First and foremost, I am a supporter of the West Memphis Three and I believe in their innocence. I tried to read the first iteration of this book when it was called "Almost Home". I put it down because the more I read it, the less I liked Damien. It felt very much like Damien just loves Damien a little too much. I've had friends like that and I stopped spending time with them because absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that. I purchased this audiobook to see what else Damien had to say for himself and found myself a little disappointed to find that this book is essentially a rehashing (at least in the beginning). Damien is a wonderful writer and certainly knows how to paint a picture with words but the pictures he paints are of clearly realized total non-events. I realize that Damien wrote this book to paint a clear vision of his own memories, likely to keep them for himself and I'm okay with that and imagine it'll be an interesting read for some. I just kind of feel like he's talking about stuff we've all experienced and refusing to go into any of the reasons why we purchased this book in the first place. I'd imagine that this book will be the first in a series about his life and that this book is mostly about his time prior to his conviction but I find it boring. Damien has a really nice voice and I enjoyed listening to him tell his story but sometimes he seems a little too proud of himself about things that don't matter like his taste in clothes or food or holidays. It just kind of seems like the stuff a teenager would write about. I'd imagine that there is likely a part of Damien that is stunted in emotional development having had his youth taken from him. The same happens to addicts and I've seen it happen so I don't judge him for that. In fact, I commend him for being self-taught in a variety of subjects while living under such harsh circumstances.
What made me shut the book off in the second part was his disgust for fat people. Over and over again he describes how disgusting he finds someone's "fat belly" or infers how much "fried chicken" someone eats but then he goes on to brag about his own appetite for junk food. Somehow he's above criticism? I shut the book off at exactly the point where he says that women in West Memphis are "not smart enough to take care of themselves so they don't turn into sexless blobs". Just why? I also found it abhorrent that he constantly has to talk about how little he cares for Domini and how he just brushes his sister's molestation under the rug as an alleged non-issue. I just see no compassion for others in Damien. His concerns are with him alone. He shows little to no compassion for anyone and only revels in how other people feel about him. I kind of feel like "he doth protest too much" when it comes to his turns in the psych ward or his arrests. I understand the "Satanic Panic" that was going on in the early 90's and have sympathy for how that has impacted this case. I have a lot of friends who are "unique" in the same exact way that Damien is and I would hate for that "individuality" to throw any of them on death row.
I wouldn't read another book by Damien because this just wasn't interesting. At at this point, I've given him two shots. I think he would be successful at writing fiction and I would love to listen to him narrate another book that someone else wrote as I found his voice to be quite pleasant.
I want to make it clear that I wish Damien well and am so happy that he was released. If Jason Baldwin writes a book, I will definitely read that. I am really into Jason's positive attitude and I would love to hear his side of things. Good luck in the future if any of you (WM3) ever read this!
I am already a fan of Alan Cumming but I loved hearing his family's story. I related to Alan's relationship with his Scottish father. Although my own Scottish father is nowhere near as harsh, there were some unmistakable similarities that I related to strongly.
I don't want to give any spoilers away but the way things unfold in the book, and in Alan's life, are just how things tend to happen in my own life. Life is surprising.
Alan's voice is great. I could listen to him narrate the my tax return but it was especially delightful because it is his own story. I love self-narrated memoirs.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever had a family, wanted to have a family, or has a family; in short, everyone.
I loved hearing Dawn talk about her life. I cried at work listening to some parts and also laughed a lot. I forgot that she wasn't narrating often. She chose an interesting way to write this book; through letters to her loved ones. I would recommend this to any fan of Dawn French's.
Mitchell and Webb alternate stories in this hour-long book about how to cope with a variety of issues. I would listen to seven more hours of this and hope they write another book like this. I'm currently listening to Mitchell's "Backstory" and recommend it as well!
P.S. You don't have to be a fan of Mitchell or Webb to enjoy this book. It stands on its own two feet.
This book was a surprise to me. It's very haunting and an interesting world to be in. I love Merricat and Constance's relationship. My partner hit the nail on the head when she said that this book is Lizzie Borden meets Grey Gardens.
I would recommend this to anyone and will likely read it again.
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