Son Of a Gun by Justin St. Germain
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: August 13, 2013
Categories: Family Relationships, Memoir, Murder
|About Justin St. Germain|
Distancing himself from the legendary town of his childhood, Justin makes another life a world away in San Francisco and achieves all the surface successes that would have filled his mother with pride. Yet years later he’s still sleeping with a loaded rifle under his bed. Ultimately, he is pulled back to the desert landscape of his childhood on a search to make sense of the unfathomable. What made his mother, a onetime army paratrooper, the type of woman who would stand up to any man except the men she was in love with? What led her to move from place to place, man to man, job to job, until finally she found herself in a desperate and deteriorating situation, living on an isolated patch of desert with an unstable ex-cop?
Justin’s journey takes him back to the ghost town of Wyatt Earp, to the trailers he and Debbie shared, to the string of stepfathers who were a constant, sometimes threatening presence in his life, to a harsh world on the margins full of men and women all struggling to define what family means. He decides to confront people from his past and delve into the police records in an attempt to make sense of his mother’s life and death. All the while he tries to be the type of man she would have wanted him to be.
When Justin set out to learn more about the murder of his mother I thought that it might be a bad idea. Don't dredge up the past you poor soul, it will only be heartbreaking! On the other hand I completely understood why he wanted/needed to go on this journey. It was painful but necessary.
Debbie was married numerous times, often to abusive men. She moved around often, lived in a trailer, and went off the grid more than once. On the surface the explanation for her death seems simple. She was a woman who made bad decisions and came to a bad end. But that conclusion isn't fair. Nothing is that simple.
The relationship between the author and his mother made for a compelling read. Also, the ties the author made between his own family tragedy in Tombstone, Arizona and the famous Gun Fight at the O.K. Corral added an interesting twist.
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