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Redemption: A Story of Sisterhood, Survival, and Finding Freedom Behind Bars

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When I decided to look, I found more love and compassion than I ever imagined existed. Most significantly, I found forgiveness. I might even call it redemption. On July 4, 1990, eighteen-year-old Stacey Lannert shot and killed her father, who had been sexually abusing her since she was eight. Missouri state law, a disbelieving prosecutor, and Stacey’s own fragile psyche con When I decided to look, I found more love and compassion than I ever imagined existed. Most significantly, I found forgiveness. I might even call it redemption. On July 4, 1990, eighteen-year-old Stacey Lannert shot and killed her father, who had been sexually abusing her since she was eight. Missouri state law, a disbelieving prosecutor, and Stacey’s own fragile psyche conspired against her: She was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole. Redemption is Stacey’s candid memoir of her harrowing childhood and the pain and protective love of her sister that led her to that horrifying night. It is also an extraordinary portrait of what happened after she found herself in prison and how she grew determined to live positively, even triumphantly, despite her circumstances. Ultimately, and most profoundly, she learned the healing power of forgiveness. After spending as many years in prison as she had out of it, on January 10, 2009, outgoing Missouri governor Matt Blunt commuted Stacey’s life sentence. Six days later she walked out of the gates a free woman. Redemption is the story of how Stacey learned to be free while living behind bars. It is a coming-of-age story set in a parallel universe of a maximum-security prison. And, it is a story of sisterhood, courage, and justice finally served.


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When I decided to look, I found more love and compassion than I ever imagined existed. Most significantly, I found forgiveness. I might even call it redemption. On July 4, 1990, eighteen-year-old Stacey Lannert shot and killed her father, who had been sexually abusing her since she was eight. Missouri state law, a disbelieving prosecutor, and Stacey’s own fragile psyche con When I decided to look, I found more love and compassion than I ever imagined existed. Most significantly, I found forgiveness. I might even call it redemption. On July 4, 1990, eighteen-year-old Stacey Lannert shot and killed her father, who had been sexually abusing her since she was eight. Missouri state law, a disbelieving prosecutor, and Stacey’s own fragile psyche conspired against her: She was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole. Redemption is Stacey’s candid memoir of her harrowing childhood and the pain and protective love of her sister that led her to that horrifying night. It is also an extraordinary portrait of what happened after she found herself in prison and how she grew determined to live positively, even triumphantly, despite her circumstances. Ultimately, and most profoundly, she learned the healing power of forgiveness. After spending as many years in prison as she had out of it, on January 10, 2009, outgoing Missouri governor Matt Blunt commuted Stacey’s life sentence. Six days later she walked out of the gates a free woman. Redemption is the story of how Stacey learned to be free while living behind bars. It is a coming-of-age story set in a parallel universe of a maximum-security prison. And, it is a story of sisterhood, courage, and justice finally served.

30 review for Redemption: A Story of Sisterhood, Survival, and Finding Freedom Behind Bars

