BN.com Gift Guide

Shot in the Heart [NOOK Book]

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 ...
See more details below
Shot in the Heart

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$13.99
BN.com price

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.

The brother of Gary Gilmore, the infamous murderer immortalized in Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song, tells the stunning story of their wildly dysfunctional family--a family destroyed by a multigenerational history of child abuse, alcoholism, crime, adultery, and murder. "Impossible to put down."--John Schulian, L.A. Times. Photos.

Read More Show Less

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.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307423641
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/23/2009
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 114,119
  • File size: 5 MB

Reading Group Guide

1. Families often share private legacies and myths. The Gilmore children grew up hearing family secrets and stories, from the abandonment of their father by Houdini to the dramatic tale of a public hanging witnessed by their mother as a young girl. Discuss the impact of these stories on the life of each parent, and on the life of each of the four boys: Frank, Gary, Gaylen, and Mikal.

2. How did the Gilmore family deal with feelings of anger and pain? What avenues of escape did individual members of the Gilmore family develop as a means of coping?

3. Was this story fated? If so, why? What do you see as the various key turning points in Gary's development from innocent child to cold-blooded murderer? What were some possible actions or developments--or turns of fate--that could have saved this family from its violent and tragic course?

4. Children often act out the unexpressed fears and desires of their parents. Give examples of this from Shot in the Heart or from your own experience.

5. What was the most significant difference between the family Mikal grew up with and the one his brothers experienced?

6. Mormonism is the predominant religion originating in America, and is among the fastest growing religions in the world. Is the Mormon religion quintessentially American? If so, why?

7. As a system of beliefs, religion can have the dramatic ability to shape our perceptions of the world. What impact can religious differences have on a marriage? How were these differences handled between Mikal's Catholic father and his Mormon mother?

8. Gary Gilmore was first incarcerated at age fourteen. What was the impact of reform school on Gary? On Gaylen?Are reform schools substantially different today than they were in the 1950s? Discuss the advisabililty of incarcerating youthful offenders. Is getting tough on young criminals a deterrent to crime or a further conditioning agent to crime?

9. Frank and Gary Gilmore were only a year apart in age yet Gary spent most of his life in prison and became a vicious murderer, while Frank went to prison as a conscientious objector who refused to even pick up a gun. Why do you think this was so?

10. How has juvenile deliquency evolved in our society since the 1950s? How has the criminal justice system adjusted to this evolution?

11. Is there a difference between rural violence and urban violence? Which one would you expect to be more violent, and why?

12. We traditionally think of the death penalty as a deterrent to crime. Is it possible that capital punishment was an incentive for Gary Gilmore to murder?

13. What impact does the media coverage of crime have on society?

14. What rights of privacy do families possess when it comes to child rearing methods? What forms of abuse require intervention, and at what point is intervention by outsiders (teachers, neighbors, counselors) acceptable and even necessary?

15. What are acceptable methods of punishing children? What do you know about child-rearing practices in other cultures?

16. Who is to blame when an individual commits an act of violence? The individual? The family? Society? How do we allocate responsibility?

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2007

    Too Many Excuses

    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.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 17, 2012

    Good book-too drawn out

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 27, 2014

    I would read it again

    Just a beautiful book , haunted me in a good way for years, i did cry alot as the writing touchs your soul

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

    Posted May 15, 2013

    I couldn't put this book down, it was such an amazing story of a

    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. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 23, 2011

    american gothic

    Extraordinary.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A follow-up to the Executioner's Song or a great read to itself!

    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.

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

    Posted April 29, 2008

    Great book!

    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!

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

    Posted January 2, 2004

    One of the best books I ever read

    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.

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

    Posted March 15, 2003

    Absorbing

    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.

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

    Posted September 24, 2002

    A compelling tale of a haunted past.

    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.

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

    Posted October 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)