Book Reviews of If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister's Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation

If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister's Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation
If I Am Missing or Dead A Sister's Story of Love Murder and Liberation
Author: Janine Latus
ISBN-13: 9780743296533
ISBN-10: 0743296532
Publication Date: 4/17/2007
Pages: 320
Rating:
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 202

3.6 stars, based on 202 ratings
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

49 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister's Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation on + 325 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 16
This was less about the murder of Amy Latus and more about the relationship of two sisters, both of whom are willing to put up with abusive relationships because of the dysfunctional childhood they shared. The majority of the book is about the author's own life....it is not until near the end of the book that her sister disappears. It is through her own experiences though, that she can sadly understand why it is that her sister never came to her for help. It is a sad book and a peek into the mind of those who are willing to put up with abuse from those they love.
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Helpful Score: 13
This book is so consuming from finish to end. I loved it!! I bought this from Barnes n nobles and finished it in 2 days.

In 2002,Janine Latus's younger sister Amy, wrote a note and pasted it to her desk in her office drawer. It was not until her body was found a week later that her family had for the first time of her troubled emotional and physical violence in her relationship that she was enduring. It is a heart wrenching, journey of discovery as Janine traces her own roots and her sister's victimization and unflinching candor. This memoir will move you, an hopefully play a part for all the women who have known or are in this situation and and break the cycle of abuse. One sister got out and one is now dead. Tragic!!
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Helpful Score: 10
Let me start by saying that this was a tough book to read, yet I couldn't put it down (I read the book in just over 6 hours!). Janine Latus candidly shares her life story and her history of abuse. It starts with her father and his emotional abuse of Janine and her siblings and chronicals her relationships with men and the physical, mental/emotional, and sexual abuse she endures along the way. Her life mirrors that of her sister who also endures abuse in its' different forms. The latter part of the book delves into the death of her sister, Amy, at the hands of her abuser. Of the two, Janine is the lucky one.

Reading the back of the book is somewhat misleading in that the reader might think that the book is more about Amy's story. That's not the case. Amy's story is really only told in the last one-third of the book.

While this book is incredibly gut wrenching (I was crying while reading the last part of the book), there are moments of levity. And while this book is predominantly about abuse and all its' forms, this book is also about families and familial relationships. In those passages the reader sees that there are genuine bonds of love that hold the Latus family together through it all.

This is a book that everyone, especially women, should read. For men this book can show how comments, acts and gestures that may seem harmless can be forms of abuse. For women, this book is a really a gift. I believe that Ms. Latus wanted share her story so that all of us could remember how truly wonderful and amazing we are. While tragic, there was an underlying message of hope that shined through.

Although I have passed this book on to another PBS member, this book and it's message is one that will stay with me for a long time. It's simply unforgettable.
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Helpful Score: 8
This is a fabulous book. As a domestic violence counselor I do not think that I have ever read a better account of "life on the inside" as I did in this book. If you know someone who questions the validity of their relationship this is the book to hand them. I cannot sing the praises of this book enough, it is horrific, enlightening and informative at the same time. The author captured what women having been telling me for years, it is very important that battered women know that they are not alone and in this book they will learn that it is so much more prevalent than they ever imagined. It depicts the cycle of violence perfectly, don't miss this one!
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Helpful Score: 8
To be honest, my jury's still out on this book. There is no doubt that the author is a great writer. She really pulled you onto the emotional rollercoaster that the sisters were on. The book was heartwarming in the sense that it showed a deep, loving relationship between two sisters. But what these sisters endured was also shocking and heartwrenching. It's a tearjerker. Ultimately, the book left me frustrated and saddened at what the two sisters went through.
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Helpful Score: 5
I did not plan to read this book straight through, but I could not put it down. I thought the author's style made for quick reading, but the topic certainly did not make it easy. I read with almost a sense of trepidation - you know what's going to happen, making each conversation between sisters more difficult to read.

A powerful book with an important message.
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Helpful Score: 4
While the subject of this book is compelling, I found the book very hard to get through due to the writing style. It was almost like free thought - the sentences were very choppy and it was difficult to get into.
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Helpful Score: 3
This book is a gripping read about two sisters who take eerily parallel paths through their relationships with men. Janine tries to be the slim, perfect, sexy companion (and still never feels worthy) and Amy uses food to compensate for her sorry-excuses for boyfriends. Both end up in abusive (and in Amy's case, lethal) relationships.
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Helpful Score: 3
I originally thought this book was about the missing sister...the blurbs make it sound that way. In the end, though, it is a book about the author more than the sister. It is a good book though.
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Helpful Score: 3
I didn't really care for this book and found it somewhat misleading. By the title, it is sounds like it is supposed to be about her sister, but it is more about her life.

