Daniella's Reviews > She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall

She Said Yes by Misty Bernall
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Dec 30, 10

bookshelves: hated, biographies
Recommended for: Jesus freaks; people who gawk at freeway accidents and train wrecks.
Read in January, 2000, read count: 1

This book was absolutely repulsive to me. I think the only book I hated more was that steaming pile of word-vomit called The Da Vinci Code, but my hatred for that is due to the fact that Dan Brown is a hack who should have his hands crippled lest he ever write again, whereas I hate She Said Yes because I find it morally repugnant. Yes, morally. And I'll tell you why: poor Cassie wasn't even cold in her grave before mommy dearest started writing this tear-jerking, heart-wrenching, surefire moneymaker. What, is cashing in on the tragic death of your teenage daughter some groundbreaking form of therapy or something? Jesus H.

The thing is, though, what bothered me most about this book was not Misty Bernall making money off a senseless tragedy that claimed so many young lives. No, what bothered me most about this book was Misty Bernall. This woman embodies everything that is wrong with Middle America. She sits pretty in her comfortable, normal, white bread middle-class life and passes judgment borne of ignorance and intolerance on anything and anyone different from her, obviously incapable of dealing with things that don't fall into normal, white bread, middle-class, cookie-cutter molds, including her daughter. When Cassie went through typical teenage rebellion and got involved with the "wrong crowd"--Goths, for chrissakes, que horror--and witchcraft (A WITCH! A WITCH! BURN HER!), Bernall didn't just do her best and let things run their course like a normal (i.e. not neurotic) parent. She unapologetically recounts how she meddled in her daughter's life, going to such lengths as to grievously violate Cassie's privacy by reading her personal correspondence and, worse, to isolate her from her friends, and yet this woman has the balls to carry on as though it's everybody's fault but her own that Cassie was so depressed and angry and alienated and hated her parents so much she talked about killing them. Un-freakin-believable.

But the worst part is that, after everything, Bernall still shows not a hint of realization that the prevalence of attitudes and behaviors like hers are partly to blame for the events that led to her daughter's death. And that, my friends, means this book is basically pointless. Since it's predicated on a lie--the purported exchange between Cassie and her killers never actually took place--without any deeper analysis of the issues underlying the Columbine incident, or even just drawing the obvious parallels, She Said Yes is little more than a rehashing of one teenage girl's not-out-of-the-ordinary struggle to fit in and the sad details of her death. It teaches nothing, and it certainly doesn't do justice to the memory of a girl cut down in her prime.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea Pope This is a GREAT book. It gives insight of how people can change and how just because you find god doesnt mean everything is going to be picture perfecT. It also shows that people can change. It shows that people can be cruel and kill because of religion. I must.

Angela Johnsonkiele I don't think it was ever a "lie". I think it was a misunderstanding, but who says we know for sure either way? The point is that Cassie Bernall was an inspiration to other girls her age who were in similar situations. Because of her apparent character (from reading this book and others), I am reasonably certain that she would have said yes if given the chance.

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