An Unexpected Beautiful Moment
Before I write about the book, Dispelling the Clouds, I would like to say a few things about Candace and what she meant to me.
Candace imprinted on my soul. Time before there was tragedy, I was one of many kids as you describe, who she engaged, on her own initiative to lead, to play with, to pay attention to and love. When you are a younger girl, winning the attention of an older girl is akin to winning the lottery. There is no greater achievement at that stage of life. Candace accepted this misfit with ease, integrity and without any positioning or arrogance. It was natural to her and she seemed indifferent to our differences.
As an adopted, mixed race kid in the late 70s and 80s, who was racially discriminated against, sometimes violently, moved to different several schools in various countries with an accent; everything I did was about trying to fit in. The weekend we went to camp, the trepidation I had dissipated the instant I was introduced to Candace. Her genuine acceptance of me without a second thought was so off putting that I think I didn’t speak for hours. I just followed her around in wonder. Plus, she had the inside track at camp which involved access to the tuck shop.
Ever after that weekend, she was famous to me. Not as famous as she would become.
... The dry honesty in your book in processing murder, dealing with committees, support groups, Rene, lifers and all the weight of what that entails, is greatly appreciated. It’s valuable to see that this path is not straight, easy or automatic....
Your form of continuously working through forgiveness in action provides a mandate for others to begin a journey of forgiveness. As a journey based on what you have described, I think you achieve a goal, which I am not sure if it was intentionally or not, yet in walking this journey with you in the book, it creates a pathway for others to begin without having to relinquish the need for justice and punishment. These sides of a tragedy and trauma with forgiveness and justice do not become mutually exclusive or sort of a fiat accompli. There is a fear in forgiveness that somehow by forgiving there is a giving up of justice or our sense of what is right. I really think an eye for an eye is much more understandable or rational for us as humans. Forgiveness, I think is counter-intuitive which is what makes your book so important.....
Similar to the process of grief, I identify with the anger in the members of the support group; the fear in their path to finding a dawn in the fog of trauma.....
Rene along with his story is such an essential and critical theme in your book. I was quite captivated by his career in bank heists; he is the real live legend of movies, really. Yet to find the real truth is much more devastating than what we know at the beginning, and to find in the end, that his story starts as a victim is really heartbreaking. The first time I read this book, when it becomes clear his journey starts as a victim, I had to put the book down and walk away; just the horror of it all. A seven-year-old victim of assault and rape....
.....I loved your book.
without losing what made it worthwhile. You had to accept it as a whole--like the world,
or the person you loved.” - Steward O'Nan