Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Until the Twelfth of Never, by Bella Stumbo

Betty Broderick was fairly well known among the movers and shakers of La Jolla in the late 1980's.  She quickly became well known on a national scale.  She endured a very public and extremely mess separation and divorce from her husband, Dan Broderick.  Because Dan was one of the top lawyers in San Diego, it was difficult for Betty to navigate the legal system; she often felt that Dan used his reputation in the legal community as a weapon.  Eventually, Betty took matters into her own hands, executing her ex-husband and his new wife.

I was fairly familiar with the general gist of Betty Broderick story.  I remember when it happened, when I was a kid, and I certainly remember watching the made for television movies that resulted.  So, I kind of knew what was in store going in to this book.  But turns out, I only knew a fraction of the story.

Because the book keeps a pretty neutral tone, I am not really sure where right and wrong is in this saga.  Clearly, Betty was wrong to commit murder.  But, from what I was able to gather, Dan did not exactly behave fairly during divorce proceedings.  And the fact that the division of property and custody battle dragged on so long was maddening.  The book goes into detail of the entire situation, and it became a bit tiresome to read about.  I can only imagine how weary one would get actually living that madness. 

It is hard to agree with the idea that Betty is not mentally ill.  It is hard to think anyone who behaved in the ways Betty behaved was not unstable in some manner.  In a lot of ways, I think the system really failed Betty Broderick; I do not think, however, that grave failure justified her actions.  The book covers the multi-year struggle in depth, and one can not help but feel a little heartbroken for everyone involved.

I received a review copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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