Publisher: Penguin Group
Number of Pages: 288
Source: Borrowed from MIL
Challenge: 100 Books in a Year
On the morning of August 6, 2000, fifteen-year-old Nicholas Markowitz - knowing he was in trouble with his parents - snuck out of his house. He never came home.
One week later, authorities arrived on Susan Markowitz's doorstep with devastating news: her son had been found dead. Days earlier, a twenty-year-old drug dealer named Jesse James Hollywood, and three of his accomplices, had kidnapped the teenager in broad daylight as revenge for a drug-related debt owed by Nick's half brother. They later murdered him in a shallow grave. Hollywood fled to Brazil as a fugitive and became the youngest man ever on the FBI's top ten "Most Wanted" list. It would be nearly a decade before he was brought to justice.
Initially, Susan had thought only about getting justice for her son. But along the way, she rediscovered her own will to live, and promised to honor her beloved son's memory by making sure something positive came from the pain he had to endure. My Stolen Son is the gripping account of one mother's relentless nine-year fight to bring her son's killer to justice, and to rebuild a family shattered by an unconscionable crime.
"Well, it wasn't a Mercedes, but it would have to do. He was driving a 1976 Volkswagen Beetle and moving from apartment to apartment near Rio de Janeiro."
I honestly cannot imagine the pain and suffering that the Markowitz family had to go through. Their story was an unbelievably sad story, and I'm glad that Susan decided that she needed to make it known. I've not seen the movie Alpha Dog but now I really want to.
All Susan ever wanted was a child, and after two failed marriages, she was finally getting what she wanted. She fell in love with Jeff Markowitz, who already had two children that he had joint custody of. Susan was happy to be a step-mother, but still wanted a child of her own. She was finally blessed with a boy, whom she cherished and loved. Things started getting tough for the family when Jeff's first son, Ben, hit puberty. He was an angry child, and just could not stay out of trouble. Susan knew that her son, Nick, looked up to Ben, but she also knew that this could be very dangerous. Ben was soon hanging out with the wrong crowd and had been kicked out of every school imaginable. He was hard into drugs and often committed crimes with his new friends, the gang that had recently initiated him. Ben was soon sent to juvenile jail, where he stayed in touch through letters. Promising that he was changed and a new man, he wanted to be the big brother he needed to be for Nick.
Of course, once released, Ben was right back to his old ways. Susan was willing to do anything to make sure that Nick didn't follow in Ben's footsteps. She was very protective of her son, but also let him have some freedom so he could learn and grow. Soon, Nick was hanging out with Ben more frequently and getting into drugs. Nick had an argument with his parents when he got home early one night, as they suspected that he was high. The next morning he left and never returned.
The events that led up to Nick's death are completely crazy. It seems as though Hollywood really didn't intend for things to end the way that he did, when he first kidnapped Nick, but over the course of a few days, he obviously thought about what was going on.
Susan was obviously distraught, as her only son had just been murdered. She spent many days and nights drinking and taking prescription pills, just to ease the pain. Susan is a strong women, as I don't know if I would have been able to keep myself alive had this happened to me. I'm glad that things worked out the way they did, and that justice was finally served. I just hate that it took so long to happen. Susan says that she is thankful it took so long, because had it been quick, she probably would have ended up just killing herself. She said that the lengthy trials and all that was involved with bringing her sons killers to justice helped her realize that she needed to stay on this Earth so that she could spread his word.
This was a touching, sad and very emotional story. I highly recommend this book, and I can't wait to check out the movie. I am so sorry for the Markowitz's loss, but I hope that each day finds them a little easier.
Writing Style: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.75/5
((I found this a hard book to rate as it was a true story, and I couldn't judge the characters on being well developed, or the plot being a "good one" or not. So, hopefully you will understand why I rated it the way I did.))