National Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey has written a brave and telling account of her stepfather’s systematic emotional and physical abuse and murder of her mother, a social worker. Perhaps the most chilling part of the book is the transcript of her stepfather’s last phone call, discovered by the author years later. Her mother’s death was preventable, but only if we continue to talk about why and how she died. She was at highest risk when leaving her abuser. She was a social worker who documented the abuse and made a careful safety plan. This was not enough to save her, especially when some of those who were trying to save her failed to follow through. Others, however, bear witness, as can we, as readers. This memoir, one of few accounts by Black or multiracial women, is devastating and essential reading.
–Karen Maeda Allman, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA