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

by Janine Latus

In April 2002, Janine Latus's youngest sister, Amy, wrote a note and taped it to the inside of her desk drawer.

Today Ron Ball and I are romantically involved, it read, but I fear I have placed myself at risk in a variety of ways.

That same spring Janine Latus was struggling to leave her marriage -- a marriage to a handsome and successful man.

A marriage in which she felt afraid, controlled, inadequate, and trapped.

Ten weeks later, Janine Latus had left her marriage.

She was on a business trip to the East Coast, savoring her freedom, attending a work conference, when she received a call from her sister Jane asking if she'd heard from Amy. Immediately, Janine's blood ran cold.

Amy was missing.

Coworkers and neighbors and family members plastered missing posters with Amy's picture across the county.

If I Am Missing or Dead is a heart-wrenching journey of discovery as Janine Latus traces the roots of her own -- and her sister's -- victimization with unflinching candor.

At once a confession, a call to break the cycle of abuse, and a deeply felt love letter to her baby sister, Amy Lynne Latus, If I Am Missing or Dead is an unforgettable read.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Nonfiction
  • Rating: 3.45
  • Pages: 308
  • Publish Date: April 17th 2007 by Simon & Schuster
  • Isbn10: 0743296532
  • Isbn13: 9780743296533

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Janine allowed herself AND HER CHILDREN to live in an awful, abusive relationship for years, but still has room to be critical of her sister and her life choices?

Janine's love for others, her sisters, her mother, and other women in her life rang out loud and clear and familiar.

I believe Janine Latus to be one of the most self-centered, overtly pathetic "female-as-victim" authors I have ever had the displeasure of reading. On this 8 and 1/2 hour audio, her sister's story slowly and painfully emerges--it all but mirrors Janine's, except she was killed by her abuser. And when I say slowly and painfully, it's because Latus spent approximately 7 hours of the audio whining about her own situation, and, of course, calling her sister fat over and over again.

We get to know Amy as a family member would know her-- in this case, as a little sister. In the end, Janine is divorced and Amy is dead. Janine ends up flat broke and alone, starting over as she has again and again; Amy's admitted murderer ends up with the possibility of parole in twenty years or less. Their mother, even in the early 80's when divorce was still not particularly common, stepped up to support her family, left her lecherous husband, and eventually found a relatively happy life, even if only for a while. Above all, I'm now rooting for this woman I don't know, who lives and exists somewhere with her daughter, and hoping that she found a more happy existence.

You are led to think that the book is about Amy's murder, but it is really all about the author.

From what I understood, this book is supposed to be about the author's younger sister being murdered. But as I said before, very little of this book had to do with the sister's murder. But the fact that the book was supposed to be about the sister's murder, I think that should have been the more prominent topic.

I certainly have sympathy toward anyone in an abusive relationship, but the title of the book was all wrong.

The book is a Sister's Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation. As I read the reviews below, I understand over and over why friends of mine have not reported violence, domestic abuse, and sexual assault to friends, relatives, and authorities. And before you wonder about me - no, I am not a current victim of abuse, but I know those who have been. This author didn't promise you the gruesome details of her sister's murder. She promised you a story of love, murder, and liberation from her point of view, and I think that's what she delivered. I think that some people must have read this book hoping for gory details and must have been disappointed not to get them. It also makes me thank God that I like myself enough to know that no husband/boyfriend is better than a bad one.

It's horrifying to read how the intelligent, witty, educated author gets beaten to a pulp by her boyfriend on a ski trip, or how the man she turns to turns out to later be abusive himself--after he's her husband. It's gross, it's objectifying, and it's awful to read how she tried to justify it while looking down at other women who weren't "liberated." And her sister Amy's life proves that things do not always turn out well--it's not always ok in the end, everyone doesn't always find someone who will love them. It's frustrating to read her journals--of COURSE he doesn't love you, you want to scream. The author finally leaves her husband, just before Amy is killed, and she clearly hopes for better things, but this isn't one of those "I left my husband and now everything is better" things.