- Paperback: 184 pages
- Publisher: Pen-L Publishing (May 28, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781942428244
- ISBN-13: 978-1942428244
- ASIN: 1942428243
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 299 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Blind Rage: A True Story of Sin, Sex, and Murder in a Small Arkansas Town Paperback – May 28, 2015
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Anita Paddock’s Blind Rage was not intended to be any of those, and people who criticize it because it isn’t need to revise their rigid views of what constitutes a true crime book. “True crime” is not limited to the journalistic kind of work some authors turn out. There have been many good true crime books written from a more personal perspective, and they, too, are excellent. In Cold Blood comes to mind—a true crime whose author became so intimate with his subject that his reporting of the events makes it seem as if were there.
I doubt that Ms. Paddock set out to one-up Truman Capote, something not many writers can do, but she has nevertheless followed in his footsteps by creating a narrative that brings the people and places alive. No, she wasn’t there for every conversation. No, she didn’t lay out the many police and legal documents that no doubt accompanied the murder and ensuing trial. That doesn’t mean this isn’t a true crime book.
Paddock's deep connection to the region and abiding respect for its denizens allows her to humanize the people involved in the life and death of Ruie Ann Park without absolving any of them of responsibility for their actions.
Would I have liked more detail on Ruie Ann Park and her children? Yes, I probably would. But if you gave me a choice between a book chock full of details, delivered in a distant, objective style, and one with fewer details and a warmer, more personal narrative, I'll always choose the latter.
Not every book we call "true crime" is designed to act as a reference work for the true crime junkie. Some are just well-written books that give us insight into other people without requiring us to have a degree in forensic science or police procedure. Blind Rage is one of those. Check it out.
I said all of that to say this, I read this book for several reasons. It was recommended to me by a paralegal who was in my Sunday School class for years (I am a legal secretary); it is the story of an incident that involves people from Cabot; and, I personally know some of those people. I moved to Lonoke County in 1979 but my life did not intersect with any of the people in this story until well after the events narrated here. From what I have heard, however, this is a fairly accurate rendition of the facts, as they occurred.
Before I purchase a book from Amazon, I always read the reviews. I do not, however, let negative reviews keep me from reading a book that appears to be one that would hold my interest. Not everyone likes the type of book I would enjoy. This book is such a case. The reviews are all over the place, but then I guess you had to be there, right? So, on the strength of the recommendation of my friend and in spite of the reviews I purchased it.
I have to say that it did, in fact, hold my interest. I read everything from contemporary romance to religious fiction and non-fiction. This book I would qualify as true crime and, given that it is this author's first book, it is not that bad. I couldn't have written it and I love books, words, and writing.
This is the story of a woman who was verbally and emotionally abused her entire life, first by her adoptive mother and then by her husband. If you have never lived with an individual who did that to you, you can't know what you would do. My dad was emotionally abusive to me, and he didn't even realize it. Then I married a man who was a perfectionist. He was emotionally and verbally abusive. I was about at my wit's end when I went through a Bible study at church entitled Search for Significance (which is now in book form). It changed my life and my view of my stature in God's eyes - the heck with what others, including my husband, thought of me, I had value in God's eyes.
A loving mother, as Linda was, will not let her emotional and verbal abuser attack her children without retaliation. It's the "mother bear syndrome." I have often said that I could easily kill anyone who abused my children in any way. Does that make me a murderer, just because I have thought it. No, but it could make me a killer - and there is a difference in a killer (one who reacts to provocation) and a murderer (one who thinks about, intends to, or plans to kill another individual).
I have come to know Howard and Judy Martin in recent years through their membership in the church I attend. I would say the depiction of Howard's intelligence and legal ability in this book are spot on. I have been told he is also very controlling - perhaps because even he knows that he is not smart, like Linda's brother was. I will say this, he is weird in the way he communicates with people and sometimes behaves.
Baptists believe that, if you are ever truly born into the famly of God, nothing can take you out of God's hand. That does not mean you do not have to pay for your sins, all sin has consequences. But since there is no punishment in heaven, you guessed it, you get to pay this side of heaven. If you have ever lived with or had a close relationship with someone who lived with an individual who had dementia or Alzheimers, you know how difficult life can be for the person who is the caregiver. I HAVE BEEN TOLD BUT CAN'T CONFIRM OR DENY that Howard now has dementia and Judy is his caregiver. If so, is that their punishment for what they did to Linda and her boys? I don't know, I can't speak for God. I just know that life will never be the same for them.
Don't let negative reviews keep you from reading a book if you think it is something you would enjoy. But, by all means, if you like true crime, this is strictly that. I have suggested in my "title" that you start with the Acknowledgments. That is because they will give you a better understanding of where Mrs. Paddock obtained the information to write her story.