Thursday, August 22, 2013

Son of a Gun, by Justin St. Germaine

When Justin's mother, Debbie, is murdered, apparently by her 5th husband, Justin finds himself reflecting on her life.  Having spend a large portion of his childhood in Tombstone, Arizona, Justin talks about his mother's murder against the backdrop of the old west town and all of its bloody history.  Even when he moves away and starts a new life in California, Justin finds himself revisiting Tombstone, looking for answers about his mother, her death, and what led them all to that tragic place.

Whew this book packs some serious punch.  It was a difficult read for me, not because it was bad, but because it was so deep.  It is the kind of book that you are happy it is so difficult.  Knowing right away that you are dealing with a memoir revolving around a murder helps, but it does not fully prepare you for what is to come.  Justine paints a painfully honest, and at times stark, portrait of his mother, and the childhood he had, rather than using her death to make her a martyr.  Not once does he disparage his mother, nor does he put her on a pedestal.  He is honest about Debbie's history with men, the fact that she made business enemies in Tombstone, and his own troubled adolescence.

I truly hope that writing this book helped the author heal a little; I think that children who have had a parent murdered will be able to relate to this book on an intense, deep level.  However, even people who have not suffered such intense tragedy will find it compelling, simply because it was beautifully written.  It is probably the most honest memoir I have ever read.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

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