  1. 5 out of 5

    Laura Arabie

    Such a wonderful story of, well, redemption. I love stories of people who overcome the most difficult & obscene obstacles and still thrive & make a huge difference in the world. Stacey Lennert leads that category. Her childhood is a gruesome story of sexual abuse by her father. I've not read or heard of this extreme level of abuse before. And then, at 18, she shot & killed his sorry a$$ & spent 18 years in prison for it. I am profoundly & deeply affected by her story. She seems to have come out of Such a wonderful story of, well, redemption. I love stories of people who overcome the most difficult & obscene obstacles and still thrive & make a huge difference in the world. Stacey Lennert leads that category. Her childhood is a gruesome story of sexual abuse by her father. I've not read or heard of this extreme level of abuse before. And then, at 18, she shot & killed his sorry a$$ & spent 18 years in prison for it. I am profoundly & deeply affected by her story. She seems to have come out of her situation with a renewed faith in the world, and is doing wonderful things in her life to end sexual abuse. She's a hero in my book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    Society has failed Stacey Lannert so many times over the course of her life. This book is an eye-opening account of sexual abuse and how it ruins so many lives. Stacey has endured so much in her life, and now, out of prison for killing her abusive father, has dedicated her life to helping other victims. It was heartbreaking to read and I cried several times. How sad it is that those she admitted the abuse to either didn't understand what she was saying (because she was too young for the words), Society has failed Stacey Lannert so many times over the course of her life. This book is an eye-opening account of sexual abuse and how it ruins so many lives. Stacey has endured so much in her life, and now, out of prison for killing her abusive father, has dedicated her life to helping other victims. It was heartbreaking to read and I cried several times. How sad it is that those she admitted the abuse to either didn't understand what she was saying (because she was too young for the words), or, they weren't properly trained to handle such an admission. I think the biggest questions I have after reading this are: how do we shed light on the signs of sexual abuse in children/adolescents, how do we teach children to speak up (while they're often threatened that they will be killed if they do) without scaring them, and how does our justice system change so that this doesn't happen again? Thank you Stacey, for sharing your story.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    A compelling read (I couldn't put it down) albeit a depressing read (until the very end). I just read this for my book discussion next week -- should be very discussable! Stacey Lannert was sexually abused by her father from the time she was 8 (almost a woman according to her father) until she was 18. That's when she shot and killed him. For HER crime, she was given life in prison. Her sentence was commuted three years ago by Missouri's outgoing governor. This is her story. And, just for the recor A compelling read (I couldn't put it down) albeit a depressing read (until the very end). I just read this for my book discussion next week -- should be very discussable! Stacey Lannert was sexually abused by her father from the time she was 8 (almost a woman according to her father) until she was 18. That's when she shot and killed him. For HER crime, she was given life in prison. Her sentence was commuted three years ago by Missouri's outgoing governor. This is her story. And, just for the record, her father should have been put in the ground long before he died!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Stacey Lannert suffered experiences that no one should ever have to go through. Her supposedly loving father molested her and raped her repeatedly for 10 years. Although speaking up for herself has been extremely difficult, Stacey has finally found her voice and has related her story at first very quietly and then on television and finally in her memoir. Describing her life in detail took great courage and fortitude. In the first half of the book Stacey describes her childhood pragmatically and Stacey Lannert suffered experiences that no one should ever have to go through. Her supposedly loving father molested her and raped her repeatedly for 10 years. Although speaking up for herself has been extremely difficult, Stacey has finally found her voice and has related her story at first very quietly and then on television and finally in her memoir. Describing her life in detail took great courage and fortitude. In the first half of the book Stacey describes her childhood pragmatically and in great detail. Stacey's father went from the man she adored and admired to the man who hurt her and her sister and killed several pets. The remarkable thing to me is that she endured all of this without help from anyone. Over the years she told a babysitter and a counselor and even her own mother, but no one took the time to speak up for her. Every authority figure let Stacey down in someway, especially her parents. As is common for victims of abuse, Stacey felt guilty, that she could not fight back and also that she could not protect her younger sister. The first half of the story ends with the long downward spiral that Stacey went through that caused her emotional breakdown and led to Stacey firing a gun into her father's head as he lay passed out on a couch. The middle of the story details her 2 year stay in a holding jail while the legal wheels turned very slowly. Again, no one spoke up for Stacey, not even her mother. The justice system ignored any of the abuse that had led Stacey to murdering her father. She was given life without parole. The rest of the book tells of Stacey's 16 years in prison. She tells how she learned to speak up for herself and other victims of abuse. In addition she began to understand what it took to forgive those who had let her down,as well as her father and herself. In early 2009 Stacey was granted clemency and left prison a free woman. She was determined to be a voice for the abused and to tell her story. She has done so on television and now in this memoir. I was extremely moved by reading this book. I had not seen Stacey on any of her tv appearances so the story was all new to me. But whether you have seen her or not, you will want to read this very organized and well done telling of her life story. I hope that this book will help those who suffer without a voice and help the rest of us to understand those who are suffering.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    It always feels very uncomfortable to review a biography, especially one that I would class as the 'tragic life stories' category, as my reading pleasure comes at the cost of the author's horribly traumatic life experiences. However, as GoodReads likes a star rating, I've gone for 3/5. It's really quite hard-hitting reading to hear about what Stacey goes through at the hands of her father, and the lack of support from her family. She has a really difficult childhood and I really felt for her thr It always feels very uncomfortable to review a biography, especially one that I would class as the 'tragic life stories' category, as my reading pleasure comes at the cost of the author's horribly traumatic life experiences. However, as GoodReads likes a star rating, I've gone for 3/5. It's really quite hard-hitting reading to hear about what Stacey goes through at the hands of her father, and the lack of support from her family. She has a really difficult childhood and I really felt for her throughout the book. It was a very interesting read, and I was astounded at the level of resilience that Stacey and her younger sister displayed despite the ongoing hardship they endured, and both physical and sexual abuse. What I struggled with was the fact that the book was perhaps a fair bit longer than I felt it needed to be. I had to skip a few bits because I found it repetitive and I wanted to find out what the outcome was for Stacey. On the whole this is a fascinating read which I would definitely recommend.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carlton Phelps

