Customer Reviews for

While They Slept: An Inquiry into the Murder of a Family

Average Rating 3.5
( 30 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Defined by a tragedy

Kathryn Harrison has done a thorough and insightful job of understanding and relating Jody's story without bringing too much baggage with her. She gets dangerously close to the brother who caused the devastation that split Jody's life into a 'before' and an 'after.' Thi...
Kathryn Harrison has done a thorough and insightful job of understanding and relating Jody's story without bringing too much baggage with her. She gets dangerously close to the brother who caused the devastation that split Jody's life into a 'before' and an 'after.' This is a compelling survivor story with more depth than your typical true-crime chronicle.

posted by Anonymous on July 20, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Ss

Terrible read...skipped portions so i could hurry and get finished. More of the authors baggage then the story itself and who wants to read about a 20 year old woman who let her father have sex with her and then constantly whine about it...really...20 years old? Will...
Terrible read...skipped portions so i could hurry and get finished. More of the authors baggage then the story itself and who wants to read about a 20 year old woman who let her father have sex with her and then constantly whine about it...really...20 years old? Will not read this author again.

posted by Anonymous on June 20, 2012

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  • Posted November 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is a terrific true crime tale

    Almost a quarter of a century ago in Medford, Oregon, eighteen year old Billy Gilley stabbed to death his parents and his younger sister eleven years old Becky. He swore that he killed them so he and hi sixteen year old sister Jody could live abuse free. A shocked Jody testified against her older brother who was convicted of the homicides and is serving three consecutive life sentences as he could not blame parental mistreatment for the murder of Becky.

    This is a terrific true crime tale that uses the court record and intense numerous interviews with the surviving siblings, who do not communicate with one another, to tell the story of the Gilley family leading to the killings. The fascination is how far apart Billy and Jody are when it comes to parental physical and verbal violence, but clearly they agree that there was some even if he fails to explain why he killed Becky. Although Kathryn Harrison includes a memoir re her abusive relationship with her father, that feels out of place padding, and should be ignored as the Gilley family murders are tragic enough for one true story.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2009

    I would recommend this book

    While they Slept was a gift. I enjoy reading True Crime but usually stick with Ann Rule books. I must say this read to me as smooth as Ann Rule. I could not put this book down. I only have about 15 minutes a day w/out interruption to read, however I would take this book with me to the grocery store (read in line) to dr appts (read while waiting) etc. I was able to understand both Billy & Jody Gilly before & after the murders. The author has several other books that I will be sure to buy. One thing I was disappointed with, was no pictures of the main characters in the store. I would have liked that so I could see who I was reading about. Pictures can enhance a book. Otherwise a solid 4 out of 5 rating for me!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2009

    Incredibly well written

    As a fan of the true crime genre, it is not often that you find a compelling story written with this level of intelligence. I felt drawn in to the author's recollections about her own life and how she related them to the horrible deaths she writes about. Several notches abouve your average tru crime tale.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2008

    Defined by a tragedy

    Kathryn Harrison has done a thorough and insightful job of understanding and relating Jody's story without bringing too much baggage with her. She gets dangerously close to the brother who caused the devastation that split Jody's life into a 'before' and an 'after.' This is a compelling survivor story with more depth than your typical true-crime chronicle.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2012

    Ss

    Terrible read...skipped portions so i could hurry and get finished. More of the authors baggage then the story itself and who wants to read about a 20 year old woman who let her father have sex with her and then constantly whine about it...really...20 years old? Will not read this author again.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2008

    A reviewer

    Ms Harrison seems to be on an ego trip. There was more about her than about the murders or the Gilley family. She has already written her memoir 'The Kiss' and this book simply re-stated her own particular family horror, ad nauseum. Way, Way too superficial. I didn't get the sense I knew any of the Gilleys.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2008

    Keen insight into the mind of a murderer

    Kathryn Harrison seems like an old friend after reading her memoirs so I bought this book. I was not disappointed. I never thought I could understand what would make a human being kill another human being let alone one's own family but Ms Harrison untangles the circumstances and emotions leading up to the horrific event of this young man killing his parents and youngest sister as well as the aftermath and the years that followed. Bravely, the author personalizes the trauma endured by the survivng sister by letting us see glimces of Ms Harrison's own painful parental struggles.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2008

    A reviewer

    I was very captivated by this book. Being from Oregon, I was familiar with many of the places Jody spoke of. I found the relationship between the brother and sister to be very odd...I don't think Jody fully understood the level of Billy's torment by their father! Good book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2012

    Ok

    Ok....Bn

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2012

    While they slept

    This book was terrible. I could not even finish it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    Good book

    I loved this book i live in medford orrgon where this happened it was a great book and i got to go by the house this took place and get a visual it was great

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  • Posted February 8, 2011

    Would not recommend

    I did not like the way this book was written the story jumped all over the place. I also do not think you should bring your life into a story that you are writing it is not about the writer it is about the subject I will stay away from this writer

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    No Closure For Me

    I think that the authors attempts to relate this murder to her own abuse muddled the story too much. I stll cant understand why Jody and her brother ended up with the relationship they did or the grandmother's role in the tragic life they led. More unanswered questions than before I read it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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