Search This Blog

2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

2024 Challenge Sign-Up Post

January Reviews Link-Up

February Reviews Link-Up

March Reviews Link-Up

April Reviews Link-Up

May Reviews Link-Up

June Reviews Link-Up

July Reviews Link-Up

August Reviews Link-Up

September Reviews Link-Up

October Reviews Link-Up

November Reviews Link-Up

December Reviews Link-Up

My Progress:

11 / 30 books. 37% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (3)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii
- Idaho (2)
- Illinois (1)
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (1)
- Maryland
- Massachusetts (2)
- Michigan
- Minnesota
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska
- Nevada
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York (2)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma (1)
- Oregon (2)
- Pennsylvania
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (3)
- Utah
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (1)
- Washington (2)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.* (1)

- Australia (1)
- Canada (1)
- England (8)
- France (1)
- Indonesia (1)
- Ireland (2)
- Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:

23 / 51 states. 45% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

16 / 50 books. 32% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

21 / 50 books. 42% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

43 / 50 books. 86% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

38 / 52 books. 73% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

25 / 40 books. 63% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 25 books. 36% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

6 / 26.2 miles (second lap). 23% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

23 / 100 books. 23% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

58 / 104 books. 56% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

42 / 52 books. 81% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

61 / 165 books. 37% done!
Thursday, October 01, 2009

Shattered Silence: Daughter Opens Up About Her Father, the Happy Face Killer

(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Parents lie to their children all the time. For the most part, the untruths are harmless - "Don't sit too close to the tv or you'll go blind" or "Yes, of course, Santa Claus is real" - meant to preserve childhood and protect innocence. Sometimes, though, parents lie by omission, by keeping their deepest, darkest secrets to themselves, promising their offspring that everything's fine, it will all be okay. Shrouded in such secrecy and lies, the truth - once revealed - can be utterly devastating, damaging a child's psyche forever. Just ask Melissa G. Moore author of Shattered Silence (co-authored by M. Bridget Cook), a memoir about growing up with the man who would come to be known as the "Happy Face Killer."
As a child, Melissa knew Keith Jesperson only as Dad. He was the strapping, fun-loving man who romped with his children and brought them special treats. His job as a trucker kept him away from home for days at a time, so she and her two siblings were always happy to see him. Well, almost always. Melissa remembers the sadistic delight he took in killing small animals, ribbing her about her fears and insecurities, and the cruel words he flung at her mother. Sometimes he frightened her, but mostly he made her feel special and safe. His huge bulk seemed powerful enough to protect her from any danger.
While Melissa says her father was "the adamant protector of our physical bodies" (10), never laying a hand on his children, he allowed them to suffer from squalor and neglect. After Jesperson divorced his wife, she was left to provide for the family with only occasional help from him. They lived in a succession of tiny dwellings with little food in the cupboards and little affection from their exhausted, distant mother. Jesperson popped in and out of their lives. His visits always meant treats for the kids, items their mother could never afford like Jordache jeans and sugary cereal. While she enjoyed those rare delights, Melissa felt increasingly uneasy around her father. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but she knew something about him wasn't quite right. Her intuition proved correct: During Melissa's childhood, Keith Jesperson brutally murdered 8 women.
Melissa's already troubled existence turned even worse as she dealt with the guilt, shame and abject horror of knowing her father's crimes. Her own life spiraled out of control, spinning her in directions that led to even more traumatic situations. Shattered Silence is, at its core, about what happened next, the process by which Melissa was finally able to heal. It involved hard resolve, fervent prayer and going head-to-head with Mr. Tell It Like It Is himself, Dr. Phil McGraw. Hers is an incredible journey of faith, hope and forgiveness.
Shattered Silence reminds me a little of The Stranger Beside Me, Ann Rule's book about her friendship with serial killer Ted Bundy. However, if you're looking for a Rule-like true crime story, you'll want to look elsewhere. Shattered Silence is Melissa's story, not her father's. She gives very little detail about Keith Jesperson's crimes, focusing instead on how she went from worshipping her dad, to fearing him, to loathing him, to separating what he had done from what she could become. It's a heartbreaking, ultimately triumphant tale told in an honest, very readable manner. The story sometimes lacks focus and wants better editing to fix typos and tighten prose. Overall, though, it's a worthwhile read that is as compelling as it is memorable.
(Note: You can check out clips of Melissa's appearances on various news programs here on the website of her publisher, Cedar Fort. Many thanks to Liz Carlston for sending me a copy of Shattered Silence to review.)
Grade: B
If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 for some language, violence and mature themes


  1. I am so glad you posted this book, because it is of my great friend. She really went through a lot and has come out a great person. Melissa Moore is a great girl!!! THank you for honoring her by reading her book.

  2. Wow! Sounds like a powerful story. I can not even begin to imagine something like that.

    I really enjoyed your review. Such wonderful writing!

  3. My husband pointed out this book to me the other day thinking I'd like it. It's been added to my wishlist


Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson


The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Followin' with Bloglovin'


Followin' with Feedly

follow us in feedly

Grab my Button!

Blog Design by:

Blog Archive