    I am ashamed that I was given this book in 2011 to review and put it aside and forgot about it. I'm sorry. Thank you Crown Publicity for sending me this book. Thank you to Stacey Lannert and Kristen Kemp for reliving the pain and opening up their souls to educate all of us to the sins of child sexual abuse. Ms. Lannert's candor is raw and unflinching. She tells us how her home went for normal to strained to pure hell in a few years. She explains how tricks were used to make her think that she was I am ashamed that I was given this book in 2011 to review and put it aside and forgot about it. I'm sorry. Thank you Crown Publicity for sending me this book. Thank you to Stacey Lannert and Kristen Kemp for reliving the pain and opening up their souls to educate all of us to the sins of child sexual abuse. Ms. Lannert's candor is raw and unflinching. She tells us how her home went for normal to strained to pure hell in a few years. She explains how tricks were used to make her think that she was having a "special" moment with her father and how he manipulated her and finally raped her, for years. This book will be too raw for many but inside you see how a broken girl became a strong, caring woman who is now helping others to find the correct path in dealing with the monsters they may be living with. Times have changed as well as laws in some states that make it a crime not to report child abuse , if are told about it by the child. Still, some do not report for fear of getting involved. You be the only adult in that child's life that she/he may still trust. Don't fail that child.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kristi

    I'm so glad I read this book all the way through. The first half was very hard to read because it's the story of Stacey's abuse. I couldn't get to sleep for hours the first night I read it because it was so sad. After Stacey was in prison, she was happier for a while because she was finally safe from her father. Even though she was in prison for 18 years, Stacey made the most of it. Stacey came to know God and learned about forgiveness; she taught classes and did volunteer work; she trained dogs I'm so glad I read this book all the way through. The first half was very hard to read because it's the story of Stacey's abuse. I couldn't get to sleep for hours the first night I read it because it was so sad. After Stacey was in prison, she was happier for a while because she was finally safe from her father. Even though she was in prison for 18 years, Stacey made the most of it. Stacey came to know God and learned about forgiveness; she taught classes and did volunteer work; she trained dogs for handicapped people; and she spoke out against abuse. Stacey was finally released from prison, and she continues to find every way that she can to point out the symptoms of abuse and make sure that it doesn't happen to other young people. Her story of not only survival but making good out of a bad situation is inspirational.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Colette

    Way better than Orange is the New Black that is all the rage now. I highly recommend it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brandon H.

    This was one of those books that I had a hard time putting down. Reading Stacey's story was both heart-wrenching yet inspirational. While the subject matter is heavy, it's an important topic that needs to be addressed. A couple of quotes I liked - "I got so good at picking out the abuse victims that I could tell who they were by asking them one question: What is your favorite room in the house? Most answered the kitchen, which was a good sign. That was the center of the home, and it meant they s This was one of those books that I had a hard time putting down. Reading Stacey's story was both heart-wrenching yet inspirational. While the subject matter is heavy, it's an important topic that needs to be addressed. A couple of quotes I liked - "I got so good at picking out the abuse victims that I could tell who they were by asking them one question: What is your favorite room in the house? Most answered the kitchen, which was a good sign. That was the center of the home, and it meant they spent a lot of time with their parents. If they told me they liked the living room, I asked them why. Usually, they said it was because the TV and video games were in there. That was a clue that the child was cut off from her family, and she might need further evaluation. But if an at-risk child told me her bedroom was her favorite place, she was usually a child abuse victim. She liked to be cut off from the family, and she was trying to find safety in her own space. At the very least, that answer indicated the child’s family situation was probably not good. I could also tell by her body language—the way she turned or looked down at the ground." "Every moment in my life was a choice. In knowing I had choices—I could choose how I was going to feel day to day—I started to ponder true freedom. I could be free if I wanted to; the rest was just geography."

