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Whatever Mother Says...: A True Story of a Mother, Madness and Murder

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  2,436 ratings  ·  95 reviews
To neighbors, she was the brave single mother...

Raising her five kids alone in a rundown section of Sacramento, Theresa Cross Knorr seemed like the ultimate survivor. But her youngest daughter, 16-year-old Terry, told police another story: one almost too terrible to believe.

But accused of imprisoning her children in a house of horrors...

According to Terry, Theresa--no long
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 15th 1995 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1995)
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,436 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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Paul Bryant
Dec 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: true-crime

True crime, my once secret vice, but now you all know about it. This unlovely genre, true crime - it’s so sleazy and it’s got everything. The piquant pleasures of the do it yourself abattoir, the discovery in the dumpster, the jolly uncle, the picnic spot, the man walking his dog, the folorn poster, the crucial forensics, the fortunate CCTV, the plausible absence, the pretty niece, the remains gnawed by animals, the cellar, the other hidden cellar, the bulletproof alibi, the t
Fiona MacDonald
I got 3/4 into this, before realising I have not only read this already, but actually own it... just with a different cover... nevermind!
I enjoyed it, it was well written and Theresa Knorr is a complete psychopath. She reminded me in part of Gertrude Baniszewski whi was another demon-like excuse for a mother. The resilience of Terry Knorr, especially when she finally tells her story and is ignored by law enforcement is staggering. A book that is deeply traumatic.
Sep 16, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: truecrime, nonfiction
This should get either a 1 or a 5. The first half of the book is fantastic! This is a very sad, sadistic mother that abuses her children horribly & manipulates them into helping her kill her other children. One of the most chilling, disturbing books I have ever read.

BUT...the 2nd half of the book is WASTED! Why? Because the author didn't wait the 6 months until the trial was over!!! So I had to Google her name & find out what the end result was. So the last part of the book is all specul
``Laurie Henderson
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: hard core true crime addicts
Have you heard about this true crime case where a mother starved and burned one of her daughters to death? It's hard to believe that a mother would actually be capable of doing this so that's one reason I decided I had to read this one because I had to know more about this monster.

Turns out this psycho mom killed another daughter too and is suspected of killing a few other people as well. Her last and youngest daughter managed to escape and lived to tell the police what her mother had done.

Apr 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
The words blood lust and mother should never be used in the same sentence. Those words are so unsettling it is the reasons for nightmares. What would cause a mother to torture and kill her own daughters while caring and loving of her sons. How does anyone grow up in a house of horrors yet be strong enough as an adult to finally end it. Justice served? I say no and never will be.

There was no insanity or madness in this woman. She was born with no soul. Evil hid behind the title of mother and man
Jennifer townsend
Nov 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
How anyone could do these things to their own children is beyond me. That lady was one sick and twisted bitch.
Jennifer Daniel
Apr 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Reading this was about as much fun as falling down an elevator shaft. I selected because it was on a best of true crime books. This mother murdered 2 of her teenage daughters for no reason. There was endless beating & starvation. Then she suddenly leaves town, reinvints herself and becomes a home caregiver to the ederly & loved by everyone. Since this book was written 15 years ago at the time of her arrest I will have to research what became of her at trial. To sum it up - Depressing!
Aug 01, 2011 rated it liked it
I didn't like the way the book was written. Too much unnecessary information such as all the background info about the police officers, etc. Then to top it off it doesn't tell you how the story ended. I felt like it was a complete waste of time to read with no payoff in the end. It was a pretty decent read up until the end but I don't know that I would recommend it to anyone else to read.
Eva Nebbia
Jul 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
What can you even say about a book like this. It was terrible (really horribly written and also wildly disturbing). But also, why the heck didn't this dude wait the 6 months for the trial!!!!! I had to do extra research to find out what happened. So bad and yet pretty entertaining.
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Sick and twisted. A horrifying tale.
May 12, 2007 rated it liked it
This lady was a sick ass bitch!
This book disgusted me more than any other book I have read.
Sabrina Rutter
May 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, true-crime
This woman had nothing but jealousy for her daughters. This book is very graphic and gives a detailed account to the abuse her daughters suffered before she finally killed them.
Bianka Armendariz
Dec 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The story is grisly and admittedly interesting. But the writing, oh la! Clarkson must be a pseudonym for a high-school student. A couple quick examples (no spoilers):
"Investigators noted that the Jane Doe had three pierced right ears and two pierced left."
--- Yikes, I would notice a woman with 5 ears, too! Doesn't take an investigator for that.
"Many of her dresses, skirts, and trousers were red. Red was her favourite color. It tended to be a very crimson shade of red. The colour of blood."
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
Fantastic read - couldn't put it down! I definitely recommend this book to all true crime fans. Mother from hell is putting it mildly. This book was both tragic and fascinating
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
Well-written. I am reading several books on a similar topic. The others are The Franklin Cover-up, Painted Black. While these are not pleasant subjects they help identify the perpetrators and shed light on what is going on behind closed doors. True-life horrors. Where are our missing children? Why are people mentally ill. What about Foster Care? Child abuse? cover-ups.
susan Johnson
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I can't imagine the terror these children felt every day of their lives. I can't imagine how they must have felt when they laid their heads down at night never knowing what was in store for them when they woke up. I pray for these children that are now grown , that they will find peace .
Jul 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, true-crime
I grew up in the same town this happened in. I was the same age as the children in this book. A lot of things in this book played way to close to home for me.It was a chillin, horrible story of the worst mother a child could have. My heart goes out to the survivors.
Jill Glancy
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
I hate to give it 4 stars because of the morbidity of it, but it was very well written. Terribly sad though. Wish the mother would have had the balls to admit it though.
Gary Butler
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
37th book read in 2016.

