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If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family…
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If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable… (original 2019; edition 2019)

by Gregg Olsen (Author)

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6864229,292 (3.88)9
A #1 Wall Street Journal, Amazon Charts, USA Today, and Washington Post bestseller. #1 New York Times bestselling author Gregg Olsen's shocking and empowering true-crime story of three sisters determined to survive their mother's house of horrors. After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle's talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now. For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and psychic terrors. Through it all, Nikki, Sami, and Tori developed a defiant bond that made them far less vulnerable than Shelly imagined. Even as others were drawn into their mother's dark and perverse web, the sisters found the strength and courage to escape an escalating nightmare that culminated in multiple murders. Harrowing and heartrending, If You Tell is a survivor's story of absolute evil--and the freedom and justice that Nikki, Sami, and Tori risked their lives to fight for. Sisters forever, victims no more, they found a light in the darkness that made them the resilient women they are today--loving, loved, and moving on.… (more)
Member:AmelliaB
Title:If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood
Authors:Gregg Olsen (Author)
Info:Brilliance Audio (2019)
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood by Gregg Olsen (2019)

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Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
I am so torn about my feelings for this book. On the one hand, I normally really like true crime. On the other, apparently, I don’t like the crime so much as the crime investigation. “If You Tell” is packed solid with depravity and suffering. It’s quite literally a tour through not one but two deaths by neglect and abuse ala Sylvia Likens.

The subtitled “unbreakable sisterhood bond” doesn’t resonate, which is why I’m dropping my review of the book to four stars. From my vantage, there was nothing but secrecy. The sisters appear to have looked on while their parents heaped abuses on family and strangers-in-need to the exclusion of all else. No judgement, but if there was any hope or comradery in this situation, the author didn’t demonstrate it other than between Nikki and Shane (their cousin).

I can’t imagine what living in this household must have been like, and my heart goes out to the survivors. That they appear to have cobbled together a semblance of normalcy after what they endured is a testament to the strength of the human spirit, though I really think the book would’ve benefited from a shift in focus every now and again.

The author’s note indicates that one of the reasons he wrote the book is because the case got so little focus in the media, and for some reason the sisters wanted their story told. I can’t imagine wanting to make these details public given that they didn’t even speak to each other about what happened, according to the book, until the youngest of the three was fourteen and the other two were already out of the house, but it isn’t for me to guess at their reasons. As the story goes—what the author chose to include and exclude—the focus is abuse. Cruelty. It isn’t a book I walked away from understanding anyone’s motivations, and I miss a redemptive quality. After all the tragedy, the book ends on an even lower note. I wouldn’t have guessed that was possible.

( )
  bfrisch | Dec 9, 2022 |
4 ( )
  Jonez | Sep 23, 2022 |
My five stars are for Shelly's victims. Kathy, Ron, Shane, Mac, Nikki, Sami, and Tori. Dave, Lara, Kathy's family, Ron's family, others. They all suffered.

This was a hard read. I had a mother that was similar to Shelly and it was hard reading the psychological and verbal abuse that went on. My mother did a lot of that to me. I could understand how the girls felt powerless and overwhelmed and fear and all the other feelings they felt. ( )
  pacbox | Jul 9, 2022 |
Not for the faint at heart, "If You Tell" is the story of the Knotek sisters' fight for survival while growing up under the tyrannical rule of their sadistic mother Shelly. Along with their overly obedient and frequently abusive stepfather, Shelly creates a web of lies and the perfect stories in order to draw people into her world of torture, abuse, and eventually double murder. Full of violence and misery, this book is like a car accident you cannot look away from. It is a well written, true crime, page turner. ( )
  LibraryLeia | May 20, 2022 |
After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle’s talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now.

For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and psychic terrors. Through it all, Nikki, Sami, and Tori developed a defiant bond that made them far less vulnerable than Shelly imagined. Even as others were drawn into their mother’s dark and perverse web, the sisters found the strength and courage to escape an escalating nightmare that culminated in multiple murders.

Harrowing and heartrending, If You Tell is a survivor’s story of absolute evil - and the freedom and justice that Nikki, Sami, and Tori risked their lives to fight for. Sisters forever, victims no more, they found a light in the darkness that made them the resilient women they are today - loving, loved, and moving on.
  Gmomaj | Mar 22, 2022 |
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Gregg Olsenprimary authorall editionscalculated
Peakes, KarenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A #1 Wall Street Journal, Amazon Charts, USA Today, and Washington Post bestseller. #1 New York Times bestselling author Gregg Olsen's shocking and empowering true-crime story of three sisters determined to survive their mother's house of horrors. After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle's talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now. For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and psychic terrors. Through it all, Nikki, Sami, and Tori developed a defiant bond that made them far less vulnerable than Shelly imagined. Even as others were drawn into their mother's dark and perverse web, the sisters found the strength and courage to escape an escalating nightmare that culminated in multiple murders. Harrowing and heartrending, If You Tell is a survivor's story of absolute evil--and the freedom and justice that Nikki, Sami, and Tori risked their lives to fight for. Sisters forever, victims no more, they found a light in the darkness that made them the resilient women they are today--loving, loved, and moving on.

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