Forgiving My Daughter's Killer

Forgiving My Daughter's Killer: A True Story of Loss, Faith, and Unexpected Grace by Kate Grosmaire (with Nancy French) is the dramatic and touching story of a family's ability to forgive even in the most trying and difficult of circumstances. Kate Grosmaire's daughter, Ann, was fatally shot by her boyfriend, Conor, when they were both just 19 years old. I figured I'd really like this book because I enjoy reading nonfiction and true crime, and this story has such a unique perspective to it since it's written by the victim's mother and involves the restorative justice theme. I'd never heard of restorative justice before, but I was curious to learn more about it. The book description reads:

"Forgiveness is possible even in impossible circumstances.

On March 28, 2010, Kate and Andy Grosmaire received two pieces of news that would change their lives forever.

The first was their worst nightmare: “Ann has been shot.”

And the second was the dumbfounding addendum: “Conor was the one who shot her.”

Their nineteen-year-old daughter had been killed by her boyfriend, a young man who had lived with the family and had come to feel like part of it.

In a beautiful, tragic testament to the liberating power of forgiveness, Kate Grosmaire tells the story of her daughter’s murder at the hand of her boyfriend—and the stunning, deliberate forgiveness and help that Kate and her husband offered to the young man who shattered their world.

Part memoir, part spiritual testimony, Forgiving My Daughter’s Killer is the story of a family whose faith was put to the test and so found the capacity to do far more than they could have thought or imagined."

First, the positives. You will fly through this book. I literally just could not put it down. I found myself reading it while cooking dinner, reading it while folding laundry, reading it before bed. I finished it in less than 24 hours. Kate's story was so compelling and I just couldn't stop turning the pages to see what would happen next. I appreciated the detail Kate went into in the book. She truly opened her heart and life to write this book. I can't imagine being in her and Andy's position, but hope that I could have as much grace and composure as she did. I feel like this book should be required reading for teenagers before entering dating relationships. There are so many ways this situation could've been completely avoided - if Ann had told someone about Conor hitting her before, if Conor had walked away from the fight, if Ann had driven away instead of coming back to the door.

My only complaint about this book is this: Kate is Catholic, and says she was often teased, bullied, or discriminated for her faith by other (Protestant) Christians as a child in the South. However, she then goes on to display the same attitude toward Protestant Christians several times in the book - most notably, saying that to other Christians Easter is just about bunnies and candy and Easter egg hunts, but to Catholics it's the most important day of the year. I took quite a bit of offense to that - as a Baptist, Easter (and Christmas) are the most important days of the year to me as I remember Jesus' life and sacrifice on the cross. However, if you can stomach a bit of anti-Protestant sentiment here and there, you will be deeply touched and moved by this book. I loved it and highly, highly recommend it. I wish the restorative justice movement would become more widespread, it would be so beneficial.

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


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