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To the Bridge

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  5,120 ratings  ·  516 reviews

The case was closed, but for journalist Nancy Rommelmann, the mystery remained: What made a mother want to murder her own children?

On May 23, 2009, Amanda Stott-Smith drove to the middle of the Sellwood Bridge in Portland, Oregon, and dropped her two children into the Willamette River. Forty minutes later, rescuers found the body of four-year-old Eldon. Miraculously, h

Kindle Edition, First Edition, 303 pages
Published July 1st 2018 by Little A
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Average rating 3.36  · 
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PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
**Mild spoilers since it’s a true story and the outcome is public knowledge.**

Seven-year-old Trinity and her three-year-old brother Eldon’s mother Amanda threw them off a ninety-foot bridge. Trinity’s cries alerted near by residents who rescued her. Eldon did not survive. Amanda later plead guilty to aggravated murder and aggravated attempted murder to avoid the death penalty.

Journalist Nancy Rommelmann attempts to deconstruct what caused Amanda to kill gathering information from Amanda and her
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Waste of Ink & Paper

There's not much in this book you can't find doing some Googling on the Internet. Heavy on reruns of already published information and devoid of anything new except for the author's opinions and a few quotes from the son of the murderer at the very end of the book. She pretty much glides right on past the two central issues of the story: domestic violence and related meth/drug abuse.

I've read true crime books for over 30 years, and this was the most mediocre book in the genre
Janelle Janson
Review to come
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was a book I got for free as part of Amazon Prime's "free book" of the month. (I think this program is called Kindle First.) These books can be hit and miss. Sometimes you get a real gem, but often the books aren't so good. Unfortunately, that was the case with this book.

The book is about a case in Portland, Oregon where a mother dropped her two children off of a bridge in the middle of the night. One child survived ... the other drowned. The mother was arrested and ultimately put in jail f
Heather John
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
TO THE BRIDGE is stunning in its compassion and unrelenting reporting of what led Amanda Stott-Smith to drop her two young children from the Sellwood Bridge, killing her four-year-old son and seriously injuring her daughter, who miraculously survived.

I noticed that author Nick Flynn blurbs TO THE BRIDGE, placing the work alongside two highly impactful books, “In Cold Blood” and “Executioner’s Song.” The Mailer is remarkable in its toxic masculinity but also in the access he had to show a life,
Susan (aka Just My Op)
I feel so sorry for the kids, and there are many of them, who have come up losers in the big parent lottery, but most kids don't have to pay with their lives even though they are affected all their lives. But there are those especially heinous situations where a child is murdered. And that's what happened here.

The mother in this story threw 2 of her 3 children off a bridge in the middle of the night. The author tries to find out why, tries to discover details beyond the headlines. And she does s
Kimberly Dawn
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
A well-written book on an unspeakably sad crime...the events leading up to the night a mother threw her children off a bridge. This book is a thorough, evenhanded investigation into the destructive marriage and separation of a couple suffering from addiction and sociopathy, and the murder and devastation suffered by their children and families.
Lynda Kelly
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was my Kindle First (or whatever they call it these days) choice for June. It's not often a true-crime book makes that list so I was delighted. I made a great choice. It's a fascinating tale and not one I'd heard of before. Many other cases that are similar were alluded to but I knew of them. (As an aside, I was pleased to see Mikal Gilmore referenced as I never see anyone mention his great book).
It's rare I feel a jot of sympathy for the criminal in any case but I did feel pretty sorry for
Ruthy lavin
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Disappointingly underwhelming.
Sadly the structure of this book didn’t work for me.
We started pretty quickly with the crime revelation, then seemed to be struggling to fill in the following chapters.
I found it was back and forth from friend to family member account to first person and back, quite confusing!
I began skim reading before the middle (never a good sign!) and gave up completely at 60% - easier to google it! I couldn’t see any information here that wasn’t easier to find on the internet.
Jonathan Maas
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A difficult book - that is necessary

Many true crime books have an element of adventure to them. A mobster rises in the ranks, a serial killer is hunted by a detective.

To the Bridge by Nancy Rommelmann is not one of those books. There is no joy, no thrill, no happy ending.

I am reminded by Koba the Dread by Martin Amis - the biography of Stalin. There is no nobility in the tale, and all the reader does is root for someone to come along and prevent the antagonist from doing what they set out to do.

This book was well written but lacked a cohesive structure - in terms of chapters & timeline. I found some answers but ended up wanting more.
Sandy from Alaska Colón
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I would give this book a 3.5. I did find it interesting, but I felt the author went into too much details about things that had nothing to do with the story, but rather with the author’s own life. Despite that, there was a lot to like about this book. I felt that she described the lives of all involved. I really liked when she explained about sociopaths. She also explored a little about how society reacts to this kind of crime differently when a father commits this crime or when a mother does.

Jun 17, 2018 rated it liked it
I picked this up wanting to try to understand how any mother could want to kill her children. After reading this I am still wondering how. It's a detailed account of the life and struggles of the mother and father and provides various perspectives of the situation but the heart of the matter is never quite resolved or understood. Guess that's real life. ...more
Traci at The Stacks
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is heavy. It is dealing with the darkness of a mother killing her child(ren). It also tries to explain how she got to that level of despair. The writing is thoughtful and without too much condemnation. Rommelmann is working through it all with the reader.
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Riveting Reading

A psychological analysis of an incomprehensible crime. This book seeks to go beyond the superficial knee jerk reaction to find the answer to "why".
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
well written, well researched, well worth 4 stars.
Charlie Newfell
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was ok

Another person who got this through Amazon's First Reads.

