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A Murder Over a Girl: Justice, Gender,…
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A Murder Over a Girl: Justice, Gender, Junior High (edition 2016)

by Ken Corbett (Author)

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6320273,114 (3.77)2
Member:grunin
Title:A Murder Over a Girl: Justice, Gender, Junior High
Authors:Ken Corbett (Author)
Info:Henry Holt and Co. (2016), 288 pages
Collections:Your library
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A Murder Over a Girl: Justice, Gender, Junior High by Ken Corbett

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I always was angry about this case, but now I'm even angrier, even though Corbett does a masterful job drawing out how "troubled" McInerney's life was despite not being allowed access by the wide array of homophobic white folks who shielded him from the worst of consequences of his murder. This account will have you white-hot angry at most of EO Green Jr. High, the jurors, the scumbag "forensic psychologist" from the Christian med school the scumbag lawyer found to concoct a really convincing gay panic defense, the fact that gay and trans panic defenses aren't illegal as heck *in California*...and then there's the racism. Corbett does an excellent job of showing that white supremacy creates its own logic, where being respectful and non-confrontational near adults will have a kid who has beaten up multiple other kids, a kid who is drawing freakin' Neo-Nazi propaganda in his 8th grade notebooks, as, without qualm, "a good kid."

I think Corbett does an especially good job of pointing out that Brandon McInerney should not have been tried as an adult, and while he did, probably, commit first-degree murder, he also did it as an abused, neglected child who was being counseled by the local white supremacist and seems to have multiple mental issues of his own. I was especially impressed at how you got that the system in LA/Ventura was corrupt as hell without any single person being corrupt.

This book was great, and it made me angry. There you have it. ( )
  jeninmotion | Sep 24, 2018 |
Her name was Letitia

A Murder Over a Girl: Justice, Gender, Junior High by Ken Corbett (Henry Holt & Company, $27).

When Brandon McInerney shot a student known as Larry King twice in the head in their middle school computer room in Oxnard, Calif., in 2008, that was just the middle of a story of difference, fear, violence, and adolescence in the 21st century.

Ken Corbett, an NYU professor and clinical psychologist specializing in gender-nonconforming boys, attended McInerney’s 2011 trial and spoke to many of the survivors of this murder; his insights and observations in A Murder Over a Girl: Justice, Gender, Junior High are both personal and profound for readers. More an informed memoir than an act of journalism, A Murder Over a Girl introduces a new character into the story as well: Letitia, which was the name King had chosen and begun to use only a few days before the shooting.

Corbett’s coverage of the trial is a heartbreaking story of two kids who desperately needed the guidance and acceptance of calm, secure adults in their lives–and who didn’t get it. That lack ended up with one child dead and another on trial for murder.

More frightening–because it involves so-called adults and the judicial system–is how Corbett leads us to see that McInerney’s “gay panic” defense, ably executed by his legal counsel and accepted without question in a trans- and homophobic community, resulted in a mistrial.

Complex, nuanced and compassionate, this is a necessary book, especially as “trans panic” reaches new heights in the rise of the “bathroom wars” and our culture insists on portraying the victims of violence as its perpetrators.

Reviewed on Lit/Rant: www.litrant.tumblr.com ( )
  KelMunger | Jul 14, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book as part of LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.

This book was not as compelling as I expected it to be. It doesn't quite read like a gripping courtroom drama, and I can't put my finger exactly on why not. Perhaps I just got frustrated with the case itself - I'm sure anyone who reads this is going to have strong opinions on what the outcome should have been. I appreciated the moments when Corbett extrapolated on the case to explore the various issues involved, but sometimes things felt a bit unfinished - the discussion of a hate crime never felt fully fleshed out to me. An interesting read, but not quite what I expected. ( )
  booksandbosox | Jul 1, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book chronicles the trial of 14-year-old Brandon who is accused of first degree murder in a hate crime against his 15-year-old transgender classmate named Larry/Leticia in 2011 in California. It's no wonder this book reads like somewhat of a research paper due to the fact the author is a psychologist who studies boyhood behavior based out of NYC.

