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Vivid 'Death'

September 02, 1990

Re Joyce Johnson's July 22 review of Barry Siegel's "A Death in White Bear Lake":

Siegel's book is in fact loaded with detail and documentation, but that is what makes it so compelling, so vivid, so visual. It is incredulous and horrifying that none of this detail is fiction; it's real life!

Johnson's review is unjust. She appears to be rather bored by it all, and makes it sound as though she had to read a college textbook: "What were the interrelated systemic failures that culminated in the death of one little boy?" (C'mon Ms. Johnson!) And then: "Barry Siegel's greatest service is his exhaustive research." (Who are you kidding? I mean, can't you appreciate remarkable storytelling when you read it?)

By Siegel's reliance on fact to make his point, I was able to formulate my own opinions, and develop my own understanding of the characters. Who would have thought that I, a parent of two young children, could actually feel sorry for Lois Jurgens, the evil child abuser, and her cowardly passive husband, Howard?

KARIN SALISBURY HART

SHERMAN OAKS

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