I also found it hard to read because she doesn't use quotation marks to denote someone speaking. Maybe it's just me, but I found myself re-reading several lines to figure out if what was being said was spoken out loud.
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Helpful Score: 2
This was a great book! I got it at the libary, and finished it in 2 days.
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Helpful Score: 2
This book was great, especially for any woman who has been in any type of mentally abusive by manipulation relationship. I highly recommend it.
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Helpful Score: 2
This book was one of those i could not put down. I read it yesterday. Janine and her sister Amy are close growning up.Thier dad is a belittling creep who as the girls get older, he tried to cop a feel.
The girls grow up with a warped sense of what it mean to be worthy of love, and seem to think that love is just given with sex.
They have a series of bad relationships, and men that are abusing them in one way or another.
If you have ever been talked down to, abused or even verbally abused by a spouse, boyfriend or father figure you will identify with this book.
Amazing and heartbreaking.
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Helpful Score: 2
This book was not to my liking. Very little background leading up to the murder. Limited information on the character of the persons involved. I got nothing from reading this book and cannot, in all honesty recommend it.
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Helpful Score: 2
I read this book in two days. It started a little bit slow but took off from there. This book is really the author's memoir and does not have so much to do with her sister who went missing but still it is really well written and the author really opens up about the difficult things that happened in her life and about her father's perverse behavior. It's a very good book and I definitely recommend reading it.
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Helpful Score: 2
I didn't plan to read this book in virtually one sitting....but once I started I couldn't put it down. So many times I wanted to shake the author as she entered one abusive or controlling relationship after another. Her father made me ill and after all of this pain that she denies - she loses her sister to a situation much the same, but only more serious. The author digs deeply into her family history to uncover the roots of the behavior that cost her many years - and her sister her life. Enlightening first-hand account of the experience of a battered woman.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a real life story and all too common, as this kind of stuff goes on all the time. Why human beings behave in the way they do is beyond my comprehension. "But, above all things, we must first love each other." If not love, then at the very least, have compassion and allow the other to go free. Adults and children alike are being murdered every day by someone who "loves" them. I just don't get it. Why is there so much hatred and suffering in the world?
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Helpful Score: 1
An awesome book, one you cannot put down. Hard to believe that this is a true story. The author knows how to relate to the "common person" to get her story across.
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book but it wasn't at all what I expected it to be..I am a huge true crime fan but also love memoirs and this is more in that genre. I found her writing style to be very easy to read, almost like sitting next to her while she told of her life and that of her sister. Truly engrossing, I could not put it down!!
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Helpful Score: 1
this book surprized me. It lagged at times and I wondered what all the hype was about..then after I read it my mind kept going back to the two women in this books story. It is one of those books that will stay with you for a very long time.
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Helpful Score: 1
I cannot say enough about this book. Every woman of every age should read this book.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book was so easy to read and captivating that I read it in 24 hours. I stayed up all night to read it, I could not put it down!
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Helpful Score: 1
This book frightened me from the beginning. It was a true story and far too close to home to shake. This was such a sad ending to a beautiful life. While insight may have gotten the family some justice, eventually, it did not bring back the sister. A story that far too many women have come close to experiencing.
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Helpful Score: 1
I think I would have liked this book a bit more if the title or the blurb about the book had been different. I thought it was going to be primarily about the sister given the description and the title but the book is mostly about the author's life. Still a heart wrenching tale but I kept wondering when the "book" (what I thought the book was about) would start.
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Helpful Score: 1
I had actually read this book a long time ago, but ordered it as a gift for a person I know who is in an abusive relationship. It is a must read for anyone in those shoes and a great novel for anyone. It is amazing how her forethought helped the police in the end.
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Helpful Score: 1
Awesome book. Couldn't put it down.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a gripping read. You will have trouble putting it down. However, it was not what I expected it to be. The story is written more like an autobiography of Janine Latus' life. The two sisters seem to struggle with unhealthy relationships with men. A dysfunctional childhood set the stage for a life long qwest for love by Janine and her sister Amy. Both find themselves victims many times at the hands of men. Although, both are willing to excuse the behaviors in favor of the "good days". The sister's remain close yet never really tell each other what's going on in their relationships. Ultimately, one sister survives and the other does not.
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Helpful Score: 1
Janine Latus's: "If I am Missing or Dead: A Sister's Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation' is by no means an easy read. It is a memoir that unravels the complicated origins and grisly repercussions of domestic abuse. The unusual journalistic style in which Latus writes sets up an uneasy tension throughout the narrative - emulating the constant tension an environment such as this one engenders. While the book may be depressing to many, Latus's memoir has to be seen as an extraordinary achievement with a positive ending: she has garnered the courage not only to stand up to her abusive lifestyle but reveals, in writing so intimately about her and her family's life, a self-awareness that will hopefully allow the many others who suffer in similar situations the ability to recognize these toxic tableaux, and scenarios, before they get out of hand. Definitely worth a read.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book was a bit hard to read because it was so sad in places, but you could feel the authenticity and the courage of the author's story. I loved this read.
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Helpful Score: 1
I felt like it was a little misleading. It was more about the sister writing the book than it was about the sister who it claims to be about.
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Helpful Score: 1
was a good read but misleadinf title. Most of the book was about the authors life and hardly anything on the sister....wish I knew more at the end on why it happened.
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Helpful Score: 1
I have to use plagerism here and quote another reviewer because I've never agreed more with another review:

"I didn't really care for this book and found it somewhat misleading. By the title, it is sounds like it is supposed to be about her sister, but it is more about her life.

