Alex'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
Aug 12, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2009-reads, memoirs, cultural-studies, great-reads, mystery-suspense, nonfiction, women-authors, library, loved-it
Read in August, 2009

This goes straight to the top of best books I've read this year. Gripping from the first few pages, it is a true story of two sisters, both of whom are drawn into abusive relationships. It starts with a grim reality: the younger sister, Amy, turns up dead. The author, older sister Janine, recounts the girls' childhood, with a creepy father who sets their fates on course, and then tells parallel stories of their relationships. Both Janine and Amy have two abusive relationships a piece, and both are able to get out of them at times but not others. The bulk of the narrative is about the sisters' latter relationships. It's not hard to see why Janine has trouble leaving her husband, Kurt: he is quite charming when he isn't being a tyrant. It's harder to understand why Amy is so weak for rodeo cowboy Ron, who is not a fully developed character. (This might be the one weakness of the writing.) It's all very gripping, horrifying, and terribly sad. There is no happy ending here, just a call to look deeply at this prevalent social problem.

Great, great book.

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