This powerful, unforgettable and uplifting story is one part wrenching family memoir, and one part inspirational journey towards healing and forgiveness – but most of all, it’s an unputdownable journey through one family’s tragedy and how they refused to let it define them.
On the day of Rebecca Poulson’s 33rd birthday, her father, niece and nephew were murdered. The murderer had been part of her family; her brother-in-law, Neung, the father of the children. Killing Love is Rebecca’s journey through homicide; grief, the police investigations, the media interest, the court cases, the moments of great despair – and the healing. It is a story of individual tragedy and a family’s strength, but it is also a story of a community’s attitude to family violence. As a reluctant warrior for those who cannot speak for themselves, Rebecca talked to the NSW State Premier and politicians, on multiple TV shows and to print journalists in the hope that the mistakes made by the police force, DOCS, the legal system and solicitors will never be made again. Rebecca’s contact with policy makers has been nothing short of history-making, and her story has directly influenced domestic violence laws in the state.
Neung left a note for Rebecca’s family; he hoped that he would destroy them. This is the story of how he didn’t.
A memoir about the multiple tragedies that Rebecca, and her family, have endured, including murder. She gives you some background, leads you through the crimes, and then tells of how she kept her sanity afterwards.
A sad commentary on how AVOs (Apprehended Violence Order) aren't worth the paper they are printed on. In the USA they are called Restraining Orders, or Protective Orders. I have seen firsthand how useless they are, fortunately, my experience didn't result in a murder.
Another book about the killing of children by a parent. One that reads like a crime novel and you wish isn't real but realise it is and that these horrible things actually happened. Rebecca Poulson has had tragedy strike her family not once but 4 times with the tragic deaths of very close family members. It was a sad and traumatic read. The fact that this type of thing occurs time after time and is allowed to happen says a lot about a system that fails to protect. Not sure what needs to happen to stop this from happening again and again. The Farquarson children, Luke Batty and probably many, many more we don't hear about.
It's hard to review this book for a lot of reasons. Mostly because of the unbearable tragedy that is losing 4 family members, 2 that were under the age of 10. And to lose them on your birthday, well that seems like salt to the wound.
But there were some things that I didn't like about this book and I will be as nice as I can about it. Firstly, something I have seen in a lot of Australian books is lots of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. It was a similar case with Poulson's book, which is not her fault, but every time it happened, I was immediately pulled out of the story. Secondly, you are left wondering about the other people in this book. Although this is Rebecca Poulson's story, given the book is about family, I would have expected a little more time dedicated to those who like Rebecca were left in the wake of this event. There are maybe 2 or 3 throw away lines at the end that suggest how the other family members have continued their lives, but nothing concrete. It just seemed strange to talk so fleetingly about them when they were so much apart of it.
There were a lot of good things about this book though. Poulson's writing style is engaging and enveloping and it is hard to put this book down. My absolute favourite part is her detailing her trip to Alaska. The imagery was so vivid it was like being there yourself.
This book is heavy content wise, dealing with one of the most pervasive problems in Australia today, that is domestic violence. To see it through the eyes of someone who has lived the absolute worst case scenario, is a wake up call that we need to be doing more for the safety of our fellow Australians. Sadly, Poulson's story is no longer an isolated event as we see more and more stories of domestic violence being brought to light. To think this happened 10 years ago is shocking.
Overall, for her debut novel I think this is great. Poulson is able to create empathy through her words and her story is one that deserved to be told. If you are into True Crime or just remember these events, it is worth the read, to see the story from the other side.
Rebecca's story is extraordinary, initially tantalising us with anecdotes about her beloved family members, so we get to know them. Then sharing the horror of their deaths and her difficult journey through grief and loss. This book is an important story about domestic violence, suicide and family grief. She also shares her personal journey through the darkness of grief and depression. It is written in such a way that I was drawn into the book, hooked from the first page, didn't want to put it down. I love the descriptions that engage on all our senses and the honesty with which Rebecca shares her inner world. I admire the way she lives her life to help prevent this tragedy from occurring again. Brilliant, well done.
KILLING LOVE is one of the most profoundly personal stories that you're going to come across in True Crime reading. It's a story of incredible loss, starting out with the suicide death of Rebecca Poulson's brother, and then the murder of her father and much loved niece and nephew by her brother-in-law, the children's father.
Poulson has written her life onto the pages of this book, her reactions and her struggles with so many needless deaths. It's fraught, difficult and extremely emotional reading as she looks deep inside herself and what, in particular, the murders have done to her. It's extremely personal and very much focused inward and because of that it's part discomforting and part uplifting. It also definitely steps into unforgettable territory.
The discomforting aspects are confronting for the reader. Poulson has obviously used a lot of this book as a cathartic personal experience, a step on the journey to making sure that her brother-in-law did not destroy her. It's also so very personal that there's sometimes a feeling of disconnect from the experience of others in her family - her mother and her sister, the mother of the murdered children are there, but sometimes feel peripheral to the story. After finishing the book, and a considerable period of reflection, it seems that Poulson purposely hasn't set out to tell their stories for whatever reason. In that context, the self-involved feeling makes sense, as does the need for catharsis. The need to get the story out there, and give readers a real taste for the pain, anguish and confusion that suicide can leave behind; and the unfathomable damage of such vicious domestic violence are palpable.