I also found it hard to read because she doesn't use quotation marks to denote someone speaking. Maybe it's just me, but I found myself re-reading several lines to figure out if what was being said was spoken out loud."

That being said, I still found the book compelling and read it rather quickly.
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Helpful Score: 1
This was a good book but very sad. The author was very open and honest about her situation with her family and husband and her thoughts about her sister were so moving.
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Helpful Score: 1
While I did enjoy the book, I was expecting a lot more about the actual crime against her sister. This was more a book about the author's abusive relationships than anything else. FOr that reason it was a bot of a disappointment.
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This book should have been titled "The Janine Latus Story" By : Janine Latus
I would strongly encourage you to read the one and two star reviews before wasting your time on this one. The reviews are accurate. The title is mis-leading, Janine Latus cares only about herself and wants to tell you all about her pitiful life, not Amy's. Amy's murder was used as a springboard for Janine to author this story about herself. If you want to read 300 pages of whining from a self centered, extremely selfish woman, look no further.
My advice? Don't waste your time.
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Very good book. Majority of book concentrates on domestic abuse against author. Non the less, very good read.
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While this story had much insight into abusive relationships, I was disappointed that the story was not in fact about Amy really, but about Janine's life. I feel like it was a disservice to Amy to cram her life and death into the last couple of chapters of the book.
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Very gripping story...read it in a matter of two days..
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A good cautionary story: we can't expect our family to spill their deep dark secrets, such as an an abusive spouse. My take from this story was to keep listening to that little intuition that says "there's seething wrong here" and to keep giving your loved one chances to open up.
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"Lots of things happen between couples, and nobody needs to know. I don't need to air my dirty laundry. I don't need to tell."

But if her sister Amy had told she may have been alive today.

Many people have criticized this book, whether it be for the writing style being "disjointed" or "inconclusive", for the book book having been marketed as what they thought was true crime, for the author's blindness to her own similar situation while encouraging her sister to get out of her relationship, or for it just being "too whiny".
As far as the writing style, I liked it. I could only put this book down reluctantly until I finished it. I thought it well written, and it was written the way most people think. Our thoughts are not always jointed, especially when living in stressful situations---the writing expressed well how the author was feeling not at the time she wrote it, but at the time she was experiencing the given situations. It was not "whiny". It was an honest memoir, but unless you have been in the same situation you may not realize that.
"If you see yourself in this book, you are not alone. I thought I was. Amy thought she was. But we aren't".
I thought I was alone...Unfortunately, thousands of women know all too well what the author have gone through firsthand, and unfortunately many of them do wind up like her sister. But fortunately some of us get out of these situations to live better lives.
The author having been blind to her own situation while encouraging her sister to get out of a bad relationship is just typical of being in that type relationship---the dominant person makes the other person feel uncertain of everything in their own life: their relationship, their situation, their security, their own thoughts even. Which is why she also would think everything was her own fault, rather than the fault of a neurotic, insecure, jealous husband. And at the end she did finally leave him.

As for this being marketed as true crime, the publisher have more control over that than the author.
Although it was a true crime, the book is not about the crime so much as the relationships that the sisters had with the men in their lives (including their father) which were mainly dysfunctional and the effects of the those relationships.
But that did not take away from the fact that this was a very good book worth reading.
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This was a great book, so touching.
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I have read a lot of true-first person accounts as part of my training, because I am the paralegal to the staff attorney for our local domestic violennce outreach. Its a topic I find fascinating, because even though I, myself, am a survivor of domestic violence, both towards me and earlier towards my mother, I never understand why its so simple to resort to violence. Aren't we civilized? Anyway, this is a really finely written accounting of one woman's journey into the world of domestic violence, and how her family strives for justice.
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This book was good, however it was more about the author Janine Latus, than her sister who was murdered. It was still a great book, I however thought it was going to something else prior to reading it.
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This book really didnt catch me at all. I started it and i just couldnt get into it.
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Page turner!
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This was an amazing memoir! I read it in one day! Gripping, sad and moving.
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A great read that kept me wanting more.
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I'm not quite sure what I expected with this book. The entire book is primarily about the author, and her life, with a small portion about her sister who went missing.
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good book