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on 16 May 2017
This book is not dissimilar to Happy Like Murderers: it tells the same story slightly differently. Fred and Rose, themselves both victims of severe abuse, resulting in joint narcissistic psychopathy, became partners in sadistic murder. I liked the way the author showed how and where Fred and Rose exposed themselves as deluded and their grasp on reality to be tenuous.
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on 8 April 2017
Interesting and depressing. Reminds us why it is so important to remove children from damaging families. Rose could have been rescued as a child but sadly opportunites were missed. Reasonably well written with a lot of gruesome detail inevitably.
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To associate these people with animals is doing a terrible injustice to are innocent creatures.
These fly blown heaps of accumulated filth belong
In everlasting oblivion.
A fantastic read.
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on 14 May 2017
A very readable book on a very gruesome topic!
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on 20 March 2017
This book is quite interesting, although it has several spelling/grammar mistakes which I find highly annoying. I thought the story at some points was not well written, a little confusing. Overall it was quite informative.
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on 10 September 2017
an interesting read
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on 2 January 2015
Marvelous. Goes into mad detail about her childhood. Once you start to read you won't be able to put it down
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I remember the media coverage of this horrific case at the time and I felt it was time to read a book about it more than a decade later to see how I felt after all this time. If anything it had more effect on me now than it did at the time. I found this book interesting because it showed how Rose's childhood possibly contributed to her later career as a serial killer.

Abuse in childhood has a huge effect on adult lives though not everyone who is abused as a child becomes a sadistic killer as Rose and Fred West did. Both had similar childhoods with physical and sexual abuse from parents - in Rose's case from her father and in Fred's case from his mother. But in spite of similar childhoods not all their siblings turned out in the same way and their children have not gone on to repeat their destructive lives. I was interested to learn that Fred West was not the father of all Rose's children.

As the book frequently says Rose had no boundaries and she did what was necessary to get what she wanted - not apparently seeing anything wrong in killing to get rid of inconvenient people. Maybe if she had made a life with someone else she would not have gone on to kill but because she met Fred West who was also a sadistic psychopath they brought out the worst in each other.

This book is an interesting read though clearly not for the squeamish. The gruesome details are not dwelt upon unnecessarily but some sections of the book make unpleasant reading. I felt some of the writing was a little clunky and I found I had to read some sentences more than once to fully understand them. Apart from that I did think the book was an interesting insight into Rose West's early upbringing. There was no index in the edition I read but there is a short list of further reading and some illustrations which displayed well in the e-book edition.
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on 15 September 2012
I should probably stop myself as I have read too many books about Rose West already, however, it is of note that so many of them were used as research in the writing of this book. Initially, this book offers a deeper insight into Rose's history than the majority of other texts in that it goes further back into her family tree. The detail given about not only her parents' childhoods, but both sets of grandparents' lives does go some way to shedding light onto her upbringing. The social and psychological legacies from previous generations really do highlight the 'nurture' aspect of the nature vs nurture argument.

There is also sufficient information on Fred West himself, prior to meeting Rose, which also helps to show how their relationship was such a toxic combination. The backgrounds of the victims are not given in much detail, although the terrible sexual crimes and murders are relatively graphic in places. Furthermore, while a great deal of information has been written about Anna-Marie (Fred's daughter to his first wife) and, to a lesser degree, about Stephen and Mae (Fred and Rose's older children) there is precious little attention given to the child whose disappearance led to the ultimate capture of the killers - Heather, Fred and Rose's firstborn.

As previously mentioned, the author has relied on the works of other writers to compile this book, including the autobiography of Anna-Marie, and Stephen and Mae's collaborative effort, which would explain why their stories are more prominent. Although the title clearly states that this book is about the MAKING of Rose's character, rather than being specifically about her actions later in life, I did feel robbed of Heather's story. Further insights into the events leading up to Heather's death, and the stories of the other children, would have fleshed out Rose the adult; instead, the latter part of the book seems to be cataloguing the murders and a handful of events around Fred and Rose's marriage. The whole of the eighties rush by and Heather's death feels like an epilogue, rather than being central to the final outcome.

Content aside, I found the writing to be somewhat teenage: there were a lot of ellipses, often laughable conjecture, e.g. 'Fred probably said something like "I'll find you a home fit for a Princess"' and the amount of 'or so he thought'/'or so it seemed' really jarred after a while. There were also several hints at the secrets that were to unfold later in the book, which read like a soap opera script and didn't always deliver satisfactorily on the promise. Additionally, there was too much unnecessary repetition, e.g. we are told twice that Fred had decided he wanted to live in Gloucester after having visited the city to purchase his first suit at the age of fifteen!

Overall, this is worth a look if you are interested in the psychosocial backgrounds of serial killers but be prepared for the slightly sensationalist writing style.
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on 6 October 2011
It is very hard to comment on books about subjects like this. The content itself is so shocking you're more compelled to talk about the story, rather than the book. Every book I have read about this case has wrung me out and left me to dry, due to the level of shock you feel when reading this story. The author here however has done something remarkable - I actually feel now that I understand (as much as anyone can). She delves into the past, which in my view is always relevant in cases like this, and to me gives a very good explanation as to why this woman turned out so unemotionally sadistic.
Reading the cases again, and some of the details of the offences are still repulsive but they are skimmed over here. Our fascination with the subject always wants more information and detail, but there's enough here to know what happened and have a suitable sense of revulsion.
The real shocker for me is the new evidence from an eyewitness. I read the passage over and over again, unable to take in the implications of it. It has left me now wanting to know so much more about that witness and what has come of their revelation.
This is definitely one of the better serial killer books out there, but for a fuller picture I would recommend reading Anne-Marie West's book to complement this. It's not well-written, but painfully and brutally honest.
I don't think anyone will ever match Rose West's depravity, and I hope no-one ever does. I also doubt she will ever tell us the truth, but there's enough here for us to know it and relax that she is in the right place.

My heart goes out to the remaining Wests and what they have endured and still have to endure, along with all the victim's families. The ripples of this case reach far and wide and I don't know that I'd be able to function if one of my loved ones had fallen victim to Fred and Rose, knowing what they would have had to endure.
Read this, but take a break between chapters and a few deep breaths before continuing.
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