Review - Killing Love, Rebecca Poulson

Review Written By
Karen Chisholm

KILLING LOVE is one of the most profoundly personal stories that you're going to come across in True Crime reading. It's a story of incredible loss, starting out with the suicide death of Rebecca Poulson's brother, and then the murder of her father and much loved niece and nephew by her brother-in-law, the children's father. 

Poulson has written her life onto the pages of this book, her reactions and her struggles with so many needless deaths. It's fraught, difficult and extremely emotional reading as she looks deep inside herself and what, in particular, the murders have done to her. It's extremely personal and very much focused inward and because of that it's part discomforting and part uplifting. It also definitely steps into unforgettable territory.

The discomforting aspects are confronting for the reader. Poulson has obviously used a lot of this book as a cathartic personal experience, a step on the journey to making sure that her brother-in-law did not destroy her. It's also so very personal that there's sometimes a feeling of disconnect from the experience of others in her family - her mother and her sister, the mother of the murdered children are there, but sometimes feel peripheral to the story. After finishing the book, and a considerable period of reflection, it seems that Poulson purposely hasn't set out to tell their stories for whatever reason. In that context, the self-involved feeling makes sense, as does the need for catharsis. The need to get the story out there, and give readers a real taste for the pain, anguish and confusion that suicide can leave behind; and the unfathomable damage of such vicious domestic violence are palpable. 

On the uplifting side she does work her way through to her own future, and her brother-in-law hasn't destroyed them all. Those left behind do survive, and put together a life, and Poulson's work now with raising domestic violence awareness is both brave and generous.

KILLING LOVE is therefore not light reading, and for this reader, not a book that I would ever, by any stretch of the imagination, be comfortable to sum up in terms of enjoyable or likeable or not. It doesn't really come down to whether or not this is a well-written book, or a well-told story. It's not about analysis of the crime or the outcomes, or wide ranging impacts. It's one woman's experience and I'm grateful for her courage in sharing it.

Year of Publication

This powerful, unforgettable and uplifting story is one part wrenching family memoir, and one part inspirational journey towards healing and forgiveness – but most of all, it’s an unputdownable journey through one family’s tragedy and how they refused to let it define them.

On the day of Rebecca Poulson’s 33rd birthday, her father, niece and nephew were murdered. The murderer had been part of her family; her brother-in-law, Neung, the father of the children. Killing Love is Rebecca’s journey through homicide; grief, the police investigations, the media interest, the court cases, the moments of great despair – and the healing. It is a story of individual tragedy and a family’s strength, but it is also a story of a community’s attitude to family violence. As a reluctant warrior for those who cannot speak for themselves, Rebecca talked to the NSW State Premier and politicians, on multiple TV shows and to print journalists in the hope that the mistakes made by the police force, DOCS, the legal system and solicitors will never be made again. Rebecca’s contact with policy makers has been nothing short of history-making, and her story has directly influenced domestic violence laws in the state.

Neung left a note for Rebecca’s family; he hoped that he would destroy them. This is the story of how he didn’t.

Review Review - Killing Love, Rebecca Poulson
Karen Chisholm
Monday, October 17, 2016

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