Sharon Tate was the most famous victim of the Manson murders and her horrific death at 8 months pregnant left her family - parents Doris and Paul (PJ), and kid sisters Debra and Patti - utterly bereft.
The book exposes the heartbreaking reality of losing a family member to murder. There's the often unjust justice system; the strain on familial relationships; and the ripple effect down generations. The stories are moving and confronting. We read about the tenacious Doris Tate facing her daughter's killer in a parole hearing; the fights to remove one killer's influence in prison and his conjugal visits; and the private writings of PJ, Doris, and Patti. More families should write books that chronicle the reality of violent crime; perhaps then the justice system will focus less on prisoner's rights and more on victim's rights.
However there is a responsibility when documenting real crime, to be both factual and sensitive out of deference to the magnitude of the crime and respect for its surviving victims.
Restless Souls is certainly marketed as a factual account of a family's tragedy. However, Alisa Statman has by her own admission taken poetic license and the reader is left unaware of when the Tate's actual words stop and Alisa's recount or imagining begins. This may not be important to the reader so long as the message is strong, but I imagine it would be very important to those whose lives were defined by the tragedy and the post-trauma it induces.
The story does not speak for the Tate family as a whole - a notable omission is the only surviving member, Sharon's sister Debra Tate. Debra released a statement on the Tate Family Legacy site, of which she is guardian, outlining her concerns with the accuracy of the book.
It is worth remembering here that Debra and Patti both lost their sister and unborn nephew to slaughter, and their parents to an abyss of grief. By Doris' own admission, she checked out mentally and didn't `come back' for 10 years, when a Manson murderer was up for parole and she was galvanised into action. No-one can blame her for her reaction to her daughter and grandson's horrific deaths, and nor can anyone understand the effect her absence had on the two young girls left behind. It's a monstrous situation that further highlights the insidious effects of senseless murder.
I would expect a professional author writing about the subject, to have an appreciation of this.
Instead, she has submitted disturbing, extremely personal and out-of-context attacks on Debra, on this very site. They were a clear breach of Amazon rules and were eventually deleted.
Additionally, Alisa Statman aligns herself with a blogger named 'Col Scott'. His blog - to which Alisa feeds Tate family information/documents and contributes comments - is pornographic, abusive, and it viciously attacks Debra Tate and others in the manner of a schoolyard bully inciting a mob. It is the last place on earth I would associate with victim's advocacy. One can only imagine how the deceased Tates would react to having their name and their memoirs besmirched by association with such a base, venomous forum - aided and abetted by Alisa Statman.
I believe that conduct such as this compromises Alisa's trusted position as a chronicler of victims' struggles with the aftermath of murder.
In short: this book's worthy message is sadly diluted by the conduct of the messenger.