A Memoir of Secrets, Survival, and Unbreakable Bonds
by Michelle Horton
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Pub Date 30 Jan 2024 | Archive Date 29 Feb 2024
A breathtaking memoir about two sisters and a high-profile case: Nikki Addimando, incarcerated for killing her abuser; and the author, Michelle Horton, left in the devastating fall-out to raise Nikki's young children and to battle the criminal justice system.
In September 2017, a knock on the door upends Michelle Horton’s life forever: her sister had just shot her partner and was now in jail. During the investigation that follows, Michelle learns that Nikki had been hiding horrific abuse for years. Stunned to find herself in a situation she’d only ever encountered on television and true crime podcasts, Michelle rearranges her life to care for Nikki's children and simultaneously launches a fight to bring Nikki home, squaring off against a criminal justice system seemingly designed to punish the entire family.
In this exquisite memoir, Michelle retraces the sisters’ childhood and explores how so many people, including herself, could have been blind to the abuse. An intimate look at a family surviving trauma, Dear Sister is a deeply personal story about what it takes to be believed and the danger of keeping truths hidden. Ultimately, Horton turns her family’s suffering into hard won wisdom: a profound story of resilience and the unbreakable bond between sisters.
"A devastating and heart-breaking account which sheds light on all of the secrets, the silences, the unnecessary opprobrium, and the injustice that still surround battered women in our society today." —Sheila Kohler, author of Once We Were Sisters
“This deeply felt and beautifully written book—this tale of tragedy and love, cruelty and community—will stay with me long after Nikki comes home and these two amazing sisters and their children can heal. It will stay with me, inspire me, and fuel my commitment to women, because as little Ben says at the end of the book, “It’s not over until we help all the other mommies who defended themselves get free.” —Elizabeth Lesser, Cofounder of Omega Institute and author of New York Times bestseller, Broken Open
"The sheer scale of what Michelle Horton has done — in this book, in her life, in telling her sister’s story and her own, in her very survival — will leave you awestruck. I didn’t read this book, I swallowed it. It will make you feel despair, rage, horror, and ultimately reverence and adoration. Hopefully, it will make you stand up and take notice of all we get wrong with survivors like Nikki Addimando. I don’t think anyone will read this book and not want to take to the streets and demand we do better. I know I’ll be out there. In a word, this book is miraculous.”—Rachel Louise Snyder, author of No Visible Bruises and Women We Buried, Women We Burned
“A gripping account of one woman’s ongoing journey through hell—the inferno of an abusive relationship that ended with a bullet; the Hades of a legal system more determined to punish than to understand; and the parallel torment for those who love her, fight for her, and admirably endure.” —Scott Turow, New York Times bestselling author of Presumed Innocent
“The most difficult circumstances have the power to break open our hearts and bring our spirit fully alive. In this compelling, intimate and beautifully written memoir, we touch on the true meaning of healing and grace.”—Tara Brach, internationally bestselling author of Radical Acceptance
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Average rating from 25 members
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book.
This was SO GOOD. I just loved the author's personal and honest take on the terrible thing that happened to her sister--the terrible domestic violence and torture she endured before shooting her partner in defense of herself and her children, and how this all played out through the legal system into the compounding of this terrible tragedy by separating this mother from her children. It was heartbreaking and infuriating that we are still here in this place, punishing women for protecting themselves from abusers. Horton puts us right in the middle of the action--her shock, fear, worry, exhaustion, anger, endurance in caring for her niece and nephew--you are right there experiencing this with her. I cried and hollered and told all my family about this book and how angry the legal decisions here made me. This is not only a mesmerizing read, but beautifully written, and also so important as the country continues to struggle to protect women from abusers. This is an important book that is still so compelling to read. Highly, highly recommended.