Cover Image: Rabbit Heart

Rabbit Heart

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Member Reviews

This honest and beautiful memoir really touched me. Ervin is very open regarding the impact her mother's brutal murder has had on her. She shows great courage in sharing her story. This novel will affect all who read it.

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“What happens to a 9-year old girl when her mother (Kathy Sue Engle) is murdered and the crime isn’t solved for 25 years?” This is the question that haunts Kristine Ervin’s _Rabbit Heart_, a memoir that begins at the moment Kristin learns about her mother’s kidnapping (and, later, her murder). The memoir takes us through Kristin’s adolescence and into adulthood. It traces her often painful struggle to become a woman without a mother to guide her, her journey to understand her mother and hold onto her, and her family’s efforts to keep the case in front of law enforcement until the perpetrator is finally captured and prosecuted. It also explores her relationships with men—the most painful parts of the book for me—and the ways violence reverberates through and shapes families and cultures (more about that later). (The title of the memoir, _Rabbit Heart_, alludes to a story Ervin recalls from childhood about a rabbit who dies of fright—without trauma or prolonged pain—and is what Ervin hoped had been her mother’s experience).

I’ll be honest. This is a difficult book to review because the subject matter is difficult to read. But it’s also a book you should read for this reason! Ervin is a powerful writer and her memoir is an excellent example of writing that is emotionally raw, deeply reflective, and well-researched. Ervin offers an unflinching critique of a culture saturated with images and messages about violence against women and the ways women are taught to accept, even encourage and perpetuate, violence against themselves. I found Ervin's ability to weave back and forth between the personal and the cultural astounding. It’s too easy to think about violence in individual rather than cultural terms. Ervin refuses that easy out and forces us to confront the deep cultural roots of violence against women.

Some readers will find the book difficult to get through. I would urge those readers to push through the difficulty because the book is a testament of a daughter's love for her mother.

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