write this book. But then, what would have been Janine Latus' role in it? (Exactly!)

If you strip away the content that focuses on Latus herself, this would have been an extremely short book. I get the impression that the author really didn't know enough about her sister or her sister's life to write a book about that!

Now, don't get me wrong. I have been in toxic relationships and I do understand that emotional abuse is still abuse. If this was the message that the author was trying to send by illustrating through her own marriage, then in my estimation, she failed miserably. I was left feeling frustrated, cheated, and had no sympathy for this author--who has garnered fame and publicity as a result of the murder of her own sister. The tone of the book did not leave me with the impression that it was written for the purpose of educating or illuminating the dangers of domestic abuse or any purpose other than to indulge the author's ego. This book completely turned me off. The resources and website mentioned at the end seemed merely gratuitous, almost an afterthought. (And probably at the suggestion of the author's editor!)
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