This murder caught the attention of the author and he decided to travel to CA to observe the trial and speak to as many key players and family member as he could. He did research on the two families involved, delving into the history of the two boys involved, both surviving abuse and neglect by drug-addicted parents, both having somewhat unstable home lives. I found this information and the descriptions of these boys' home lives to be particularly sad and disturbing. No wonder both these boys were troubled and acting out.

Due to the fact that Brandon would not speak during the entire trial, nor directly to the author of this book; and that Larry/Leticia is no longer able to tell his side of the story, this book is low on details of what was happening between the two boys prior to the day of the shooting. Many interviews and witnesses talked about these two, however testimony proved contradictory and witnesses didn't feel confident in their interpretations of events. I would really have liked to have heard more about what led up to the shooting, but unfortunately there wasn't really any way to know more facts about their shared history.

The bulk of the book details the trial and the people who participate in the trial. The author details the events without injecting judgment or blame. An interested third party, looking for truth and motivation, not laying anything on any of the players in this scene.

I found the outcome of the trial to be anti-climactic but was somewhat satisfied by what comes next. I was glad to have won a copy of this book via LibraryThing. ( )
  mandersj73 | May 29, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really liked the pace of this book. It was a bit slow, and it did drag just a little towards the middle/end of the story, but it was a real-time look at the trial itself. I appreciated all the detail that was given, and how we learned about both of these children through just the testimonies of their friends and classmates. It was a very interesting and tragic story about two troubled boys just trying to get through the hardest part of being a kid - junior high. ( )
  egsanford | May 12, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805099204, Hardcover)

A psychologist's gripping, troubling, and moving exploration of the brutal murder of a possibly transgender middle school student by an eighth grade classmate

On Feb. 12, 2008, at E. O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, CA, 14-year-old Brandon McInerney shot and killed his classmate, Larry King, who had recently begun to call himself "Leticia" and wear makeup and jewelry to school.

Profoundly shaken by the news, and unsettled by media coverage that sidestepped the issues of gender identity and of race integral to the case, psychologist Ken Corbett traveled to LA to attend the trial. As visions of victim and perpetrator were woven and unwoven in the theater of the courtroom, a haunting picture emerged not only of the two young teenagers, but also of spectators altered by an atrocity and of a community that had unwittingly gestated a murder. Drawing on firsthand observations, extensive interviews and research, as well as on his decades of academic work on gender and sexuality, Corbett holds each murky facet of this case up to the light, exploring the fault lines of memory and the lacunae of uncertainty behind facts. Deeply compassionate, and brimming with wit and acute insight, A Murder Over a Girl is a riveting and stranger-than-fiction drama of the human psyche.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 08 Dec 2015 20:34:57 -0500)

"A psychologist's gripping, troubling, and moving exploration of the brutal murder of a possibly transgender middle school student by an eighth grade classmate. On Feb. 12, 2008, at E. O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, CA, 14-year-old Brandon McInerney shot and killed his classmate, Larry King, who had recently begun to call himself "Leticia" and wear makeup and jewelry to school. Profoundly shaken by the news, and unsettled by media coverage that sidestepped the issues of gender identity and of race integral to the case, psychologist Ken Corbett traveled to LA to attend the trial. As visions of victim and perpetrator were woven and unwoven in the theater of the courtroom, a haunting picture emerged not only of the two young teenagers, but also of spectators altered by an atrocity and of a community that had unwittingly gestated a murder. Drawing on firsthand observations, extensive interviews and research, as well as on his decades of academic work on gender and sexuality, Corbett holds each murky facet of this case up to the light, exploring the fault lines of memory and the lacunae of uncertainty behind facts. Deeply compassionate, and brimming with wit and acute insight, A Murder Over a Girl is a riveting and stranger-than-fiction drama of the human psyche"--… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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