Shot in the Heart

Shot in the Heart

4.4 13
by Mikal Gilmore
     
 

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Gary Gilmore, the infamous murderer immortalized by Norman Mailer in The Executioner's Song, campaigned for his own death and was executed by firing squad in 1977. Writer Mikal Gilmore is his younger brother. In Shot in the Heart, he tells the stunning story of their wildly dysfunctional family: their mother, a blacksheep daughter of unforgiving

Overview

Gary Gilmore, the infamous murderer immortalized by Norman Mailer in The Executioner's Song, campaigned for his own death and was executed by firing squad in 1977. Writer Mikal Gilmore is his younger brother. In Shot in the Heart, he tells the stunning story of their wildly dysfunctional family: their mother, a blacksheep daughter of unforgiving Mormon farmers; their father, a drunk, thief, and con man. It was a family destroyed by a multigenerational history of child abuse, alcoholism, crime, adultery, and murder. Mikal, burdened with the guilt of being his father's favorite and the shame of being Gary's brother, gracefully and painfully relates a murder tale "from inside the house where murder is born... a house that, in some ways, [he has] never been able to leave." Shot in the Heart is the history of an American family inextricably tied up with violence, and the story of how the children of this family committed murder and murdered themselves in payment for a long lineage of ruin. Haunting, harrowing, and profoundly affecting, Shot in the Heart exposes and explores a dark vein of American life that most of us would rather ignore. It is a book that will leave no reader unchanged.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This L.A. Times award winner by the brother of murderer Gary Gilmore tells a multigenerational tale of familial abuse. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Although this abridgment lacks much of the detail of the printed version (LJ 5/15/94), it remains an engrossing account of the family history of convicted murderer Gary Gilmore (protagonist of Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song). The author, the youngest brother of the Gilmore clan, chronicles the lives of his parents and brothers based on his own recollections as well as facts uncovered by interviews with family members and acquaintances. The story's appeal lies in its chronicling of the history of a career criminal who made headlines by refusing to appeal his execution. However, it has more widespread and personal appeal as a tale of family conflict and marital discord and the effects of parental violence on children. Will Patton's narration, with its deliberate pace and quiet tone, evokes the sorrow and mystery surrounding a troubled family. Highly recommended.-Catherine Swenson, Norwich Univ. Lib., Northfield, Vt.
Brad Hooper
A startling book by a senior editor at "Rolling Stone" magazine, who, more relevantly, is the youngest brother of Gary Gilmore, the convicted murderer (and subject of Norman Mailer's "Executioner's Song" who was executed by firing squad in Utah in 1977 amid tremendous publicity. Younger brother Gilmore has come out of the closet, so to speak, after all these years neither to excuse his older sibling nor to cash in on his notoriety. He does so as catharsis, to finally reestablish a connection to a family, however dysfunctional it was and however distanced from it he felt at one time, who spawned a killer. His book is overlong but effective nonetheless, as Mikal seeks to identify and understand the family environment that engendered Gary's violent nature. Both parents came to their marriage with considerable psychological baggage, but it was Gary's father's violent behavior that seems to have been the primary ingredient contributing to the kind of man Gary became. This is not a book of pat answers, but rather, a sad, sensitive, well-written account from the heart.
From the Publisher
"One of the most beautifully written, moving nonfiction books published in the past five years." — Deidre Donahue, USA Today.

"Remarkable, astonishing... Shot in the Heart reads like a combination of Brothers Karamazov and a series of Johnny Cash ballads... chilling, heartbreaking, and alarming." — Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times.

"Mesmerizing... riveting and immensely moving... Shot in the Heart is a gesture of sustained courage that just happens to be a page-turner." — Daphne Merkin,The New Yorker.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307423641
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/23/2009
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
130,755
File size:
5 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"One of the most beautifully written, moving nonfiction books published in the past five years." — Deidre Donahue, USA Today.

"Remarkable, astonishing... Shot in the Heart reads like a combination of Brothers Karamazov and a series of Johnny Cash ballads... chilling, heartbreaking, and alarming." — Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times.

"Mesmerizing... riveting and immensely moving... Shot in the Heart is a gesture of sustained courage that just happens to be a page-turner." — Daphne Merkin,The New Yorker.

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Shot in the Heart 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
kokkie More than 1 year ago
I had a hard time getting through this book .Reason being it was too drawn out and felt myself skipping pages to get to the crux of the issue being discussed. Probably not what I imagined. Would not have been a choice if it was not recommended to me by a friend. Would have liked more detail about the actual trial. Less detail about the intimate details of a very dysfunctional family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down, it was such an amazing story of a dysfunctional family. I would highly recommend this book, I didn't want it to end! Easy read as well. 
ellekd More than 1 year ago
A very well told and written story of an amazingly dysfunctional family. The scope of which takes you from Houdini to Gilmore with many other interesting individuals in between. Nothing seems to be left out or over embellished. A fascinating account of poverty,child abuse,alcoholism and unbelievable, yet documented, tragedy. How the Author made it out alive and hopefully now well is beyond me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Gilmore writes well and no doubt covered the subject of his life and the lives of his family members well. However, the book was laden with too many excuses as to why the Gilmore boys went bad. He makes the point many times of their intelligence and abilities to create yet, according to him, they were completely helpless in functioning in the world. He speaks of the numerous beatings yet, in the same breath, tells how the parents upheld Gary and Gaylen in all their escapades. It seems there was very good evidence of mental illness in the mother, and the father may have had a dose of it, too. I think their upbringing did contribute to their falls however, it was because no one ever reined them in. They all made excuses and thought they were doomed and haunted and marked with evil. Let's face it. Gary Gilmore was a thug. He was allowed to skip from prison to prison and the whole family did not ever admit that Gary put himself there. I thought Mikal just tried to rationalize their lives too much. He needed to face up to the fact that he had a sociopath for a brother, and Gaylen wasn't far behind. I was worn out with his interpretations of every act as to how they related to the family being doomed. They doomed themselves. They were lucky Gary didn't kill them all in one of his rare free moments. Mikal is a bright man, and he needs to put this behind him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a brave accomplishment on Mikal Gilmore's behalf. He writes with no holes barred about his parents and brothers and himself. He shows how evil can cause many different reactions in the same family. You feel for each member of the family.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mikal Gilmore has done what most writer's would find very difficult to do: to write a memoir of his family, that writhed in violence, hatred, sadness, and superstition. He doesn't say to the reader, "This is what happened to my brother. Please forgive his murderous doings." He gives you so many points of view, that you can decide for yourself. Often painful passages, which tear at the heart, and leave you wondering: how he must have suffered through the writing of this book. But it is as much an important story to be read, as the importance of why he wrote it: to help heal and tell you a story you'll never forget.
Anonymous 28 days ago
"Hello."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow, what a story! This is a great read. I always wondered what it was like to live in an extremely disfuctional family and this story gave a full description of what a situation would be like for a child. Incredible and what a journey for anyone to live through, yet alone survive!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read. It kept my interest throughout the whole book. Mr. Gilmore is an excellent author. My highest praises to him. Very highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just a beautiful book , haunted me in a good way for years, i did cry alot as the writing touchs your soul
Paul Daly More than 1 year ago
Extraordinary.