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Strange Piece of Paradise Paperback – March 20, 2007
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More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Even if the story were lacking, which it certainly isn't, Terri Jentz skillfull and honest re-telling of the events that forever altered and in many ways shaped the rest of her life could make up for it. But instead this book, 542 pages of very closely typed small print, is worth a thousand pages of raw emotion that left me feeling that it had been under, rather than overstated.
Page by page, the author takes you on a tour of her life from age 19, when as a college student at Yale, she and her roommate Shayna undertake a cross-country bicycle ride. Beginning and ending in Oregon, the summer-long excursion ends in a mere 7 days when an axe-wielding maniac first drives over the tent as the girls lie at camp sleeping, and then hacks and carves into them before returning to his truck and driving away.
The girls live, but Terri tells the story, detail by detail, and as a reader, I sensed that I too was on that bike ride, in the tent, and almost twenty years later, re-tracing both the steps leading up to the attack and the attack itself. But even more compelling is that the way Terri tells her story, all emotion is felt, including not only the fear and terror, but the emotionally blank periods in Terri's life in which, to cope with the horror, she had shut out her ability to sense the reality of what had happened to her as she related her experience to friends and acquaintences as if it were a piece of amusing fiction.Read more ›
Jentz was physically damaged by the event, but she moved on with her life as a woman unafraid of telling her story, unafraid of the dark, and still willing to tent-camp. Her companion Shayna had amnesia about the night and barely survived with limited vision. She distanced herself from Jentz and the memories of that night as much as possible.
Fifteen years later, Jentz returned to Cline Falls, Oregon to investigate her past. "Could I ever apply meaning to what had long seemed a senseless act, one that happened without pattern or reason?" "Who was the man who emerged that night in a desert park, bent on destruction?" The statute of limitations on attempted murder in Oregon was a mere three years, so Jentz's adult odyssey was truly a personal exploration, not a formal legal investigation. In Orgeon, Jentz teamed up with victim's rights advocate Dee Dee, who puts it best: "We kind of reward you because you're not very good at what you do. The only difference between attempted murder and murder is that somebody was inadequate in what they tried to do. Their intent was the same. That person is as great a danger to society as the person who completed the murder. Maybe they're a bad shot.Read more ›
First, it is a gripping, page-turning, dectective story with the twist that the investigation is taking place fifteen years after the crime and the victim is pursuing the criminal. Second, it is an important exaimination of the effects of voilence on our communities and an expose of our ineffective criminal justice system. Finally, the book is a powerful study of identity, an unusual "coming of age" story that takes place over thirty years. The author was deeply traumatized by her random brush with death. I found her struggle to integrate and make sense of this senseless act very moving.
This is a complex book and undoubtedly it will provoke comdemnation from some who disagree with its premisees or who do not "get" its introspective components. The author challenges conservative notions by powerfully revealing the pervasiveness of violence against women in our culture, and challenges liberal naivete about forgiveness and reformation of criminal minds. This book grapples with important issues and I hope it provokes some much needed national discussion.
This review is not particularly objective; Terri is a friend, and my parents play a supporting role in her tale. However, rather than coloring my judgement, I believe my familiarity with Terri and my family's experience as victims of crime gives me a unique vantage point for reviewing the book. Terri captures the complexity and nuances of the effects of trauma. Most importantly, her work is profoundly honest and genuine. I watched her go through this process for over a decade. Her book is the real deal.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a fantastic and compelling (true) tale of one woman's ability to confront the past and move forward, all while seeking to exorcise the demons of a terribly violent and... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Barrett D. Ford
Terri Jentz's Strange Paradise is her phenomenal first-person account of what happened to her and her close Yale University roommate when they commenced their dream cross-country... Read morePublished 4 months ago by West Coast Guy
Outstanding book. Written so very well. Unfortunately suspect she may never have emotional resolution from something so horrific. I hope she finds some peace.Published 9 months ago by Charlotte Hess
I read this book completely through because I wanted to find out the outcome, but I will just tell you - I wish I would have stopped at the beginning when I wanted to. Read morePublished 10 months ago by K. Brandt
Okay, I like true crime. I said it. Not that much anymore. If you knew me, you would be surprised that i do. I think it started with Ann Rule, and then I just went wild. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
I just read this book, or at least most of it. I see that the previous reviews on Amazon date from 2006. Maybe I can add a fresh perspective, or maybe not... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Dr. David S. Waugh
Starts off as a very compelling story, but as it is so personal to the author, it seems she had a hard time leaving anything out. Read morePublished 17 months ago by itssadie
Don't buy this book if you expect to read a riveting mystery. By page 150 you already know who did it and it's just a matter of talking to several dozen different people and... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Laura Drilling