TRUE CRIME REVIEW – Stay Sexy and Don`t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

“You start out with an idea you like. You write that idea down. You let it sit for five days, and when you come back to it, the words have rearranged themselves on the page. Now it’s shape-shifted into the dumbest idea you’ve ever seen.”

SSDGM is the perfect companion to My Favorite Murder. It’s best enjoyed by people who have been MFM fans for a long time (or at least have listened to a sizable chunk of episodes) – there are a lot of references to the podcast, inside jokes, etc.

Karen and Georgia have managed to write one of the funniest/saddest books I’ve ever read. It feels like you’re sitting down with your two cool, older sisters and getting valuable life advice.

Overall, totally worth the wait and the hype.

“We barely get any time on this planet. Do not spend it pleasing other people. Fuck politeness. Live life exactly how you want to live it so you can love the life you make for yourself.”

REVIEW – Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

This story is INSANE. I have so much respect for John Carreyrou – the scare tactics and intimidation that came from Theranos’s lawyers (and employees…and board members…) were no joke.

It’s amazing how many people (smart, experienced people) fell for Elizabeth Holmes’ charm, her lies, her manipulation. She is really just a bully who thinks she’s smarter than everyone else and thinks she deserves…what? Wealth? Success? Prestige?

It’s almost too ridiculous to be believable, but Bad Blood is solid proof that truth is stranger than fiction.

REVIEW – Columbine by Dave Cullen

I have to give props to Dave Cullen for this compelling, emotional, in-depth account of the Columbine shootings and the events surrounding that day.

I consume a lot of true crime – mostly in the form of podcasts and books. This is the first time I’ve read a book about an event that I remember, instead of events that occurred before I was born (the Manson family Murders, Bundy, etc.) This book is probably one of the most disturbing, frustrating and heart wrenching things I have ever read.

Columbine was a defining moment for my generation. I was finishing up elementary school, just about to enter 7th grade, when the shootings took place. They undoubtedly had an effect on my junior high and high school experience. I remember rumors about the “goth” or “skater” (oh man, so 2000!) kids being violent, hating the “preps” and having so-called hit lists. I remember a bomb threat in 7th grade that forced the school to evacuate us to the gym of a nearby church – we spent the afternoon waiting for answers and eventually learned it was a hoax.

Of course, 9/11 had a much bigger impact on the nation a few years later, but Columbine always stuck with me because it seemed much more real to me. I had never been to NYC, but I had been in a school. I had known those stereotypical “goth” kids who were (wrongly) vilified in the media.

I think I would have struggled a bit less with this book if I had read it 10 years ago. Now I’m married to a high school teacher. I’ve experienced active shooter training. Some of the chapters of this book hit too close to home – frequently I had to pause, put the book down for a moment, and tell my husband I loved him. This will stick with me for awhile.

I can’t imagine the emotional toll that researching and writing this book might have had on Cullen, but I do think it needed to be written and I think he did an incredible job.

TRUE CRIME REVIEW – The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

“…extremely wicked, shockingly evil and vile.”

The Stranger Beside me is a must-read for any fan of true crime. I don’t know if it was fate or divine intervention that put Ann Rule and Ted Bundy together in 1971, but it resulted in one hell of a book.

I knew quite a bit about Bundy going into this – I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts and have had an interest in the topic since high school.

This book was still incredibly shocking, terrifying and provided such an in-depth look into Bundy’s life and personality that the reader feels like they knew him. Although Bundy has been dead for 30 years, I still found myself watching for him out of the corner of my eye.

I think what makes Bundy so horrific (as opposed to someone like Charles Manson) is that he could hide his true self. He convinced so many people that he was kind, caring, a good friend, a gentleman. He compartmentalized the various parts of his personality incredibly well. Even after he confessed to multiple murders, Ann Rule admitted that a part of her felt bad for him and mourned who she thought he was.

When I was little, I remember my mom telling me that “monsters are real, they just look like everyone else.” Never has that rung more true. Bundy looked like everyone else. Only his victims saw his true face.

While reading the book, I also started watching the Ted Bundy Tapes on Netflix, and it’s been interesting to follow along with both. Would highly recommend either watching the Netflix series or finding a podcast episode about Bundy to supplement your reading.