Customer Reviews


8 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad but unsentimental, a real find
Maggie Nelson has written a powerful and deeply personal memoir that explores the world of quiet, enduring grief that settles on a family after suffering a horrific act of violence. Nelson doesn't seek easy answers or sentimental comforts, but rather delves unflinchingly into her own complicated life and the lives of her family as they revisit a tragedy that has left its...
Published on September 21, 2007 by Robert Rummel-Hudson

versus
1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Red Parts
I found this book interesting but sometimes hard to follow as it is a memoir of the author's thoughts and life weaved into the story of her aunt's murder. I find some of the the thoughts and actions of the author disturbing.
Published on June 6, 2007 by D. Miller


Most Helpful First | Newest First

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad but unsentimental, a real find, September 21, 2007
This review is from: The Red Parts: A Memoir (Hardcover)
Maggie Nelson has written a powerful and deeply personal memoir that explores the world of quiet, enduring grief that settles on a family after suffering a horrific act of violence. Nelson doesn't seek easy answers or sentimental comforts, but rather delves unflinchingly into her own complicated life and the lives of her family as they revisit a tragedy that has left its stamp on them all for over three decades. One of the most haunting and original works I have had the pleasure of reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars jaw-dropping horror and beauty, May 26, 2007
By 
This review is from: The Red Parts: A Memoir (Hardcover)
A stunning piece of writing that haunts the space between memoir and true crime. I re-read sentences over and over again because they were so perfectly shaped. It's the first book I've read about crime that foregrounds the gendered spaces of victim and perpetrator.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Michigan Murders Revisited, April 23, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Red Parts: A Memoir (Hardcover)
In late 2004, a Michigan man whose only previous conviction was for a forged prescription was charged with the murder of woman who was thought to be a victim of serial killer John Norman Collins. Collins murder spree occurred in the late sixties. Almsot forty years later, old ghosts were dug up at a courthouse in Ann Arbor. The Red Parts is the story of Collins case revisited, but focuses on the one murder that never really fit with the rest. Jane Mixer was not raped. She was not stabbed or dumped in a secluded area. All of John Collins victims fit that M.O. She was shot in the head once to kill her, shot again in the head and then strangled. Her body was then dumped in The Denton Road Cemetery off of Michigan Avenue, four miles outside Ypsilanti.

Author Maggie Nelson is the niece of Jane Mixer. She recalls as a child picking up a book called The Michigan Murders and looking for information on the aunt she never met. Years later, as an adult, she would go through her aunt's journals and discover what she was really like, no longer just the victim of a famous serial killer. This would lead to a book called Jane: A Murder, published in 2004. That same year, on the eve of it's publication she would get a phone call from an Ypsi detective saying "Your aunt's case is moving forward." After all this time, they had a suspect who was not John Norman Collins.

The rest of the book is the personal story of Nelson's life around the time of the trial of Gary Leiterman, the man who eventually was convicted of her aunt's murder. It reminded me more of a book like Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar than a true crime book like The Michigan Murders. It's not just the facts, but more of a reflection on life, death, and justice. Nelson says she developed a "murder mind," an obsession with death and serial killers while researching Jane. The title has to do with the parts of the bible where Jesus spoke, which are often printed in red ink. When Nelson hears that term for the first time she immediately thinks of a disemboweled body, a symptom of her "murder mind."

Overall the book is very well written and even if you have no interest in the case it's a good read. As I followed the case as it developed in 2004, it's especially interesting to read about it from an insider perspective. She describes the difficulty of seeing her aunt's autopsy photos with her family, as well as her relationship with the detectives, and Jane Mixer's college boyfriend. The death of Nelson's aunt affected her family not only for her mother's and grandparent's generation, but for her's as well, even though she wasn't even born when it occurred. The Michigan Murders happened forty years ago, and they still haunt Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.

If you have read The Michigan Murders, this book is probably as good a sequel and we can expect to get. It is perhaps the last twist of Michigan's most famous murder spree. The Mixer case itself is one of the most bizarre murder cases I have ever read about.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Maggie Nelson Book, October 2, 2013
This review is from: The Red Parts: A Memoir (Hardcover)
The Red Parts really is a wonderful book. And just like her book Bluets, she takes a single subject and tells and discusses so many important and vital things. This book, is in part, a meditation on the presence of God and how God manifests himself to individuals, a meditation on how such intense violence can effect an individual, an individual family and how violence is taken in American culture, in general.