  10. 4 out of 5

    Judith Sentyz

    ABSOLUTELY 10 STARS I cannot imagine what this poor child had to deal with. And I find it so amazing that she came through it like she did. Thanks to God and her strong spirit. I have to say I couldn't read it without putting it down for awhile. I know what she did was wrong; my head says so but my heart says it is okay. I think one of the most horrible things was how he used that shotgun. Ms. Lannert, I am so glad you came through this. I hope the rest of your life is filled with beautiful thing ABSOLUTELY 10 STARS I cannot imagine what this poor child had to deal with. And I find it so amazing that she came through it like she did. Thanks to God and her strong spirit. I have to say I couldn't read it without putting it down for awhile. I know what she did was wrong; my head says so but my heart says it is okay. I think one of the most horrible things was how he used that shotgun. Ms. Lannert, I am so glad you came through this. I hope the rest of your life is filled with beautiful things. You deserve it. I'll end this; I'm going to cry.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jack Vasen

    Note, since most of this is public record and we do know the outcome, I do not consider anything to be spoilers. As you might expect, this is a very difficult book to read. It is about the repeated rape and beating of a child, murder, prison, extended periods of heartbreak and depression, and great injustices. The recounting of the severity and frequency of her sexual abuse was very disturbing. Toward the last part of the book there is hope and eventually freedom. I may be criticized for saying th Note, since most of this is public record and we do know the outcome, I do not consider anything to be spoilers. As you might expect, this is a very difficult book to read. It is about the repeated rape and beating of a child, murder, prison, extended periods of heartbreak and depression, and great injustices. The recounting of the severity and frequency of her sexual abuse was very disturbing. Toward the last part of the book there is hope and eventually freedom. I may be criticized for saying this, but one of the first things the reader needs to do is decide whether to believe the biographical story told by Stacey Lannert. If all of the things that she chronicles in this book are true, then not only did she live in a complete hell for most of her first 36 years of life, but tremendous injustices were done to her repeatedly over that time. The narrative is well constructed to explain how Stacey came to a point where she felt she had no choice in order to protect herself and her sister. And past that point, for example, she says that she asked for a lawyer before her confession and was refused and after without a lawyer she was coerced into giving a video statement. A large part of why she agreed is that she was made a promise to release her minor age sister which was later abrogated. She was not even allowed to have a lawyer for her arraignment. (Something seems unexplained here because I can't believe this would not in itself be a basis for appeal.) These are serious allegations against law enforcement officials which if they could be proven should result in immediate sanction, and even if not proven, those officials should never experience a good night's sleep again. And this injustice is one of the lesser ones she experienced. Lannert does not hide her less than noble activities of her teen years, or those of her sister. This background certainly did not endear her to the prosecutor. (Something is wrong with a legal system that rewards prosecutors for convictions, as long as they aren't overturned, without regard to truth or justice.) If you did not live in the era before M.A.D.D. and strict DUI enforcement, or that region of the country, it is difficult to understand how her father retained a driver's license, or for that matter a job. It is apparent from events that started occurring well into her imprisonment, that many people believed her story. Even while the investigation and trial was taking place, one of the detectives and some if not all of the jurors believed that she had been abused. One of the saddest parts of the story is how ill-equipped the legal system was to deal with the situation in a way that recognized that her horrible action was only after she had gone far past what almost anyone in her situation could have tolerated. It is a wonder that she never succeeded in taking her own life but she was able to take her father's in what was a final desperate act of self defense. It is interesting that Stacey has forgiven most, if not all, of the people responsible for so much misery in her life. Her story includes brief references to coming to experience God's grace through Jesus, but that aspect of her story was not overdone. One of the underlying messages of this book, and one that needs to be widely heard, is the mistakes Stacey made failing to protect herself and her sister. Many of the mistakes were those of a child who did not have the wisdom or experience to speak up in ways that would result in changes. One of the more heartwarming aspects of the book is the recounting of the letters she received from others like herself who were able to speak up and free themselves after hearing her story. This aspect of her story cannot be overemphasized. Unfortunately, her story also tells of an era of society which was not equipped to deal with abusive behavior that most people really did not want to confront. Now we have mandatory reporting laws which had they existed then would have at least saved her some misery and probably the life of her father even if he would have still faced serious consequences. The author mentions an attempt to create law giving the death penalty for child abusers. It sure seems like this would have been appropriate for her father given what Lannert describes. Much of the content of this book should almost be mandatory reading. However, as to style, at times the narrative rambles. It is often unclear as to chronology. She tells of a babysitter speaking up for her, but even backtracking, I was unable to pin down when the was supposed to have occurred - was it while she was preteen, or given where it fell in the narrative she might have already been in 7th grade. While this particular detail is minor, it exemplifies how the narrative wandered at times. Also, I thought that there were many pages concerning her parents life and her early life, while relatively few covered her trial. A fair amount covers her 18 years of imprisonment, but still not as much as 8-10 years of childhood. And I definitely would like to know more about what she is doing after prison. Even so, it is a fairly long book for a life of only about two score years. Regarding later in life - I just discovered that Lannert graduated from law school in 2017. That alone fills me with hope. I have perhaps another controversial opinion. It is hard to understand what justice there is in a sentence of life without parole for a person whose circumstances were unique and unlikely to recur and therefore not a serious ongoing threat to society. This really bothered me and obviously caused her hours of grief. If there is no chance of parole or pardon, then capital punishment seems more humane especially given the cruelty of both prison officials and other inmates which exists in so many prisons. (However, there is also a good case to be made that there are far too many overturned convictions due to improper prosecution. An overturned conviction does no good if the defendant has been executed.) I think that the length of my review expresses how impacted I am by this story.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julie scott

