While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Wake-Up Call for Mental Health Care in America by Eli Sanders

Eli Sanders details the events leading up to and the court case following a horrific rape and murder that occurred on the outskirts of Seattle in 2009. The victims are admirably profiled. Two women who had found each other and were two months away from their wedding. The life of the perpetrator is also detailed and the many times his parents, the school system, the mental health system and the courts failed to stop his descent into criminality. Sanders interviews over fifty family members, people in the jury, law enforcement, and health care workers to get a full view of the circumstances leading up to the that night in South Park, Seattle, Washington.

Two significant takeaways for me were the victim’s ability to forgive and Sanders comments on the state of mental health care in Washington Stare as well as the nation as a whole. The surviving victim notes her ability to forgive in her interviews with the author, her victim impact statement, and in retreats she is involved in for law enforcement members. This remarkable ability to separate herself from the crime and

The majority of the book marks an object and journalist tone, but the last 30 pages or so is an editorial looking at the ways the system could be bettered. Like many government agencies, it comes down to money and the ways that assistance is needed by so many.

I tore through this book. A nonfiction page-turner. A series of confounding questions: Why? Why would someone do this? And how could it have been stopped?

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