Maggie Nelson tells quite a few stories about her life from several different stages of it in this book. And I'm really grateful that she does, at least for me, this book shows in so many ways how the life of a daughter, a student, a poet, a young woman, a friend, a scholar, lover, teacher and human being intersect.

There are a lot of chilling moments in this book, but she doesn't roll in the violence. Maggie Nelson's tone isn't cynical but isn't written in an overly emotive voice, either.

I'd say it's a pretty honest book, in other words, Maggie Nelson tells it like it is, or how all these situations developed, in her own literary voice.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars "Red Parts"a book, March 26, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Red Parts: A Memoir (Hardcover)
red Parts was advertised to be in good condition and it exceeded representation. I have been interested in the co-ed killer of young women in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti back in the late 1960's and this is a welcome addition to my collection of stories.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Goes down easy, September 19, 2008
By 
This review is from: The Red Parts: A Memoir (Hardcover)
In 1969 twenty-three-year-old Jane Mixer was murdered--shot twice and horribly strangled--and dragged into a cemetery in Michigan, where her body was found the next morning. At the time her murder was believed to have been one of the "Michigan Murders," the work of a serial killer who had raped and murdered six other young woman around the same time. But in 2004 genetic evidence from the crime scene indicated that Jane's murder was not committed by the now incarcerated serial killer but by a different man, Gary Earl Leiterman, a retired nurse. Given the evidence, the chances that someone other than Leiterman committed the crime are about 171.7 trillion to one. The brutal murder has haunted the victim's family, including Jane's niece, Maggie Nelson, who was not yet born in 1969. Nelson wrote this account of the crime and the trial of Leiterman with some misgivings, feeling some shame over--if I understand her corrrectly--making something private public, over further exposing Jane's suffering to the world: it's the shame of someone gawking at an accident at the side of a highway, I suppose.

The Red Parts is not a straightforward account of the murder and the family's reaction to it. Rather, the book is primarily about how the murder affected the author's life, how Jane's violent death still stained lives in the second generation. It's a sad book, not just because of the murder but because of the other deaths and near deaths and wrenching difficulties that Nelson has experienced: her father's early death from natural causes, a boyfriend's near overdose, a murder she witnessed, her parents' divorce, her older sister's adolescent life on the dark side. Nelson has flirted with the dark side herself, engaging in self-destructive behavior, fantasizing a bit too much about suicide. Jane's murder may have cast a pall on the family, but one suspects that things would have been movie-of-the-week miserable for Nelson even without that back story.

The Red Parts is written in spare prose that goes down easy, so it's a very quick read, and the story is inherently interesting. But you may find yourself annoyed at Nelson's sometimes bloodless reaction to the prosecution of her aunt's murderer. Granted, one cannot know how one might feel in similar circumstances, but I'm pretty sure a thought such as this would never cross my mind:

"Over the course of the trial my mother [Jane's sister] and I had each wondered aloud to one another whether Leiterman should 'pay' for Jane's murder (assuming he committed it) by being the best father, grandfather, girls' softball coach, nurse, whatever that he can be--presuming, of course, that he is no longer a danger to anyone."

This sentiment seems to me of a piece with the author's "deep-seated opposition to capital punishment." (Capital punishment wasn't in fact in question in this case, since Michigan doesn't have the death penalty.) But while reasonable people may disagree about the efficacy of capital punishment, it is to my mind thoroughly unreasonable to imagine for even a moment that being a really good grandfather, etc., is sufficient payment for having twice shot a young woman and then strangled her with stockings until her neck was the diameter of a toilet paper tube.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Red Parts, March 21, 2007
This review is from: The Red Parts: A Memoir (Hardcover)
The Red Parts is a deeply moving memoir. A compelling meditation on death, violence, justice and grief, as well as a gripping story. The writing is sharp and honest. There are no wasted words in this memorable book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Red Parts, June 6, 2007
This review is from: The Red Parts: A Memoir (Hardcover)
I found this book interesting but sometimes hard to follow as it is a memoir of the author's thoughts and life weaved into the story of her aunt's murder. I find some of the the thoughts and actions of the author disturbing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xa15fb744)

This product

The Red Parts: A Memoir
The Red Parts: A Memoir by Maggie Nelson (Hardcover - March 13, 2007)
Used & New from: $9.54
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.