    Wat a incredible story of such massive horrible child abuse. Stacey Lamnert was jst a little girl who loved & adored her daddy & then @ 8 yrss old her father sexually abused her until the age of 18 wen Stacey shot him dead after raping her younger sister Christy who he had always verbally & physicially abused. Stacey was sentenced 2 life in jail with no chance of parole but with help frm sme icredible pple was finally released after 18 yrs & through her faith has forgiven her alcoholic father sm Wat a incredible story of such massive horrible child abuse. Stacey Lamnert was jst a little girl who loved & adored her daddy & then @ 8 yrss old her father sexually abused her until the age of 18 wen Stacey shot him dead after raping her younger sister Christy who he had always verbally & physicially abused. Stacey was sentenced 2 life in jail with no chance of parole but with help frm sme icredible pple was finally released after 18 yrs & through her faith has forgiven her alcoholic father smething ide neva be able 2 do. Stacey's mum who makes me sick choose 2 ignore the abuse & left her kids with her monster ex husband 2 go & live in a perfect world wat a self centred bitch. This novel was a incredible read but so heartrending it jst rips ur heart out. Stacey Lamnert is amazing & a true inspiration she forgives her mother who 2 this day still denies knowing abt the abuse. Stacey is still very close 2 her sister Christy & now helps victims of sexual abuse!!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jane Witzell

    An ultimate compelling story of a true survivor! I can't imagine living the life that she has. She is a true inspiration to anyone who has had to endure the life that she once had. I cried openly throughout this book. I plan on writing to her, to tell her what a saint she is. I am going through much grief and pain in my life right now with dealing with the loss of 3 family members and 2 friends all in one year. Her book and her insight has brought out a lot of what has needed to come out in me, a An ultimate compelling story of a true survivor! I can't imagine living the life that she has. She is a true inspiration to anyone who has had to endure the life that she once had. I cried openly throughout this book. I plan on writing to her, to tell her what a saint she is. I am going through much grief and pain in my life right now with dealing with the loss of 3 family members and 2 friends all in one year. Her book and her insight has brought out a lot of what has needed to come out in me, and I want to thank her for that! I couldn't put this book down. It takes a special type of person to help others, and she has certainly done that with me through this book. I was not sexually abused, but have lived with a sense of loss throughout my life. She writes about how she has overcome so many things, and how she has done it. I found that very helpful for me. I'm so glad she has found her way. She is a beautiful woman inside and out!

  14. 4 out of 5

    MaryAnn (EmilyD1037)

    This book is by an adult sexual abuse victim, who shot and killed her abuser, her father, at age 18. She served 18 years in prison. Although she was sentenced to life without possibility of parole, she was give a commutation at age 36 The book was a little raw, however she didn't dwell on vivid and vicious details for the most part. I really wanted to slap a few of the family members into reality. I felt that the author was authentic and realistic, and matter-of-fact about her prison story. I give this This book is by an adult sexual abuse victim, who shot and killed her abuser, her father, at age 18. She served 18 years in prison. Although she was sentenced to life without possibility of parole, she was give a commutation at age 36 The book was a little raw, however she didn't dwell on vivid and vicious details for the most part. I really wanted to slap a few of the family members into reality. I felt that the author was authentic and realistic, and matter-of-fact about her prison story. I give this book a 4.5 rating after reading the entire book in one night, something I seldom do anymore.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Delio