Number 260 out of 529 on my all time book list.

Review Pending:
Sep 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
OMG how can a mother be so cruel to the kids she gave life to?
Rebecca McNutt
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Whatever Mother Says is a chilling and sinister account of a dysfunctional family, told in a detailed amount of vivid writing. If you're a true crime fan, you'll definitely want to read it.
Jun 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
True Crime. Very creepy story of a creepy mother and her violent, controlling ways.
A good book about an horrific case of torture and murder, however I feel that the author could have waited until the case had gone to trial so that he could have presented a conclusion to the entire case. As I know from my own research, the mother was convicted of the crimes she was accused of but I felt like the author should have covered all bases, instead of getting caught up in the moment and rushing to get a book about it on the shelves. Would still recommend it for any true crime fans.
Kristy Hare
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that haunt me because it's true. The extreme evil that took place in the family makes one thankful for most anything you are going through.
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
After seeing this book plenty of times at my local used bookstore, I finally picked it up from my personal library. The front cover of teh book says this is a "true crime classic". I assume this means it is one of the stories that gained the most national attention from the time it was printed until know. I can see why even now 29 years after the murders of Seusan and Sheila were commited, it still hold people's attention to the case.

Theresa Knorr was a very evil mother and a horrible person. H
Nov 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Raising her ficve kids alone in a rundown section of Sacramento, Theresa Cross Knorr seemed like the ultimate survivor. But her youngest daughter, 16-year-old Terry, told police another story: One almost too terrible to believe.

According to Terry, Theresa--Nolonger the petite brunette she once was--had turned insanely jealous of her pretty eldest daughters and enlisted the help of her two teenaged sons in a vicious campaighn against their sisters.

Terr's gruesome tale told how Theresa had drugged
Nicola Fantom
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could not put this book down as is usually the case with what we call a 'misery memoir'. Certainly not something I could read all the time, although I have read a lot of these books, I would say this is part misery memoir and part journalistic crime/true crime story.

They did make a movie loosely based on this horrific case called 'The Afflicted' which does differ quite a bit to the book, but worth a watch once you've read the book, which is exactly what I did. Although they did buy the rights
The Badger
Aug 29, 2016 rated it liked it
This rates among the most disturbing books I've ever read. The writing isn't great, but from later interviews and narratives that I've seen and read, it was accurate and non-embellished. It's interesting that this book was in my feed today, as last week a 10-year-old in my city was injected with meth by her mother so that her mother's boyfriend and his female cousin could rape her. The little girl's body was found burning in the bathtub stabbed, choked, arms missing, and one leg nearly severed. ...more
Lesley Harris
May 30, 2013 rated it did not like it
The first half of the book was good except for the error the author made about both daughters being set in fire when it was just one( this is in the later part of the first half).The second half of the book was horrible! The author didnt have any information about the trial or its outcome! It was just speculation of everyone's psychological well being! I don't recommend the book because of the last half! Such a let down!
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“Jane Doe had three pierced right ears and two pierced left.” 0 likes
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