STARRED REVIEW
October 2017

Her darkest hour

By Sarah Perry

Sarah Perry woke up in the middle of one 1994 night, startled by her mother’s screams. What could be a child’s worst nightmare becomes Sarah’s reality: As the 12-year-old listens, helpless in her room, Crystal Perry is being stabbed to death on the other side of the wall.

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Sarah Perry woke up in the middle of one 1994 night, startled by her mother’s screams. What could be a child’s worst nightmare becomes Sarah’s reality: As the 12-year-old listens, helpless in her room, Crystal Perry is being stabbed to death on the other side of the wall.

The murder cleaves Sarah’s childhood into before and after. Before, she and her mother shared the sort of close relationship single mothers and their only children sometimes find. Sarah knew her father, but her parents split when she was young. Sarah was a self-described weird kid, the sort of girl who would lose herself in a book and her own writing.

After her mother’s murder, Sarah finds herself in a near constant battle with rage. The person she loves most gone, and now she is left to wonder whether any of the men in her life is the murderer. Sarah feels lost; she can no longer write, and she can no longer trust the people around her. As police investigate Crystal’s murder, Sarah wonders if she can even trust her own memory of that night.

In After the Eclipse, Sarah recounts her journey to understand her own experience and who her mother was. The book, like her childhood, is split into two parts: her memories, and her efforts to move forward.

After the Eclipse is a thoroughly researched account of Crystal Perry’s death and the efforts to bring her murderer to justice, yet this is so much more than a typical true crime tale. Sarah Perry has created a captivating and emotionally raw account of the event that changed her life and how it shaped her.

 

This article was originally published in the October 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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After the Eclipse

After the Eclipse

By Sarah Perry
HMH
ISBN 9780544302655

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