Wednesday, March 18, 2009

By Their Father's Hand by Monte Francis

This book is the horrifying and compelling true-crime account of the Wessons - a family torn apart by a father's single-minded attempt to control every aspect of each member's life, down to the final mass suicide/murder of nine members in their Fresno, California home.

This is Monte Francis's first true crime book and I would say it was okay for a first time.The nine members of the family who died were two of the murderer's daughters and the other seven were the children which the murderer had with his own daughters and nieces.This book will highlight for you how people nowadays are so concerned with their own lives that this family's neighbours did not even know that there were children in the home.Granted they were not allowed outside but still it does make you think.

I must admit that I did not get emotionally involved in this story at all so I have to blame it on the writer as I do usually get very involved.The story is told factually but no attempt is made by the writer to divulge any personal details of the victims or at least divulge details which would help the reader to bond with the victims.In my opinion divulging details like that goes a long way to involving the reader and evoking an emotional response.

I was stunned that these murders happened as recently as March 12 2004 as I had never seen it on the news or anything.It is amazing to me that some stories get so much publicity and some just disappear.In a show on Dr Phil on a program about Caylee Anthony the same topic came up about other missing children who no one knows about and the reporters replied to this in saying that the story must be newsworthy as in the case of Caylee Anthony where the mother did not report the child missing for 31 days and is also strangely unemotional about the fact that her child is missing.Well we know now what happened there.

This book also got me thinking about these other missing children.I think they should do a reality program where they speak to the parents of the missing children and also try to build a time line up until the child went missing.That way viewers would watch the program and all the missing children would get some air time as to their plight.Unfortunately viewers want to be entertained and this would be the way to do it.The primary aim of the show would then manifest itself by hopefully providing leads to help find the missing children.

Back to the topic at hand,my point is the book is written fairly well but if the writer misses the point and does not engage the reader emotionally,all the well written words are for nothing.Like I said people want to be entertained and this book did not entertain me.I did finish reading it and the final portion made it worth it as at the end one of the mother's who child was killed went into details as to what her little one had in his pockets the day he died and it was small items that she had given to him to remember her by when she was not around.THAT was heartbreaking and the only part of the book which I felt was written for the reader.This book would have been brilliant if there were more of these as the story by itself is amazing.

To view this book on Kalahari Books-South Africa

or at Amazon

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