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Hardcover Strange Piece of Paradise Book

ISBN: 0374134987

ISBN13: 9780374134983

Strange Piece of Paradise

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

In the summer of 1977, Terri Jentz and her Yale roommate took a cross-country bike trip. As they lay sleeping in the central Oregon desert, a man in a pickup truck deliberately ran over their tent and... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Non-fiction Dostoevsky

In the spring of 1977, Terri Jentz was finishing her freshman year at Yale. Summer beckoned, and, with it, adventure --- a cross-country bike ride with her roommate. Like Terri, Shayna Weiss (not her real name) had never undertaken a physical challenge this tough. Like Terri, Shayna had no fear of what they'd find along the route. But they were smart and resourceful and using well-traveled roads --- what could go wrong? Terri and Shayna took a bus to the West and started pedaling in Oregon on June 16. Seven days later, they were still in Oregon. As the day ended, their friendship was under strain. Worse, the guidebook said there was an overnight campground at Cline Falls State Park. But there wasn't. And as they looked for a place to pitch their tent, they felt...watched. Should they press on to the next town? They decided they were paranoid. But as a precaution, they decided to put their tent by the riverbank, where they wouldn't be seen from the highway. And so they were alone, sleeping, when the pickup truck drove into the tent and stopped on Terri's body. Alone when a man with a hatchet got out and hacked into Shayna's head. Alone when he backed the truck up, stepped into the tent and slashed at Terri. Shayna moans, dying. Terri pulls herself back "from the siren call of oblivion" and looks up at the torso of the man -- a "cowboy...his shirt tucked meticulously into jeans so that not one wrinkle, not one bulge of fabric, mars the surface of his flat stomach." He's holding the hatchet, but he's not moving. "Please leave us alone," Terri says. "Take anything. Just leave us alone." And...he leaves. I'm not going to spill the details of what happens next, except to say that Terri --- despite shredded flesh, a collapsed lung, a fractured collarbone, crushed rib cage, broken nose, chipped skull and a bone in her left forearm sliced clean through --- does everything necessary to flag down a truck and get Shayna to a hospital. An astonishing display of courage and instinct and pure adrenalin. And, thanks to Terri, Shayna survives. That near-murder was almost 30 years ago, but this account is fresher than today's bread --- every detail in place, every fact as precise as that cowboy's tucked-in shirt. And the emotions are precisely delineated as well. How could that not be? After sitting on this experience for 15 years, Terri Jentz snapped awake in 1992 and began a painful reconstruction of her life. In essence, she became a cop. The irony of her quest was not lost on her. Had she been killed, there would be no statute of limitations. But an unsolved attack in Oregon cannot be prosecuted after three years --- and the police had failed to find a suspect who could be charged for the crime. So her quest is entirely personal. Unless, that is, her attacker is still out there, preying on other women. But it's more complex than that. Shayna is alive, but not at all the girl she was in 1977. Along with damaged eyesight, she's had memory loss -

A Deeply Moving Memoir

I grew up in the town where Ms. Jentz was attacked in 1977. I could not put this book down. I read a LOT of books and this one is by far the most disturbing, moving, and gripping book I've read. She described our town and the residents so well. I was captivated by her description of the journey she took to get her life back after a horrendous experience. I met her at a book signing and she is a warm, genuine person. I would highly recommend this book.

Gripping, powerful, important

I am not normally a "true crime" or even a "memoir" lover, but this is a remarkable book. In my opinion, the book works well on three different levels: First, it is a gripping, page-turning, dectective story with the twist that the investigation is taking place fifteen years after the crime and the victim is pursuing the criminal. Second, it is an important exaimination of the effects of voilence on our communities and an expose of our ineffective criminal justice system. Finally, the book is a powerful study of identity, an unusual "coming of age" story that takes place over thirty years. The author was deeply traumatized by her random brush with death. I found her struggle to integrate and make sense of this senseless act very moving. This is a complex book and undoubtedly it will provoke comdemnation from some who disagree with its premisees or who do not "get" its introspective components. The author challenges conservative notions by powerfully revealing the pervasiveness of violence against women in our culture, and challenges liberal naivete about forgiveness and reformation of criminal minds. This book grapples with important issues and I hope it provokes some much needed national discussion. This review is not particularly objective; Terri is a friend, and my parents play a supporting role in her tale. However, rather than coloring my judgement, I believe my familiarity with Terri and my family's experience as victims of crime gives me a unique vantage point for reviewing the book. Terri captures the complexity and nuances of the effects of trauma. Most importantly, her work is profoundly honest and genuine. I watched her go through this process for over a decade. Her book is the real deal.

An epic American journey

I picked up this book after seeing several very good reviews. While it's not the kind of thing I normally read and I was a bit wary of the length, I'm very glad I gave it a chance. Jentz is a brave and beautiful writer. The book works on so many levels. It's the investigation of a crime, but it's so much more. Jentz wrestles with an American ethos that glorifies violence and refuses to acknowledge the suffering of women. I know, that makes the book sound stuffy. But the author isn't writing a polemic. This is a very personal story, an attempt to recover a part of herself that was lost during the attack. There's a lot of detail and some very hard, dark material. In the end, though, I just couldn't stop reading, pulled along by the evolving mystery of who the perp was, and also the very touching story of the author's attempt to face the horror. Given the themes, the story, and the intense writing, I couldn't put the book down.

An Honest Book That Is Felt As Much As It Is Read

This is an incredible read! Even if the story were lacking, which it certainly isn't, Terri Jentz skillfull and honest re-telling of the events that forever altered and in many ways shaped the rest of her life could make up for it. But instead this book, 542 pages of very closely typed small print, is worth a thousand pages of raw emotion that left me feeling that it had been under, rather than overstated. Page by page, the author takes you on a tour of her life from age 19, when as a college student at Yale, she and her roommate Shayna undertake a cross-country bicycle ride. Beginning and ending in Oregon, the summer-long excursion ends in a mere 7 days when an axe-wielding maniac first drives over the tent as the girls lie at camp sleeping, and then hacks and carves into them before returning to his truck and driving away. The girls live, but Terri tells the story, detail by detail, and as a reader, I sensed that I too was on that bike ride, in the tent, and almost twenty years later, re-tracing both the steps leading up to the attack and the attack itself. But even more compelling is that the way Terri tells her story, all emotion is felt, including not only the fear and terror, but the emotionally blank periods in Terri's life in which, to cope with the horror, she had shut out her ability to sense the reality of what had happened to her as she related her experience to friends and acquaintences as if it were a piece of amusing fiction. Finally, coming to grips with the knowledge that she had "disassociated with the self in the sleeping bag that night" in order to survive it emotionally, Terri sets out not only to retrace her steps in hope of regaining her lost emotions, but also, to discover the identity of her would-be murderer and the incredulity of a small town that knew so much more about what happened to her than she did herself. This is a book that you wont want to put down until it is finished. It is not light reading, but told with such skill and honesty, it goes much more quickly than expected. Don't read it caffienated!
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