The brutal murder of Laci Peterson and her unborn baby, Connor, captivated the country for years. I personally think Scott Peterson is guilty, and have never wavered from that position. There were too many red flags even in those early days of the search for Laci and Connor, and everything played out on national television. Instead of justice being served in the form of the death sentence being carried out, I firmly believe he should be left to sit in his cell for 24 hours a day; for a sociopath, this is the ultimate punishment: he was caught.
I read this one because I feel like Frey was treated somewhat unfairly by some in the media, and the public at large. She couldn't have known that the man she was set up with on a blind date would turn out to be a sociopath who would go on to murder his wife and unborn child. I do believe Amber was genuine in her desire to help investigators - and indeed, much of what she recorded of her and Scott's conversations did help the prosecution build their case.
However, there are two things in this book, both written word and in photographs, that were wholly inappropriate and should never have been included.
The first issue I have with the book is in the photo section. I found it very tasteless to include a picture of investigators carrying a body bag that contained Laci's remains. There was simply no need for it. By the time Frey's book came out, the public had been over-saturated with that tragic image, and it was not Frey's place to include it. (Also, the modeling photos she did when she was younger were kind of pointless.)
The second thing I have a major major major issue with is this quote from page 188: "The day you went to the police, you became Laci's voice. All this time, you've been speaking for Laci."
Seriously? No. No, no, no, no, no. No.
Frey was NEVER Laci's voice, no matter how much she had contributed to the investigation. Laci was denied her voice the moment Scott murdered her, and Connor. To say that anyone is speaking for Laci is wrong, and I feel like it was an attempt to get the public on Frey's side - there were plenty of people who called her a homewrecker and other such terrible names, even when it was clear she had not idea that Peterson was married. For me however, and others I am sure, that strategy backfired, because it is a wholly inappropriate statement to make.
I found it interesting to see how she and Scott met, and some of Frey's own background information was relevant because it showed how vulnerable she was, given her past relationships. Unfortunately she also comes off as not very bright. I can think of one instance in particular, when Scott tells her she can write to him at this PO Box, and he will get her letters. She asks how he would get them when he is traveling, and says the Post Office will forward his mail to wherever he is. Um, really? Because that's not how that works. I feel like she really wanted to believe him and believe in their relationship, so either she ignored things like that, or had no idea that that's not really possible.
The writing is not great. I was not expecting a literary masterpiece, but I could also do without the cliches. A lot of the book was also word-for-word transcriptions of her conversations with Scott. Those actually made me pretty angry, reading all of his lies and bullshit on the page, knowing that he has yet to murder the wife he already claims he "lost". I wanted to be like, "Bitch, you didn't lose her! You put Laci in the bay yourself, you psychopath!" but I restrained myself. Barely. The conversations did reinforce the idea though that Peterson is absolutely a pathological liar, if there is still any doubt. It is terrifying how easily the lies seemed to just roll right off his tongue.
I do truly feel bad for Amber, who was a victim in all of Peterson's lies. But her situation in no way compares to what Laci's family has gone through every moment of every day since Laci and Connor were so cruelly taken from them. And while I understand Frey's want/need to have her story told accurately, please don't go on and on about how you want privacy...but then write a book about the whole experience that put you in the spotlight to begin with.
This book bordered on ridiculous at times, and I almost quit reading it on more than one occasion, because it is just that fucking nuts.
Anyone who has heard of this case (which would be most of America over the age of 30, as Laci and Connor were murdered in December of 2002) has likely asked themselves at some point, "Why?" As in, why on earth could this seemingly perfect couple be anything other than the image they (meaning Scott) projected? And why on earth did Peterson have to take Laci and Connor from their families forever? That is the most heartbreaking question, one that Laci's mother asked over and over.
The unfortunate fact is, we will never know. Peterson has been convicted and sentenced to death by lethal injection. He currently resides in San Quentin, where his cell overlooks the very bay where Laci and Connor's remains washed up. But he maintains his innocence, that he did not kill them. And since he is a sociopath, even though he has been found guilty (and he is most certainly guilty), he will never tell what was going through his mind in those days and weeks leading up to, and after, the murders.
Another unfortunate in this whole situation is that we get books like this, which are absolutely ridiculous. While the book makes some interesting points, in the end it is far too sensational for such a serious topic. The author is a forensic psychologist, true, but he's never interviewed Peterson, though he did interview family members and some ex-girlfriends. The author has this fixation with calling Peterson 'the golden boy/child' (I can't remember which, now), that does make sense in the tangled web of all his theories, but it was silly and annoying after a while. Ablow also makes claims that, because of three generations of trauma in Peterson's family, it made him unable to be empathetic to others. Trauma includes early death, childhood abandonment, and sexual abuse - but just a note, none of these things happened to Scott. They were simply in his 'bloodline' because these things had all happened to family members in the generations before him, I guess. Whatever. There is no question that his family certainly qualifies as dysfunctional, but that does not necessarily make someone a cold-blooded killer.
I also struggled a lot with the author's interpretation of Laci. The way he described her presents a kind of shallow portrait, which is at complete odds with that full picture we get of Laci as described by her mother in the book she wrote for her daughter. He kept coming back to this idea that Laci wanted everything to always be 'pretty', and that the image of things always being pretty and perfect were important to her. He seems to suggest that had Laci not been trying to gloss over the problems in the marriage, she would not have died. I really hope that this is not what he is actually insinuating, and that I have interpreted his statements incorrectly. Laci and Connor are the victims here and neither could have ever done anything to deserve what happened to them. Scott Peterson is the ONLY guilty person here - though, no lie, his family is pretty fucked up.
Even so, Ablow's theories on how Peterson came to be a psychopath are sketchy at best. He claims it is possible that Peterson's root of sociopathy took hold when he was taken from his mom soon after birth and placed on oxygen, and that abrupt separation played a part in turning Peterson into the murderer he became. Yet the details he claims support this don't really make sense, but they're so silly that I will leave you to discover them for yourself should you choose to read this nonsense.
The point the author does make that I think is incredibly valid has less to do with nonsense and more to do with the idea of child abandonment, which is something that Scot grew up knowing plenty about. He has older siblings (one wrote a book about him, go figure) who were given up for adoption after their fathers ended their relationships with Scott's mother, Jackie Peterson. The oldest two were given up, and Jackie would have given her third child up for adoption had her doctor not persuaded her to do otherwise, despite that father also leaving. But then Jackie met Lee Peterson, they had Scott, and the cycle of abandonment ended...until Scott did the exact same thing to Connor, but in a much more tragic and final way. Combine this trend with the so-called 'family sources' the author interviewed who claim that Peterson's mother is basically a big fat liar about everything, and it is easy to see where he gets it from - perhaps they are BOTH sociopaths.
Mostly, a lot of this book is just stupid. The author refers to Peterson as an 'emotional vampire', you know, on account of him being sociopath who does not know how to show emotion because he has none. Am I the only one who thinks that phrase is weird? BECAUSE IT IS. He also claims that Peterson really was in love with Amber Frey, and if that relationship had lasted, Peterson would not have ever killed again (something the author finds quite possible, if Peterson were ever released. Luckily, he won't be). But, I highly doubt this. Sociopaths don't know how to love, or be in love. They can imitate what they see on television and in real life, but Peterson lied constantly to Frey. He had no choice, of course, in his mind at least. Personally, I think she was just one of many with whom Peterson had affairs with and she was unlucky enough to get caught up in his web at the time that he was preparing to kill his wife and child.
Final Verdict: Pass on both, check out from the library if you feel you must read them.