    So simply written it has to be real, and very, very sad. Human real life in its poorest side.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Wong

    I vaguely recall the news story about the Missouri woman whose sentence for murder was commuted by the governor in 2009. She had murdered her father - who had raped her as a child. Fast forward to last week, when I bought her memoir: "Redemption". Some of what she described in her story reminded me of my own growing-up years as an abused child. Both of us were eight years old when we were first raped by our fathers. I thought I could identify with Stacey's story, in some way. However, I found tha I vaguely recall the news story about the Missouri woman whose sentence for murder was commuted by the governor in 2009. She had murdered her father - who had raped her as a child. Fast forward to last week, when I bought her memoir: "Redemption". Some of what she described in her story reminded me of my own growing-up years as an abused child. Both of us were eight years old when we were first raped by our fathers. I thought I could identify with Stacey's story, in some way. However, I found that unlike my experience, where my father was always violent and abusive towards his children, Lennert had initially had a loving relationship with her father. This may have led to more of a feeling of betrayal in her relationship with her parent later on, than it would have if he had been consistently abusive from the start (as mine had). Though there were many differences between Stacey's story and mine- bearing in mind Leo Tolstoy's observation from Anna Karenina, that: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way" - there were still enough similarities to give me flashbacks as I read the book. The first half of the book recounts escalating assaults with each stressful event. Lennart's parents divorced, and that left Stacey alone with her father, thus more opportunity to violate his child. Chapter by chapter, Lennert described the incidents which culminated in the actions that led to her imprisonment for murder. I understood why she did it; I had thought of doing that in my own case, in desperation.....but fortunately avoided. Most of the rest of the book covers prison life and the unexpected revelations that it provided. I won't give away the ending, except to say that Stacey Lennart's story has helped and continues to help survivors of abuse through her story and her website, by allowing others to open up about their own abuses. Perhaps Lennart's story and others like hers may someday eradicate the cycle of sexual abuse.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marisa

    This was a really hard book to get through. Not because it was bad but because the subject matter is so difficult to process. Sometimes the rapes and other instances of sexual abuse are a bit more detailed than others, and those were the ones where I needed to step away from the book for a couple days when I'd gotten through those paragraphs. So it's an incredibly difficult story to understand on a human moral level. As for the technical parts of the book: the writing was just ok. That's unfortun This was a really hard book to get through. Not because it was bad but because the subject matter is so difficult to process. Sometimes the rapes and other instances of sexual abuse are a bit more detailed than others, and those were the ones where I needed to step away from the book for a couple days when I'd gotten through those paragraphs. So it's an incredibly difficult story to understand on a human moral level. As for the technical parts of the book: the writing was just ok. That's unfortunately why I've given 3 stars instead of anything higher. I know that a lot of memoirs like these are ghostwritten more often than not, but the ghostwriters are never that great. Since Kristen Kemp is credited at the back of the book for being a co-author, I'm assuming she did a large portion of the ghostwriting, and it shows. It reads very much like a celebrity memoir where the celebrity in question hired someone to write their life story, they check in a couple of times, and then ok it to be released to the public. Kristen Kemp does know Stacey Lannert personally, so I understand the closeness there in their relationship and why Stacey Lannert chose Kristen Kemp to be her ghostwriter. Overall, the book is a good read. The writing style isn't anything special, and it's easy to follow if not a little clumsy at times, and despite the painful content detailing the abuse poor Stacey Lannert and her sister went through, it's eye opening about sexual abuse. On a slightly different note, it's also eye opening about what life is like in prison as a woman, so that part of the book was interesting, too. So if you like true crime (especially if you have a particular interest in this case since it's gotten a ton of media attention) and don't mind some mediocre writing, then I'd recommend this book! Trigger warnings for rape, abuse, and sexual abuse definitely apply.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia

