cecilia's Reviews > The Babysitter Murders

The Babysitter Murders by Janet Ruth Young
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's review
Oct 01, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: blue-covers
Read in August, 2011

I have to be honest and say that I was a little nervous about reading The Babysitter Murders – the title alone makes one come to an abrupt stop when browsing the bookshelves. What a daring and startling story that Janet Ruth Young has written! To be sure, The Babysitter Murders still continues to linger in my mind and has changed how I read or watch the news – for the better.

The story concept is unquestionably disturbing as readers get a look inside Dani’s head, but it is obvious that Dani also finds her thoughts unsettling and prefers to not have them in the first place. This slows readers down from casting Dani into a villain’s role and wonder what exactly is going on. The constant debate of whether Dani will be innocent or guilty keeps the pages turning – and the curiosity nearly explodes as Dani tries to figure out how to avoid the inevitable temptation.

I cannot go into too much detail without destroying the carefully-knotted story, but when Dani finally faces the point of no return, what happens next makes me sick to my stomach. Oh, how quickly the media pounces, how swiftly the cry for justice sounds, how wildly the panic spreads, how prematurely Chicken Little runs about before the sky actually falls… If there had been any hope for Dani to get help for this sickness, assuredly it has been crushed by the bloodthirsty public who wants her head on a platter.

In her defense, Dani does attemp to reach out to those closest to her for help – which is incredibly brave on her part – although she does not spell her concerns out explicitly. The Babysitter Murders makes me wonder how I would react if Dani had told me what was going on. What happens if my best friend confides in me about thoughts on wanting to murder someone – seriously – and needs my help to stop her from doing so? I am ashamed to say that I would probably back away slowly and hightail it to somewhere safe. How else does one react? How does a PARENT react when their child approaches them? Obviously I am out of my depths, but if someone I loved had this issue, I should be able to acknowledge their cry for help as a GOOD sign and not ditch them.

The Babysitter Murders reminds me a little of shine where a singular news event affects the entire town and the truth is not as black-and-white as the typeface on the paper wants you to believe. It definitely cautions readers from jumping to conclusions and reminding them that even the worst stories have two sides to them.

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