What's good:
- Occasional compelling narrative of the the toxic relationship between the couple and account of the crime and rescue.

What's not so good:
- Unfortunately too much. The author just places herself throughout the story. The word I is on each page, and she plants herself into every interview and every place. She's not part of the story, has no relationship to the crime, nor the participants, and in a true crime story should be the
Lisa Davis
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think the problem with true crime is often that reality just can't compare with fantasy. Stories don't come together neatly, as they do in fiction. The endings aren't what we want. There is often a sense of lingering unfulfillment, and questions that are never answered. I have read most of Amazon's First Reads true crime novels, and none have ever gripped me so much as this one. The story that was slowly revealed was profoundly disturbing, shocking, and not at all what I expected. So many lies ...more
Monica Hills
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is not my type of story at all but it was a kindle first read and I needed to read a book for my reading on true crime so I gave it a try. This book is short but it was not easy to get through. First of all it just made me sad that people like this exist in the world. Amanda had many problems and had an abusive husband but this in no way excuses what she did. Especially in this day an age when their is so much support and so much recognition of mental health issues. It made me sad for the k ...more
A compassionate reappraisal of the years leading up to Amanda Stott-Smith driving to the middle of the Sellwood Bridge in Portland, Oregon, in 2009 and dropping her two children into the Willamette River. The author doesn’t try to paint a villain but instead understand what has led a mother to this point in her life. This book is certainly handling difficult topics but an extremely interesting character study of both Amanda and her husband Jason even though the author has “only” been able to int ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well Written

The author did a good job telling this story. Sometimes true crime stories can get a bit boring with transcripts and trial testimony. This book flowed nicely.

Unfortunately, this is a sad story about so many messed up people.

Amanda is where she deserves to be "prison". I do believe she has some form of mental illness but she knew right from wrong. Not like in the case of Yates, who is severely mentally ill.

The thing that really makes me mad is that Jason was not held responsible fo
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was really looking forward to this book, but really unimpressed. I felt the author routinely inserted their opinion as fact. I understand that the author was taking us through a process she went through in order to determine who might be to blame for Amanda's actions, but her back and forth blame of maybe it was Jason's fault, maybe it was Amanda's got old quickly. Especially because of the depths she was going to diagnose their relationship. Amanda was a battered woman. Jason was a sociopath. ...more
Kristi Lamont
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a really well-done look at a horrible, tragic, probably preventable, almost unimaginable situation. Felt a lot like a long New Yorker piece (and that is a compliment). Before I read this book, I could not imagine killing anyone other than for reasons of defense of myself or others. After having read this book, I'm more firmly convinced than ever that there is true evil in this world of ours, and I am just thankful that it hasn't decided I'm a good conduit. Really wish I could give this ...more
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Way too focused on the author

Author spends too much time telling her story. Often speculates over doing research. Relies on popular books over scientific articles a little too much.
This is a very dark look at marriage, motherhood, and murder through the case of a mother who threw her children over a bridge. A difficult read at times but also a compelling one that explores some very important issues that arose during and after the case of Amanda Stott-Smith in 2009. Although I did find some issues with the structure of the novel, they were easily overcome as I really appreciated the content and exploration of the complex issues in this case. I definitely recommend if you're ...more
Erika Nerdypants
If you are looking for an average true crime book that lays out the facts and nothing but the facts, do not read this book.

But if on the other hand you want to know why a young mother would throw her children off a bridge in the middle of the night and leave them to drown, then pick up this book. Rommelmann lived this story for many years, and this is evident in how she tells it. With compassion yes, but also with a sharp eye that refuses to turn away when the facts do not fit our narrative. A
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was my Kindle First Reads choice for June. After recently reading "I'll Be Gone In The Dark" by Michelle McNamara, my mind was in a "true crime" mode and I thought this would be an interesting read.

I don't remember hearing the news reports about Amanda Stott-Smith throwing her two children off of a bridge in Oregon. But apparently, in 2009, she did. Her 4 year-old son, Eldon, died, but her daughter, Trinity, survived. Amanda ends up pleading guilty and she is currently serving a life-sente
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To the Bridge attempts to answer that we all have about mothers that kill their children. Why? How could a mother do this unfathomable act?
I think the majority of us accept that the mother must be insane to do that but still questions linger. Where was the dad, her family, her friends? Could anyone have seen this coming? Could anyone have stopped this from happening?
Nancy Rommelmann presents a compelling case that there was plenty of warning signs that this family was barreling towards tragedy.
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
To The Bridge is part true-crie, part haunting psychological exploration of the question: What led Amanda Stott-Smith to throw her two young children over the Sellwood Bridge in Portland, OR in 2009?

This book is thought-provoking and, despite it's dark content, a quick, compelling read. I thought at times it could have been edited differently because some of the tangents made it really hard to follow - though Rommelman does the concrete, interlocking vignettes well, a style of writing I personal
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found this an excellent but sorrowful read. It's the story of a young woman with three children who ultimately ends up throwing two of them off a river bridge in Oregon. How did this young mother get to this point? Could she have been driven there by other issues or people in her life? Was her ex-husband a factor? How much responsibility could she alone bear?

Many people on Goodreads have been critical of the slowness with which the book unfolds. I can understand that, but this book is more int
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Outcome 2 8 Jan 21, 2019 02:37PM  

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Nancy Rommelmann's most recent book, TO THE BRIDGE, a work of nonfiction about Amanda Stott-Smith, who dropped her two young children from a Portland bridge, will be published by Little A in July 2018

Rommelmann writes for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the LA Weekly, among other publications

She is the author of the novel THE BAD MOTHER (2011), THE QUEENS OF MONTAGUE STREET, a dig

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