On the uplifting side she does work her way through to her own future, and her brother-in-law hasn't destroyed them all. Those left behind do survive, and put together a life, and Poulson's work now with raising domestic violence awareness is both brave and generous.
KILLING LOVE is therefore not light reading, and for this reader, not a book that I would ever, by any stretch of the imagination, be comfortable to sum up in terms of enjoyable or likeable or not. It doesn't really come down to whether or not this is a well-written book, or a well-told story. It's not about analysis of the crime or the outcomes, or wide ranging impacts. It's one woman's experience and I'm grateful for her courage in sharing it.
This is not an easy book to read, as the story is in parts heart breaking...and in return I was given the gift of beautiful phrasing, clarity of purpose and life-changing truths. I can only imagine the depths Rebecca plumbed to write this book and I can only hope that it's message gathers its own momentum in the future without always referencing her pain. But oh my, this girl can write.
I was deeply moved and impacted by Rebecca's story. Her book was both a heartbreaking story of tragic loss and grief and an inspirational story of recovery and hope. I loved Rebecca's writing style. She writes with honesty, eloquence and thoughtfulness.
As soon as I started reading this book I was drawn into Rebecca's world and couldn't put it down. It's a heart wrenching story of loss made even more tragic because two beautiful children who had barely a chance to live were cruelly taken, along with Rebecca's dad who tried to save them.
The book delves into her emotional journey after this horrible event and really brings home the fact that domestic violence can blight any family no matter their circumstances. It's a beautifully written book. Rebecca eloquently describes her faltering path through grief. We feel her pain but also her capacity for hope and love of life. A must read for anyone.
Wow Rebecca so beautifully written on such a unimaginable tragedy . The depth of your sadness and strength of your courage is a message to all who have been effected by domestic violence ! Out of so many unnecessary deaths ... changes to the law is paramount . Thank you for sharing such a personal story !
Rebecca Poulson's story is one of a woman who refuses to let tragedy define her life. She analyses the suicide of her older brother and the murders of her father, niece and nephew and questions herself, as any of us would in the same situations, as to what she could have done to prevent these events. Rebecca shares how the domestic violence 'help' systems in Australia ultimately failed her family and outlines changes she would like to see within government organisations to identify domestic violence and support women and children in the future.
Rebecca writes in a brutally honest and brave manner, allowing the reader to empathise with her personal struggle of overwhelming grief. She takes us on her journey of trying to outrun the grief and how eventually small steps towards healing herself and a 'yearnlist' finally helped her to find her way back to happiness.
Rebecca's story fully engaged me from the first page to the last. It left me hoping I never have to endure a similar situation and wondering how I would cope if I did. I admire her honesty, strength and resolve to not let her brother-in-law ultimately destroy her life but instead motivate her to write, speak, raise awareness and lobby for domestic violence victims.
This book was not an easy read, due to the topics that it dealt with; suicide and murder of innocent children within a family. Yet I could not put this book down. The author has written with unflinching honesty, sharing details of the horrific events that led up to and happened on her 30th birthday. The descriptions of the processes of grief that she went through on her journey to healing are frank, honest, and full of realism. I found myself relating to some of the things she wrote about. Her description of the coroner's court procedures are quite thought provoking. They highlight the lack of in depth, adequate police training in the complexities of domestic violence, and how many serious cases fall through the cracks of the department of childrens services. I highly recommend this book.
Rebecca's story is extraordinary, initially tantalising us with anecdotes about her beloved family members, so we get to know them. Then sharing her difficult journey through grief and loss. This book is an important story about domestic violence, suicide and personal grief as well as her personal experience through the darkness of grief and depression. It is written in such a way that I was drawn into the book, hooked from the first page, didn't want to put it down. I love the descriptions that engage on all our senses and the honesty with which Rebecca shares her inner world. I admire the way she lives her life to help prevent this tragedy from occurring again. Brilliant, well done.
I spent most of my life growing up in the Hawkesbury, and I remember the day this tragic unnecessary day unfolded. I struggled to read some events, I cried, I laughed, I felt the loss and the dispair. I felt the love and the laughs, and the hope. A book of how life can be so unexpected and how you can learn and grow and have hope, love and laughter after the worst of life. Thank you for sharing your story, I really enjoyed it.
I knew Peter Poulson casually, so this book by his daughter Rebecca about his murder in 2003, trying to save his grandchildren Malee and Bas from their crazed father, is quite special to me. It tells how she managed to survive this tragedy on top of the suicide of her brother 10 years before. It is an honest portrayal of how she coped (and didn't cope much of the time) with this unimaginable burden.
The subject matter is hard going, yet compelling, and Rebecca's writing style kept me turning the pages. The transformation of her brother in law from lover to killer was particularly haunting. I hesitate to call this book entertaining, given that it is a true crime story, but I would recommend it to anyone as an important book, placing domestic violence and its impact in a deserved spotlight.
Hi Rebecca. I just finished reading your book. How heart breaking. It was so hard to read but I just couldn't put it down.I fully support you as I do Rosie Batty in the fight against domestic violence.