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Son of a Gun: A Memoir

de Justin St. Germain

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12824173,181 (3.74)17
Recounts the murder of the author's mother in September 2001 and explores the crime against a backdrop of a shattering national tragedy and the author's efforts to distance himself from the legendary Tombstone, Arizona, of his youth.
  1. 10
    My Dark Places de James Ellroy (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Also a memoir of a man's search for the reasons behind his mother's murder, Ellroy's book is more detached and straight forward but still shows the impact violent death has on the family left behind.
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» Mira també 17 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 24 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Wonderful writing but, oh such a sad and haunting story. It has settled around me like a cloak. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
This was a really excellent memoir. Told in unflinching prose, I was sucked in from the first page. What a beautiful telling of such a tragic event. Highly recommend. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
In September 2001, twenty year-old Justin St. Germain receives news that his mother has been shot and killed in her Tombstone, Arizona trailer. Though evidence and witnesses are scarce, it appears that Debbie St. Germain's death came at the hands of her fifth husband, who quickly vanished, leaving behind Justin and his brother as the family's remains.

After relocating to San Francisco and starting a new life in the years following his mother's murder, Justin soon realizes that he can't simply wish away her death. He revisits Tombstone, where he recognizes that he knows more about Wyatt Earp and the tale that made the town famous than he does about his own mother. Working toward closure, St. Germain meets with men from his mother's past and digs into case files, filling in pieces of the stories only half seen from the eyes of a child.

"...sometimes I blame her, too - not Ray, but her - because she chose him in the first place. But what are the right choices? My mother married the first man she loved, had children, tried to make it work, to do what was expected. He left. After that she raised her kids. It cost her her youth, most of her dreams. It meant that when we were gone she had nobody else, nothing to do, nowhere to go. Men took everything from her, finally her life. Now men blame her for dying."

Filled with stark but powerful sentences, Son of a Gun is a memoir both haunting and captivating, tracing the journey from grief to acceptance with self-discovery in between.

Blog: www.rivercityreading.com ( )
  rivercityreading | Aug 10, 2015 |
For some reason I kept forgetting this was a memoir - maybe because it read more like a novel; maybe because, even though the subject was the murder of the author's mother by his stepfather, Germain felt oddly distant.

It was an interesting read, although the back details about Tombstone and Wyatt Earp felt like padding and slowed the pace down. ( )
  bobbieharv | Mar 30, 2014 |
Read more reviews at The Best Books Ever!

Son of a Gun is an unflinchingly honest memoir as author Justin St. Germain looks back at his mother Debbie's murder by her husband, and goes back to trace her life beforehand, and afterwards. The story of Debbie's life and death is intertwined with Justin's own search for answers, and a little bit of Old West history, while he's at it.

Debbie's life wasn't easy, and she wasn't perfect, but St. Germain never blames her, and in fact expresses anger that people would blame anyone other than the man who pulled the trigger for killing her. Seeing victim blaming in books about crime is so common that it was a relief to read about the author's anger whenever people suggested that his mother should shoulder some of the blame in the circumstances that led to her death. I liked the fact that he examined this line of thinking, even addressing how it crept into his own thoughts, rather than just ignoring it.

I was captivated start to finish by this book and St. Germain's heartfelt yet straight-forward manner of writing. He doesn't pull any punches in his writing and allows the reader access to his most personal thoughts while he was on this journey. I enjoy reading true crime stories, or should I say that I'm generally pretty morbidly fascinated by them, but I loved this book even more because it wasn't just a straight accounting of the circumstances that led to Debbie's murder. It's an introspective look at the author's own life and memories of his mother and his childhood. The whole story is, quite obviously, tinged in sadness and a bit of regret. He's searching for the truth about his mother, but has to face up to his own demons in the meantime: his anger, his fear, his own distorted memories. I feel like a lot of memoirs often want to skip over this part, but St. Germain is unafraid to put it all out there.

This was a very heavy story to read at times, and with good reason. Deconstructing a person's life and the circumstances around a murder should never be an easy read. There are no quick answers, no real closure or justice in this case, no real answer as to "why". It really feels like writing this book was a growing experience for St. Germain, and I hope that he was able to use the writing experience as a way to better understand himself and to continue healing.
( )
  goorgoahead | Dec 4, 2013 |
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Recounts the murder of the author's mother in September 2001 and explores the crime against a backdrop of a shattering national tragedy and the author's efforts to distance himself from the legendary Tombstone, Arizona, of his youth.

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