Top positive review
21 people found this helpful
Well researched and powerful book !
on August 18, 2000
I found this tragic and touching story of Brandon Teena very difficult to stop reading once I started. I found it equally difficult not to be distressed after reading it. Jones provides a wealth of information on the killings of Brandon, Philip Devine and Lisa Lambert and the individuals involved in their brutal murders. Although at times there seems to be almost too much information to process, Jones does a good job in tying all of the characters together and the events that lead to the murders.
Jones presents the material in a fairly objective manner by including the childhood troubles of both Brandon Teena and her attackers Nissen and Lotter. Brandon's conflict's evolved around her sexual identity crisis and her struggle to live her life as a male. Nissen came from an extremely dysfunctional family and Lotter suffered from neurological defects. Rather than just present the victim's side she challenges the reader to think about how society helps to produce vicious and cowardly killers like Lotter and Nissen and how we fail to protect defenseless people like Brandon. Much of the information includes subtle evidence on the lack of family support and understanding for both Brandon and her killers. As a parent I couldn't help but think that this tragedy could have been avoided . For example, when Brandon telephoned home after being abducted, brutalized and raped why in God's name didn't someone go and get her out of that environment! Lisa Lambert, basically a stranger, was the only person who tried to help her but paid the ultimate price for her kindness. In addition, Charles Laux, the sheriff at the time, had more than reasonable grounds to arrest the suspects after the rape and before they murdered Brandon a few days later. Unfortunately he chose to disregard Brandon's safety and failed to act. Part of his unprofessional and brutal interview/interrogation of Brandon is included in the book and demonstrates the sheer inhumanity of his response to Brandon's plight.
After reading this book, some will see it as a commentary on the hatred shown toward groups such as transgenders, of which Brandon Teena was a member. I chose to see it as a story of how we failed Brandon, a vulnerable soul, by not helping her along the way to wherever she was headed - as a male or a female. This story of Brandon's life and death can teach us much about how we live our lives, not as single individuals but as families and communities.
To help fill in the gaps you can obtain the 1998 documentary-Brandon Teena . It was worth the few extra dollars and shows that at least one of the police officers of Falls City was prepared to help Brandon but was prevented from doing so under the authority of Laux. The video, Boys Don't Cry, also provides insight into the loving, if not confused, person of Brandon Teena.
Find out about Brandon and help give her life the dignity it deserved but didn't get in her 21 short years.