Zombies, bug infestations and now true crime! I'm already so creeped out I don't know how I'll sleep for the rest of the year!
Through the Glass is one of those books I never would have chose for myself, I'm not a true crime girl and the cover blurb was not selling me. Imagine my surprise when, ten minutes into reading, I was so absorbed I could barely put it down.
A month into her marriage Shannon’s husband kidnapped and brutally assaulted two women. Although aware her husband had been imprisoned at the age of eighteen for murder, she was told, by his parole officers and psychiatrists, that he was a fully rehabilitated member of society and one of their success stories. After several years of a committed, loving and kind relationship, they were married with the blessing of all their friends and family. So how could this have happened?
This was a fascinating story, but not at all what I expected. Less about the crime itself and more about her experiences as the family member of someone who's committed a crime, she is very open and honest about her journey. I can't say I had ever considered the ramifications on the family members of criminals, but it was crazy to read about Shannon loosing her job, her denial for long term medical disability for her issues from the crime and the complete lack of support through victim services (even though one of her husbands many charges had been voyeurism of which she'd unwittingly been a victim of). The ripple effects in her life were astounding and it was enlightening to read about her experiences. As a school counsellor she also had a very experienced background to help her get through her situation, and as a reader her background was very informative in the description of her experiences.
In addition to talking about her side of the situation, Shannon takes great care to talk about her now ex-husbands side. He was immediately sorry for his actions, was in fact the person to report the crimes to the police, and only wanted to plead guilty so his victims need not suffer for longer then necessary. At no point does she condone his actions, however she takes the time and thought to explain his background, lack of proper psychiatric care while imprisoned for murder and how this came to destroy his beautifully rebuilt life. By combining her story with his, she illustrates a lot of the short comings of the Canadian penal system, it's lack of proper rehabilitative care and many of the ways that it could work better to actually reform criminals. She talks about other countries and their various systems and makes interesting comparisons and suggestions.
Although a very depressing subject matter, Shannon manages to make the book both uplifting and full of hope, and impressive feat. She talks about changes that can be made to improve the system for the families of criminals, the victims and the criminals themselves and she talks about the work she does these days to try and help make that happen. A thoroughly engrossing read, which has left me with a lot to think about.
Through the Glass, by Shannon Moroney
Published by Doubleday, October 2011
Check out Shannon's advocacy website
My copy kindly provided by the publisher
Buy Through the Glass
Meet Shannon yourself and hear her story at the launch party: