With echoes of Darin Strauss’ Half a Life and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild comes a beautifully written, riveting memoir that examines thecomplexities of friendship in the aftermath of a tragedy.
Four weeks before their college graduation,twenty-one-year-old Kevin Schaeffer walked Amy Butcher to her home in theircollege town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Hours after parting ways with Amy, hefatally stabbed his ex-girlfriend, Emily Silverstein. While he awaited trial,psychiatrists concluded he had suffered an acute psychotic break. Amy wasseverely affected by Kevin’s crime but remained devoted to him as a friend.Over time she became obsessed—determined to discover the narrative thatexplained what Kevin had done, believing that Kevin’s actions were the direct resultof his untreated illness.
The tragedy deeply shook her concept of reality, disruptedher sense of right and wrong, and dismantled every conceivable notion she’d establishedabout herself and her relation to the world. Amy eventually realized that she’dnever have the answers, or find personal peace, unless she went after them herself. She drove across the country back to Gettysburg for the first time in the three years since graduation to sift through hundreds of pages of publicrecords—mental health evaluations, detectives’ notes, inventories of evidence,search warrants, testimonies, even Kevin’s own confession.
This is Amy Butcher’s deeply personal, heart-wrenchingaccount of the consequences of failing her friend when perhaps he needed onemost. It’s the story of how trauma affects memory and the way a friendshipchanges and often strengthens through seemingly insurmountable challenges. Ultimately,it’s a powerful testament to the bonds we share with others and the profoundresiliency and strength of the human spirit.