Advance Reading Copy Disclosure:
Thanks to BethanyHouse and the publisher for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I have not read anything else by Terri Roberts before but what drew my attention to this book the most was the title. This does not affect my opinion of the content or the book in my review.
“I had no answers, only questions. Even with inconctroversible evidence, I still struggled to accept the reality of the day’s events. My son had grown up so loved-and loving. He had a wonderful wife, three beautiful children, a job he had aspired to and attained. Nothing of the bizarre, horrific, evil decisions he’d made this day matched the man I knew.” – Terri Roberts.
What drew my attention to this book is that school shootings happen way too often recently. See this list of school shootings in the US. Everybody should have heard about the recent shooting in Nashville, Tennessee on October 22nd 2015 by now. One person was killed and three injured at an outdoor courtyard at Tennessee State University. Why this particular shooting happened is still unclear but it might have been over an argument at a dice game. According to CNN, a suspect has not been arrested or identified. A couple of weeks ago I drove with my family back home to the States from Canada and we passed through Pennsylvania. I have never seen “real” Amish people so for the first time I was able to experience the traditional Amish buggies which I thought was awesome. They just go along with their business while cars pass right next to them. I have not heard about The Amish School Shooting that happened in October 2006 so I wanted to find out more about it. Let’s dive into the book review.
The author Terri Roberts is the mother of the gunman Charles Robert (Charlie) who initially took hostages a the West Nickel Mines School – an Amish school in Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania. He shot five girls (aged 6-13 years old). The other five girls had been seriously injured but gladly survived. Charlie Roberts committed suicide after he shot at the girls. Terri Roberts was on her way to work when her husband called her to let her know that she has to drive to her son Charlie’s house immediately. She mentioned that there were many helicopters in the air that morning but she never could have imaged that they were there because of her son. This crime her son had committed was something she could not have anticipated or predicted.
“A short while later, Charlie and his son came back inside, and the house began to empty out. It had been a good evening. I remember thinking as we all said our farewells that Charlie had seemed quieter than usual.” -Terri Roberts
The Roberts’ family was in shock after what happened. I thought the best part of the book was when the Amish reached out to the family after this tragedy. It is simply a great story about forgiveness and love. Initially Terri and her husband thought about leaving the area and to start somewhere fresh because the pressure was just too intense. The author describes very clearly how much they suffered and at the same time obviously the Amish people; especially the ones who lost their child. When you read the book you will find out how she stayed connected to the Amish community and you will learn how Terri’s family dealt with all the pain and suffering and also her struggle and her anger with God. It is important to mention that she does not search for excuses of what her son did. But will she be able to forgive her own son?
It is simply a wonderful read, because I have never read this type of story from the perpetrators mother’s perspective. I highly recommend this book. You will end up looking at your own life in a different perspective. Let me know if you decide to read Terri Roberts book: “Forgiven: The Amish School Shooting” or share your thoughts if you have read it. There is also a great documentary describing the shooting as well as the Amish way of life if you would like to see.
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