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A Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a…

A Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a Murder

by Karen Spears Zacharias

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A random choice from the library's "new books" shelf. An investigative journalist and author who never anticipated she or people she knew would become involved in a high-profile child abuse murder. Very real circumstances of how a 3 year old slipped through the cracks of people and agencies who were supposed to be her protectors.
A tear inducing read for certain. Not written as a tear-jerker or sensationalized, but an excellent accounting of how these unspeakable crimes happen. A must-read for anyone involved with young children, as well as a reminder to us all. ( )
  CasaBooks | Mar 14, 2014 |
I do love a writer whose biases are so obvious you can't miss them. And an author who's intimately connected with the case they're writing about is bound to be biased - so that's not really a bad thing in this case, just interesting. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Jan 12, 2014 |
Here, we have the abuse, torture, and death of a small child. Her death didn't have to happen, as the author shows the system broke down, or procedures weren't followed by child care officials. The mother certainly made bad choices, accused of putting her partying and golfing in front of her girl's well-being; the father, an immigrant, also made some bad choices out of fear of being investigated and deported. The author also notes that this girl was one of 18 who died in the state that year of child abuse, and the book ends with a call to help protect all our children by essentially adopting the new motto of NYC: see something, say something.

But here's my problem: this book felt to me like it was a little bit padded, like, if it were tightened up, it could make a much better long article. I never felt like I knew Sarah, the mother of the dead girl, and I am sure that was the point. But I also never got to know her boyfriend, the man convicted of the girl's death. The author talked to lots of people in Sarah's life, but the boyfriend (I can't even remember his name) is a black hole -- and maybe that is also intentional, or an artifact of her investigation, that none of his friends would talk (there were some emails from one friend ministering to him in prison, but they were unenlightening).

I generally dislike books by journalists, because I feel like their tales are disjointed - their works still seem like a collection of articles, rather than a complete work (the exception to this may be [b:Columbine|5632446|Columbine|Dave Cullen|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1275707896s/5632446.jpg|5803859], which was also a hard book to finish because of its subject, and its length). Of course I am disturbed and upset by this book, and I applaud the author's attempt to keep the poor child from becoming just a statistic.
( )
  annodoom | Jun 12, 2013 |
A Silence of Mockingbirds is a strange mix of nonfiction that reads much like a mystery of sorts. As Zarcharias shares the story, I was struck by how little people knew of the abuse that Karly was going through. The many signs are easy to pinpoint after the fact and Zacharias's kept me wondering what signs were visible, noticed, and what actions the adults in her life were taking. When you're not looking for abuse, it's hard to see it. It was heartbreaking to read Karly's reaction to the treatment and how she was internalizing the abuse.

A Silence of Mockingbirds left me much more sensitive to child abuse. It's a heartbreaking story and very well told.

ISBN-10: 159692375X - Hardcover $25.00
Publisher: MacAdam/Cage Publishing; 1 edition (April 1, 2012), 325 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher and Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, Inc. ( )
  gaby317 | Jun 25, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159692375X, Hardcover)

says A Silence of Mockingbirds is beautifully written by a very talented investigative journalist. But, even more, this is Karen Zacharias's  own story too, one of trust betrayed. A tragic book that we should all take to heart. We cannot change the past but we can save children who are in peril now. Karen has given us Karly's legacy, that of a small, bright spirit who loved and was loved. And yet destroyed by heedless caretakers. A must read. Compelling and heartbreaking." 

This is not a simple love story. It is the troubling tale of a father's love for the daughter he was unable to protect.  Investigative journalist and author Karen Spears Zacharias never anticipated that she would become one of the characters involved in a high-profile murder. But when she reconnects with a young woman named Sarah, who lived in the Zacharias home at one time and was treated like family, Karen discovers that something unspeakable has happened to Sarah's daughter, Karly. Compelled to consider her own culpability in this tragic case, Karen pieces together what happened to Karly through court documents, investigators' interviews, and interviews with friends, family, law enforcement officials, and key witnesses. 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:21 -0400)

An examination of the abuse that led to the murder of three-year-old Karly Sheehan reveals the tendency of people to disregard or keep silent about predatory behavior, and brings to light many instances in which the abuse could have been stopped.

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