The Rising


I absolutely love true crime books, and I followed the Petit family story when it was in the news, so when I saw that there had been a book written about Dr. Bill Petit, I knew that I wanted to read it right away. The Rising: Murder, Heartbreak, and the Power of Human Resilience in an American Town by Ryan D'Agostino is a story of incredible heartbreak and tragedy (the details of the Petit family murder are wrenching and gruesome), but it's also a story of a man who's managed to put his life back together and start over instead of just laying down and dying - which he had every right to do! The cover is extremely well done and hauntingly beautiful. The book description reads:

"The astonishing story of one man’s recovery in the face of traumatic loss—and a powerful meditation on the resilience of the soul

On July 23, 2007, Dr. William Petit suffered an unimaginable horror: Armed strangers broke into his suburban Connecticut home in the middle of the night, bludgeoned him nearly to death, tortured and killed his wife and two daughters, and set their house on fire. He miraculously survived, and yet living through those horrific hours was only the beginning of his ordeal. Broken and defeated, Bill was forced to confront a question of ultimate consequence: How does a person find the strength to start over and live again after confronting the darkest of nightmares?

In The Rising, acclaimed journalist Ryan D’Agostino takes us into Bill Petit’s world, using unprecedented access to Bill and his family and friends to craft a startling, inspiring portrait of human strength and endurance. To understand what produces a man capable of surviving the worst, D’Agostino digs deep into Bill’s all-American upbringing, and in the process tells a remarkable story of not just a man’s life, but of a community’s power to shape that life through its embrace of loyalty and self-sacrifice as its most important values. Following Bill through the hardest days—through the desperate times in the aftermath of the attack and the harrowing trials of the two men responsible for it—The Rising offers hope that we can find a way back to ourselves, even when all seems lost.

Today, Bill Petit has remarried. He and his wife have a baby boy. The very existence of this new family defies rational expectation, and yet it confirms our persistent, if often unspoken, belief that we are greater than what befalls us, and that if we know where to look for strength in trying times, we will always find it. Bill’s story, told as never before in The Rising, is by turns compelling and uplifting, an affirmation of the inexhaustible power of the human spirit."

What a loved about this book is that it isn't just a "true crime" book. Yes, it delves into the crime, but it tells the larger story of Bill, Jennifer, Hayley, and Michaela. It's also the story of Bill's new wife, Christine, and their young son. I don't know many people who could go on after being beaten nearly to death while their wife and daughters were tortured and killed nearby. Not only has Bill managed to go on, he's managed to thrive in his new life, after enduring so much loss and angst. This is a truly uplifting story in the end - Bill's strength is incredible. This is one of those books that you'll stay up all night reading and completely lose yourself in. I couldn't put it down. You'll be moved to tears and inspired at the same time. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys true crime, nonfiction, or inspirational memoirs.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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