This story is written in 2 parts; the first part being Anna’s Journey, while the second part is Who’s at Risk. There are numerous resources at the end of the book on where teens, children, and parents can get help when they suspect or witness emotional, verbal, and physical abuse in a relationship. This story is written by Jennifer Smith; Anna’s mother, and Cherry Tigris, an advocate for child abuse survivors, and teen dating violence advocate.
Part one, Anna’s Journey, is told from her point of view, by her mother; what she was experiencing, the stress she felt maintaining this difficult relationship, and how her boyfriend would react to several different situations, based on his level of jealousy, anger, and need to control.
There are no parts in the story detailing any physical violence prior to her being killed, but there was an intense control issue going on. Anna was required to turn over her cell phone at the drop of a hat for Mark’s inspection. He was convinced that she was texting another; likely planning to end their relationship.
There was also discussion of a difficult relationship at home with her father, whom she lived with after her parents divorced. Her mother lived in Texas. She lost friends because of Mark’s control and deceit, and others chose to just avoid her completely so as to not even begin getting involved in that type of situation.
Anna had her way out; she was moving to Texas to live with her mother. Mark thought he was going to Texas with her, and she was running out of time to get away from him. In a confrontation where she could not deal with it anymore, she told him she was going to Texas, alone, and getting back together with her ex-boyfriend.
Mark stabbed her in the back as she walked away from him, and continued to stab her until he killed her. The story did not give further details on the trial, or the sentence that Mark received for killing Anna.
As I stated at the beginning, this story was told from Anna’s point of view, from her mother. I would never defend anyone capable of violence; physical, verbal, or emotional. We are told about Anna’s difficult childhood, but we are not told in this story of any issues or situations that Mark may have been experiencing. It is unclear if there was a turning point in his youth that caused him to be so distrustful of those closest to him.
This is not normally the type of story I would review, but I did read it as being a mother of 4 daughter’s, and witnessing one being in a very controlling relationship, I could read parts of this story that made me remember my daughter experiencing these same types of things. The only thing it seemed like I could tell her was “You cannot fix him. It is not your responsibility to fix him.”
If you have children, boys or girls, that are dating or will soon be, this would be a good story to pick up.