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Books

The Book of Matt by Stephen Jimenez -The Matthew Shephard Story

bookofmatt

 

 

If you’re unfamiliar with Matthew Shepard, he was a young man murdered in the late 90s and his death was labeled the worst hate crime.  Jimenez wanted to investigate further:

What role did crystal meth and other previously underreported factors play in the brutal murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard? The Book of Matt is a page-turning cautionary tale that humanizes and de-mythologizes Matthew while following the evidence where it leads, without regard to the politics that have long attended this American tragedy.

Late on the night of October 6, 1998, twenty-one-year-old Matthew Shepard left a bar in Laramie, Wyoming with two alleged “strangers,” Aaron McKin­ney and Russell Henderson. Eighteen hours later, Matthew was found tied to a log fence on the outskirts of town, unconscious and barely alive. He had been pistol-whipped so severely that the mountain biker who discovered his battered frame mistook him for a Halloween scarecrow. Overnight, a politically expedient myth took the place of important facts. By the time Matthew died a few days later, his name was synonymous with anti-gay hate.

Stephen Jimenez went to Laramie to research the story of Matthew Shepard’s murder in 2000, after the two men convicted of killing him had gone to prison, and after the national media had moved on. His aim was to write a screenplay on what he, and the rest of the nation, believed to be an open-and-shut case of bigoted violence. As a gay man, he felt an added moral imperative to tell Matthew’s story. But what Jimenez eventually found in Wyoming was a tangled web of secrets. His exhaustive investigation also plunged him deep into the deadly underworld of drug trafficking. Over the course of a thirteen-year investigation, Jimenez traveled to twenty states and Washington DC, and interviewed more than a hundred named sources.

There are many shocking bits to this story:

  • Young Matt Shepard’s brutal death
  • Laramie Wyoming’s horrific drug problem
  • gay and straight sex trade for drugs industry
  • potential cover-ups by police

With so many items to tackle, this story was bound to be difficult to read.  And it was.  I felt sleazy and dirty at times but couldn’t put the book down.  I’m not sure that I liked the story, but it certainly was interesting to unravel the pieces behind the murder.  I still have unanswered questions but what I DO know, thanks to Jimenez, is that young Matthew Shepard’s murder did not appear to be a targeted hate crime.  To be sure, Shepard was gay, but that was probably not why he was killed.

Only Aaron McKinney knows the truth.

This story is not for the faint hearted or for kids!

 

 

Categories
Books

The Book of Matt by Stephen Jimenez

bookofmatt

 

 

I struggled with whether to share this book with you.  To be sure, I read lots of books but don’t review them here for various reasons.  This book, however, caught me.  Stephen Jimenez, came to Towne Book Center & Cafe last night and I was reading his book in preparation for his visit.  If you’re unfamiliar with Matthew Shepard, he was a young man murdered in the late 90s and his death was labeled the worst hate crime.  Jimenez wanted to investigate further:

What role did crystal meth and other previously underreported factors play in the brutal murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard? The Book of Matt is a page-turning cautionary tale that humanizes and de-mythologizes Matthew while following the evidence where it leads, without regard to the politics that have long attended this American tragedy.

Late on the night of October 6, 1998, twenty-one-year-old Matthew Shepard left a bar in Laramie, Wyoming with two alleged “strangers,” Aaron McKin­ney and Russell Henderson. Eighteen hours later, Matthew was found tied to a log fence on the outskirts of town, unconscious and barely alive. He had been pistol-whipped so severely that the mountain biker who discovered his battered frame mistook him for a Halloween scarecrow. Overnight, a politically expedient myth took the place of important facts. By the time Matthew died a few days later, his name was synonymous with anti-gay hate.

Stephen Jimenez went to Laramie to research the story of Matthew Shepard’s murder in 2000, after the two men convicted of killing him had gone to prison, and after the national media had moved on. His aim was to write a screenplay on what he, and the rest of the nation, believed to be an open-and-shut case of bigoted violence. As a gay man, he felt an added moral imperative to tell Matthew’s story. But what Jimenez eventually found in Wyoming was a tangled web of secrets. His exhaustive investigation also plunged him deep into the deadly underworld of drug trafficking. Over the course of a thirteen-year investigation, Jimenez traveled to twenty states and Washington DC, and interviewed more than a hundred named sources.

There are many shocking bits to this story:

  • Young Matt Shepard’s brutal death
  • Laramie Wyoming’s horrific drug problem
  • gay and straight sex trade for drugs industry
  • potential cover ups by police

With so many items to tackle, this story was bound to be difficult to read.  And it was.  I felt sleazy and dirty at times but couldn’t put the book down.  I’m not sure that I liked the story, but it certainly was interesting to unravel the pieces behind the murder.  I still have unanswered questions but what I DO know, thanks to Jimenez, is that young Matthew Shepard’s murder did not appear to be a targeted hate crime.  To be sure, Shepard was gay, but that was probably not why he was killed.

Only Aaron McKinney knows the truth.

This story is not for the faint hearted or for kids!

 

 

Categories
Blogging from A to Z Challenge Books poems Young Adult

F #atozchallenge

Let’s get right to it today, shall we?

a-to-z-letters-f

Have I got a doozy for you! It’s called Fallout and it’s by Ellen Hopkins.  It’s number 2 in the really controversial Crank series.

Unconventional Librarian

Crank is a pseudonym for meth and the Crank series is about a mother and her children.  The mother is an addict and each story in the series relates to each of the dysfunctional children.  So Fallout is the tale of 19 yr old Hunter, the son of the addicted mother.  Did I mention that he has a rapist for a father? Autumn, his sister, lives with an aunt and an alcoholic grandfather.  The tale of addiction and dysfunctional family members continues in this tale that will keep you engaged and prolly thankful for the family you do have!

Also in F we have The Future of us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler.

Unconventional Librarian

When I first heard about The Future of Us, I scratched my head and said “wait, what?” but that’s not really uncommon for me.  But anyway, I digress…The Future of Us is a story of a couple of teens who log onto Facebook.  Only Facebook hasn’t been invented yet.  And they see themselves in the future and what their activities are. So, sort of a looking glass into the future.  I like the premise because it makes you think about how your current actions affect your future.  Only now it’s on Facebook.

Two MUST READS!!

Have you read them?