    I could not put this book down! Stacey is truly inspirational.. as a professional in the field of child abuse and domestic violence this book brought up many emotions for me. The more we learn about trauma, intergenerational trauma and abuse and the effects on the developing brain it amazes me that Stacey didn’t give up, she was pushed to do the unthinkable.. if only someone would have listened to her pleas for help! PLEASE if a child is telling you they are abused, if they show and signs or sym I could not put this book down! Stacey is truly inspirational.. as a professional in the field of child abuse and domestic violence this book brought up many emotions for me. The more we learn about trauma, intergenerational trauma and abuse and the effects on the developing brain it amazes me that Stacey didn’t give up, she was pushed to do the unthinkable.. if only someone would have listened to her pleas for help! PLEASE if a child is telling you they are abused, if they show and signs or symptoms; believe them and do not shrug it off... you may be the one person and only person they trust enough to speak out too! God bless you Stacey and your ambition to support others :)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    This story points out how people only see what they want to see, and often don't look past the surface. It also shows how much denial there is about sexual abuse - adults as well as the children in this book - and that abuse runs in families because that is what is accepted as a fact of life. You wonder how friends and teachers and neighbors and relatives didn't see past the presented façade, especially when they were told about the abuse. Of course, most of us know more about sexual abuse now t This story points out how people only see what they want to see, and often don't look past the surface. It also shows how much denial there is about sexual abuse - adults as well as the children in this book - and that abuse runs in families because that is what is accepted as a fact of life. You wonder how friends and teachers and neighbors and relatives didn't see past the presented façade, especially when they were told about the abuse. Of course, most of us know more about sexual abuse now than 20 years ago. We all need to question why a family is closed off, why children seem to be holding back. Well written.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Powerful! Wow! What a powerful story Stacey Lannert has to share. While a good bit of the book is very difficult to read due to its vey nature and content, it is definitely worth the emotional rollercoaster to discover her strength and her character. I had a hard time putting this book down. This is one I'll be thinking about for a long time. I'm very proud of her for overcoming such a tragic and troubled childhood to become a strong adult woman willing to bare her soul in order to help others ov Powerful! Wow! What a powerful story Stacey Lannert has to share. While a good bit of the book is very difficult to read due to its vey nature and content, it is definitely worth the emotional rollercoaster to discover her strength and her character. I had a hard time putting this book down. This is one I'll be thinking about for a long time. I'm very proud of her for overcoming such a tragic and troubled childhood to become a strong adult woman willing to bare her soul in order to help others overcome their struggles and possibly prevent them from a lifetime of difficulties.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jewel Star

    Well written, and interestingly enough, her experiences were so much like my own experiences of abuse at my father's hand. Almost word for word in the threats and actions. That surprised me. I'm so glad that she was finally pardoned. We don't listen well enough to our children, and don't persecute the pervs enough. My mother also claimed she had no idea, yet people questioned her about the way my father treated me, and even my grandmother said something was fishy about the way he always made me Well written, and interestingly enough, her experiences were so much like my own experiences of abuse at my father's hand. Almost word for word in the threats and actions. That surprised me. I'm so glad that she was finally pardoned. We don't listen well enough to our children, and don't persecute the pervs enough. My mother also claimed she had no idea, yet people questioned her about the way my father treated me, and even my grandmother said something was fishy about the way he always made me sit on his lap even as a teen. Women tend to fall into denial. My mom swore she had no idea and went about living her life like June Cleaver.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Traci Styner

    The first half of this book was difficult to read, yet I couldn’t put it down. The second half of the book comes alive as the author discovers herself and also comes alive. I still couldn’t put it down. Rarely does a book bring me to tears. Yet when Stacey receives the news of her release, I cried right along with her. There are some issues with the writing—what was the point of the Christmas Eve chapter? Some of the stories jump around. Overall, the writing was as good or better than most memoi The first half of this book was difficult to read, yet I couldn’t put it down. The second half of the book comes alive as the author discovers herself and also comes alive. I still couldn’t put it down. Rarely does a book bring me to tears. Yet when Stacey receives the news of her release, I cried right along with her. There are some issues with the writing—what was the point of the Christmas Eve chapter? Some of the stories jump around. Overall, the writing was as good or better than most memoirs. I still give it 5 stars for the brutal honesty, compelling story, and the life-changing impact it can have for women coming to terms with their abuse an abusers

