on September 22, 2012
The title encapsulates the book. That is not my way of saying that the book is not worth reading! Indeed, I give the book 5 stars for what it does provide - and how it does explore its content!
The book is a somber reflection on the fact that - for some healing to become reality for victims - other ways of narrating their lives, re-membering [sic] their identity and reconstituting their future need to become viable - set over against the myth that taking another life brings life back for those who have lost a loved one!
This book confirms with its case-study - and with keen insight from Jody Lynee Madeira, what she has learned about the inability to find closure, as she says, "this side of the grave" (page 43). For Madiera, closure must include many things including, "learning to live with new, gaping, painful holes in one's life . . . . pulling together a new self-identity, the yearning to move from victim to survivor" (page 41).
Madiera achieves her purpose. The book is good. And, for an attorney presenting the "facts" - the book is helpful. And yet, I was left frustrated with her full analysis and her final paragraphs. I have a vested interest in issues of remembrance, reconciliation and peacemaking - with work I engage in University, Counseling, and Pastoral settings in Oklahoma City. I lived in Oklahoma City in 1995 - and heard the bomb explode from miles away, April 19, 1995. Like many others in OKC, I was engaged in community work & conversation about what happened & how we could process healing. I lived in Colorado in 1996 & 1997 - when McVey was on trial there - since the court agreed a fair trial could not be given in Oklahoma. I have lived again in Oklahoma for the past 15 years.
After careful analysis including her own prescriptions much earlier in the book (she includes an entire section on forgiveness, page 191ff), Madiera's perspective ends with her belief that closure cannot come "this side of the grave" and the fact that "never again" is a "fairy-tale." For me, while Madiera's review of the data is clear - her assessment of the future is bleak - and lacks possible options for forgiveness that can bring closure and open up new possibilities for individual and social wholeness and healing THIS side of the grave. In this respect, for example, I felt Madiera's presentation of Bud Welch (as one example) was lacking, given the ample evidence of his story made available elsewhere, but presented without great nuance by Madiera. Bud's statement, for example, demonstrates that he did come to certain "closures" after the bombing, "I was opposed to the death penalty all my life until my daughter Julie Marie was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. For many months after the bombing I could have killed Timothy McVeigh myself. Temporary insanity is real, and I have lived it. You can't think of enough adjectives to describe the rage, revenge, and hate I felt. But after time, I was able to examine my conscience, and I realized that if McVeigh is put to death, it won't help me in the healing process. People talk about executions bringing closure. But how can there be closure when my little girl is never coming back. I finally realized that the death penalty is all about revenge and hate, and revenge and hate are why Julie Marie and 167 others are dead." ~ Bud Welch.
on March 16, 2015
This has to be one of the most comprehensive book written about the victims families and survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing incident. Ms. Madeira, an attorney, skillfully goes inside their minds and extracts raw, heartfelt and honest, never-before-heard stories of that fateful day and its aftermath.
It's an academic, intelligent exploration into the lives of those survivors and the victims families touching on issues I never even thought about. For instance the conflict between those who actually suffered the death of a loved one and those who escaped death.
I felt like I got up close and personal as I read their sad, yet powerful stories. Ms. Maderia must have had the full trust, faith and confidence of the victims to have them open up with such honesty.
Intelligently written, and expertly crafted this book opens one's mind to issues that explore what exactly is "closure" and what are the processes of healing. Issues such as "survivor's guilt" and to what extent the execution brought satisfaction to those involved are thoroughly examined.
If you want to go beyond the headlines and understand the variety of coping mechanisms, the pain, loss and inner-strength and personal stories of those that suffered in one of the worst acts of terror in our nation's history, this book is for you.