Thursday, March 10, 2011
Small Sacrifices by Ann Rule
Book: Small Sacrifices
Author: Ann Rule
Recommended To: True Crime Fans, Farrah Fawcett Fans.
Small Sacrifices is the true crime story of Diane Downs, the mother that shot her three children and then drove them to the hospital with a dramatic and terrifying tale of a 'bushy-haired stranger' who had demanded Downs' car and then inexplicably shot her children when she refused.
Some of you might know this story from the Farrah Fawcett made for TV movie by the same name, personally I've not seen it, but it is on now on our Netflix.
The book has an air in incredibility, how could a mother not fight to save her children? And, when Downs becomes the prime suspect, how could a mother have shot her children as they lay sleeping in the backseat of her car.
Ann Rule writes many true-crime novels, although this it the first that I've read of hers. I think it is difficult to write true-crime stories without getting boring, but for the most part, Rule accomplishes this and weaves together all of the incredible evidence with precision. There are times when the story drags a bit because Rule is literally just recounting factual data or testimony. Her sentences in places also are a bit choppy, but this seems to be part of the problem with a lot of true crime books.
The story is powerful. When Christie Downs, Diane's daughter takes the stand and definitively points to her mother as the shooter, Rule captures the event with enough description to make the reader feel as if they are really in the courtroom witnessing the exchange between the child and the prosecutor.
I gave this book a B because it was very well put together, if a bit lengthy. Diane is an extraordinarily interesting and terrifying woman and this account captures her personality well. I recommend this book to anyone who really enjoys true-crime novels. I will certainly be reading more of Rule.