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To the Bridge

A True Story of Motherhood and Murder
Narrated by: Nancy Rommelmann
Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
4 out of 5 stars (336 ratings)
Regular price: $24.49
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Publisher's Summary

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, his seven-year-old sister, Trinity, was saved. As the public cried out for blood, Amanda was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to thirty-five years in prison.

Embarking on a seven-year quest for the truth, Rommelmann traced the roots of Amanda’s fury and desperation through thousands of pages of records, withheld documents, meetings with lawyers and convicts, and interviews with friends and family who felt shocked, confused, and emotionally swindled by a woman whose entire life was now defined by an unspeakable crime. At the heart of that crime: a tempestuous marriage, a family on the fast track to self-destruction, and a myriad of secrets and lies as dark and turbulent as the Willamette River.

Excerpt from Day Out of Days: Stories, by Sam Shepard, © 2010 by Sam Shepard. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. Excerpt from Netherland: A Novel, by Joseph O’Neill, © 2008 by Joseph O’Neill. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. Excerpt from Iphigenia in Forest Hills, by Janet Malcolm, © 2011 by Janet Malcolm. Used by permission of Yale University Press. Excerpt from Down City, by Leah Carroll, © 2017 by Leah Carroll. Used by permission of Hachette Book Group USA.

©2018 Nancy Rommelmann (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • DS
  • 07-07-18

Difficult subject matter; not a fan of the writing style nor narration

This book was very well researched. It’s clear the author put her heart and soul into it, over many years.

The subject matter is difficult, period.

I didn’t like the book for a few reasons. First, it excessively & unnecessarily jumps back and forth in time and across characters. Second, the author inserts too much of her opinion & value judgments throughout, which, in my mind, detracts from her storytelling.

It took me about an hour to get used to the narrator (the author). She had an uneven speaking style, often rushing through parts of the sentence. While I usually prefer the author as the narrator, in this case it detracts from her writing.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An unexpected perspective

When I hear that a parent has killed their child my first thought is to give them the death sentence, because I feel there is no excuse that would otherwise warrant a lesser punishment. “To the Bridge” was written in such a way that it didn’t give me the perspective of the mother, the children, the father, or anyone left damaged by such a horrible act. I felt anger, compassion, empathy, and confusion when hearing the events before and after the murder and attempted murder of the children. It made me think about the society we live in, the justice system we have in place, and the system structured to protect children and step in to be a safe haven for families suffering. I even questioned the way we look at and step in for people who are suffering from a mental illness.

Beautifully written, I was engaged immediately!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anna
  • Chula Vista, CA
  • 07-26-18

Disappointed

I tried to listen for an hour but the narration was in a monotone voice and I couldn't listen anymore.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book, but don’t like the narrating.

I am really enjoying the book and the story. It’s clear she’s done her research and I have a hard time stopping when I have to get out of my car. But the narrating is weird. She has awkward pauses that just don’t make sense and off timing when she speaks. It’s taken a while to get used to that, I find it hard to focus on the book because I’m focusing on the odd pacing and pauses. But overall a great book - and very sad story.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Chilling

I've never read a more well written , unbiased book about unthinkable horrors. Great read.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Just an elongated newspaper article

I appreciate the author’s attempts to understand the circumstances behind this tragedy? But the book got extremely repetitive, and didn’t really shed any revelatory light on the perpetrator or her crimes. Just a heartbreaking portrayal of the kids. It was also organized poorly, frequently skipping around timelines and going off on tangents that seemed more designed to fill up space than shed light.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unfathomable

It is hard to see and understand the signs when they are right in front of you. This story is so sad and I hate that it is true, how the acts of just two people can cause such upheaval in so many more.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

just okay

books like this and the one on Maura Murray where purple completely involved in the case don't want to talk to the author so they could together a story using court records and people on the fringe are hollow. you don't learn very much at all and the authors constant connecting of the family and Amanda herself I found distasteful, boorish, and gross. this book is just okay. adequately written, good pacing, good narration, but it could've been a half hour special or a 20/20 episode and done the same thing.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Writer
  • Central Arknasas
  • 10-22-18

Enthralling

My occasional trips back and forth from South Louisiana to Central Arkansas find me in the car 8 hours there and 8 hours back, giving ample time for phone calls, music and, my newest favorites, Audible Books!
TO THE BRIDGE, while heartbreaking, is an intriguing and enthralling story born of dedicated research of, not just the surface, but the unimaginable “rest of the story”.
Congratulations and thanks to Nancy Rommelman for a closer look at how 2 dysfunctional individuals can adversely effect their own as well as the lives of those within and outside of their sphere of influence.
Greatly enjoyed your skill at narration, too!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Insightful and compelling

This book has opened my eyes to the truly human element behind such an incomprehensible act... you can begin to understand how the landscape of abuse, mental health, addiction and ego can all contribute to such a tragedy. The author spends a lot of time piecing together the multiple views and narratives of those who intersected with this family and allows the reader to find the single thread of truth between them all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful