Monday, February 10, 2020

Book Review - My Mother, A Serial Killer

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you saw I had some emergency surgery this weekend and are probably like, WHAT THE HELL, SARA?! I know, you want the story, and I definitely have it for you, I just have to get this review out before I forget it. I'm working on the story post and you will have it this week. Swearsies.
My Mother, A Serial Killer 
 Hazel Baron & Janet Fife-Yeomans

A gripping and shocking story of a serial killer mother, and the brave daughter who brought her to justice. Dulcie Bodsworth was the unlikeliest serial killer. She was loved everywhere she went, and the townsfolk of Wilcannia, which she called home in the late 1950s, thought of her as kind and caring. The officers at the local police station found Dulcie witty and charming, and looked forward to the scones and cakes she generously baked and delivered for their morning tea.

That was one side of her. Only her daughter Hazel saw the real Dulcie. And what she saw terrified her.

Dulcie was in fact a cold, calculating killer who, by 1958, had put three men in their graves - one of them the father of her four children, Ted Baron - in one of the most infamous periods of the state's history. She would have got away with it all had it not been for Hazel.

Written by award-winning journalist Janet Fife-Yeomans together with Hazel Baron, My Mother, A Serial Killer is both an evocative insight into the harshness of life on the fringes of Australian society in the 1950s, and a chilling story of a murderous mother and the courageous daughter who testified against her and put her in jail.

To say this book was a trip is an incredible understatement. It doesn't start with a whole bunch of fluff as most of these books do, it starts with the lead up to Ted Baron's murder by his wife Dulcie. Although her daughter Hazel didn't witness it, she was able to put enough clues together and was absolutely certain, even at age nine, that her mother was a murderer.

Seriously- I want you to stop and just think about that. If you're a parent you have a pretty good idea of the personality of a nine year old and what raising them is like. Now imagine being that kid knowing that your well-being is now solely dependent on this woman and you know she has zero qualms about murdering someone who is a problem for her. That has got to be terrifying.

In a time before DNA and the murder solving techniques that we know now, authorities didn't have much to go on so this woman was able to go for years committing these murders seemingly undetected. It took the information from her doctor to draw attention and convict this woman. Not even that, but even after convictions, she's released and her behavior is outrageous and bizarre. I can't imagine knowing all that you know about your mother's behavior but NOW you have to see her carrying on as she does. In a nursing home, no less.

And let's let that sink in. It's up to YOU to get your own mother arrested and convicted for these crimes in order for her to stop. You. No matter how strained our relationship to our mother may be, at some point you have to say.... this is still my mom. It just left me feeling all of kinds of things for this daughter, to be honest.

In some ways it read as a newspaper article and others it was like sitting down with a reporter and having them explain the case to you, and for me that was kind of difficult but also a bit boring for me at times. I wish it were more from Hazel's point of view but don't let this deter you from the book. If you are looking for a really interesting, but rather short (approximately 240 pages) non-fiction read, let this be in strong consideration. Especially if you're into Netflix documentaries, please pick this one up because you will be engrossed.

A huge thank you to HarperCollins for sending me an ARC for review, all thoughts are my own and when you read this one, I'd really love to hear your thoughts on it. This post contains affiliate links, happy shopping! 


Shooting Stars Mag said...

Definitely sounds like it could have used a more narrative style of telling the story, but it sounds fascinating nonetheless. I cannot even imagine what it would be like for her daughter. Sheesh!


Shooting Stars Mag said...

Definitely sounds like it could have used a more narrative style of telling the story, but it sounds fascinating nonetheless. I cannot even imagine what it would be like for her daughter. Sheesh!


Beth (Coffee Until Cocktails) said...

This sounds super intriguing. I love those Netflix crime documentaries so I bet I'd enjoy this. I hope you are starting to feel better!