  23. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Parts of this book were difficult to read, her descriptions of the sexual abuse are so detailed and graphic. It truly is a story of redemption - how someone can live through that abuse and the aftermath, go to prison for 18 years, and come out strong and determined is inspiring. She truly was redeemed, if redemption was required - I think the punishment fit the crime. I do wonder about her sister Cristy - how does Stacey know Cristy was not sexually abused? Stacey never told Cristy, so maybe Cri Parts of this book were difficult to read, her descriptions of the sexual abuse are so detailed and graphic. It truly is a story of redemption - how someone can live through that abuse and the aftermath, go to prison for 18 years, and come out strong and determined is inspiring. She truly was redeemed, if redemption was required - I think the punishment fit the crime. I do wonder about her sister Cristy - how does Stacey know Cristy was not sexually abused? Stacey never told Cristy, so maybe Cristy never told Stacey. My five-star revelation was found online after reading this book - Stacey Lannert became a lawyer. From a life sentence to public defender.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    Brutally raped by her father starting at the age of 6, the author takes a gun and shoots him as he lay sleeping. The breaking point happened after her father brutally raped her younger sister, even though she had protected her for years from even the knowledge of sexual abuse. For her action, she receives life in prison with no parole. She served 19 years before a Missouri governor commuted her sentence and she was released. But this story is not one of hopelessness. Stacey Lannert uses her time Brutally raped by her father starting at the age of 6, the author takes a gun and shoots him as he lay sleeping. The breaking point happened after her father brutally raped her younger sister, even though she had protected her for years from even the knowledge of sexual abuse. For her action, she receives life in prison with no parole. She served 19 years before a Missouri governor commuted her sentence and she was released. But this story is not one of hopelessness. Stacey Lannert uses her time in jail to help others, train dogs as service animals, gives forgiveness, and learns to be free despite being incarcerated. Excruciating life experiences turned into positive outlets.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marisa Gonzalez

    The true story of Stacey Lannert who was 18 years old when she shot and killed her father. She served 18 years in prison until the Missouri governor commuted her sentence and she was set free. In this book she tells of the horrible physical and sexual abuse that her father put her through and which led to her killing him, her life in prison and how she recovered when she was released. It was a very open and honest book but I do warn that there are very graphic depictions of what she went through The true story of Stacey Lannert who was 18 years old when she shot and killed her father. She served 18 years in prison until the Missouri governor commuted her sentence and she was set free. In this book she tells of the horrible physical and sexual abuse that her father put her through and which led to her killing him, her life in prison and how she recovered when she was released. It was a very open and honest book but I do warn that there are very graphic depictions of what she went through that are very disturbing.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Susan Gaytan

    She overcame a difficult abusive childhood . Stacey was abused sexually, verbally , and physically by her father . He was supposed to protect her from evil but he couldn't protect her from his own evil side . Stacey ended up shooting her father at the age of 18. She learned to survive in prison , with its different rules . She matured there and learned to train dogs . An excellent book .

  27. 4 out of 5

    Susan Williams

    Very inspirational! What a wonderful book. At first I did not think I would like it because of the choppy short sentence style of writing. But as I got into it, the story grabbed me. I was especially impressed with the last part which depicted her life in prison, her friendships, her personal growth and spiritual evolution. Thank you to Stacey for all the ways she shares and contributes. She is a true inspiration.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jakky

    I'm breaking my own rule and giving this one 5 stars. Five stars are usually reserved for books that are so compelling, I would/will read them again. I don't ever want to read this one again. It rips off too many scabs and I need them to heal properly. As I read, I thought of so many of my own "What ifs...". Painful, but wonderfully done. One resounding line that explains it all: "At the time, I didn't have the words." Me neither.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Veronique

    Power of the heart This book is an incredible story of pain fear and strength. Stacey is a beautiful example of what true courage and heart can manifest in ones life. It's hard to read at times, as it should be. I wish her and her family the best in love & light I gave 4 stars because the editing was a bit lacking. There was redundancy and timeline confusion at different points in the book. But none of that takes away from the power of her story. Power of the heart This book is an incredible story of pain fear and strength. Stacey is a beautiful example of what true courage and heart can manifest in ones life. It's hard to read at times, as it should be. I wish her and her family the best in love & light I gave 4 stars because the editing was a bit lacking. There was redundancy and timeline confusion at different points in the book. But none of that takes away from the power of her story.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Myrna

    A most courageous woman So sad such evil exists in homes of children. Children who don't know how to defend themselves against adults who are supposed to protect and defend them against the evils of the world. I shed a few tears reading this true account of this lovely author. She must have been put on this earth with the lofty purpose of helping little girls and big girls dealing with monsters.

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