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Cries Unheard: Why Children Kill: The Story of Mary Bell Paperback – Apr 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Owl Books (NY); Reprint edition (April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805060685
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805060683
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.9 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 806,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mark Swindell on 3 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an interesting yet at times, frustrating read. I bought this as the Mary Bell case was something that happened prior to my birth, and I didn't know a great deal about it. I was hoping to read Mary's story and see why she did what she did, and how it has affected her life since. On finishing the book, I'm still unclear on lots of things but this may well be down to the subject as well as the author.

Bell, it turns out, makes for a very difficult interviewee being at times evasive, erratic and often resorting to downright lying. One senses that the author, realising how difficult it's going to be to make this a coherent read, too often, uses the book as a platform for her thoughts and personal views and this starts to grate after a while.

All in all, I would recommend this book for anyone interested in the case and the aftermath as far as Bell is concerned but it is by no means an easy read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Oct. 1999
Format: Hardcover
The book itself was very well written and must have been very difficult to listen to such horror,both from the victims families,but also Mary Bell herself. I also do not condone what she did, but I can believe the anger she felt inside, which unfortunatly spilled over to the unthinkable act of murder. What is hard to come to terms with is the way Mary was treated by the system, and why on earth was no help given to her during these years? I do think she now has started to build her life again with the help of her child, and someday this child will learn what her mother had done, this is inevitable, and again Mary will have to face many months of healing. I hope in time our legal system will start to listen to these children who commit these terrible crimes, instead of just branding them evil, after all no child is born evil, only people make them so.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By sky on 15 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
Like many people I always assumed that Mary Bell was a child who was simply born evil; a bad seed. And to be honest I didn't have much sympathy for her. However, after reading this book my views have changed. This child was prostituted to her Mother's clients from the age of four. She was frequently beaten and constantly told by her disturbed Mother that she was unwanted and unloved. Ten years of this treatment would make even an adult snap and do something terrible; The real miracle is that there aren't many more children who commit such crimes. Don't get me wrong: I ABSOLUTLEY sympathise with the two murdered little boys and their families; but I now also sympathise with Mary..........
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Nov. 1998
Format: Hardcover
A book that caused much controversy on it's release, due to the fact that the subject, Mary Bell an convicted child killer (a term with two meanings - someone who kills children, or a child who has killed), was paid for her contribuion to the book. The book focuses on the treatment of mary once she was convicted and focuses on her experiences in the variety of institutions she was held over the years she was in custody. It presents mary as a child who had suffered terribly during her early years, largely due to the influence of her mother. Sereny presents a shocking view of a criminal justice system that is simply not geared up for the treatment of children, courts that only look at what actually happened, when in a case such as this the reasons for it are far more important than the actual details. Mary comes across as a woman who has suffered immensley both before and after the murders. She was moved around various institutions and was given little or no education, and then finally thrust out into the real world with no experience of what to do and how to cope. The book is easy to read and is full of emotion from Mary herself, the author and all the other people interviewed in the preperation of the book. Sereny draws remarkable parrallels between the Jamie Bulger case and the two boys convicted and the Mary Bell case. The sad thing being that it is obvious that in the intervening years the system has not changed and it's treatment of child offenders is sadly lacking in flexibility and concetration on the underlying motives involved in the committing of such dreadful crimes. Hopefully people in authority will read this book and learn that when a child does commit and offence of this magnitude, that the tragedy is not just that the crime occured, but that nobody noticed the problems of the child beforehand
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 April 1999
Format: Hardcover
I heard the news hype about the book when it was published, the focus on Mary Bell, the child's eyes, picturing her as purely evil. The book is far more shocking than that. It gives a detailed account of a child giving very obvious indicators of the trauma she was facing in her young life, and of a crime that was waiting to happen. The author never excuses Mary Bell for the crime. However, she has strong views about the way children are treated in our courts. A strong undercurrent links with other notorious crimes involving young children. It raises issues that Social Services, the Government, the Legal System, and every parent can not afford to ignore. This book does not glory in crime. It is a cry that demands to be heard, for the sake of our children, children we know, children where already a crime is waiting to happen.
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