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All booksTrue crimeAfter the Eclipse
After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry
True crime

After the Eclipse

by Sarah Perry

Quick take

"I think what affects me most about her story is her need to search for who her mother was through police records, court documents and the friends and family her mother left behind."

Why I love it

Gabourey Sidibe

Reading After the Eclipse made me think of my own life in two parts: Before I became an actor, and now that I am one. I think of what sliding doors I could’ve walked through or avoided and wonder if I’d have ended up here, wherever "here" is. If I had gone to a different school, or lived in a different apartment, would it have changed the course of my life completely?

Sarah Perry's life is also separated into two parts, but in a totally different way. She writes the haunting, true story of the death of her mother when she was a scared, twelve-year-old girl.  Sarah was at home and awake as her mother was assaulted and murdered. Sarah heard much of the attack but paralyzed by fear, she was unable to intervene. Here in her book, she talks about her life in before and after. Before the murder, she was a smart girl with a bright future with a loving mom for a best friend. After, she became a tragic orphan with more questions than answers, an incomplete understanding of who her mother was and a blank, empty space of who she’ll never get to be.

I think what affects me most about her story is her need to search for who her mother was through police records, court documents and the friends and family her mother left behind. I can’t imagine having to piece together a loved one’s life with what are essentially scraps of paper. Especially my mother. Luckily, I don’t have to do that. I have both of my parents still but I can’t say I know who they are, outside of just being my mom and dad.  Even now, I haven’t spoken to my dad in weeks and can go just as long without talking to my mother. I can go years without speaking to my siblings. I act as if I’m an orphan. I like to think "Oh I’ll make a call or visit soon. I'll get to know them as people and not just as parents someday." After the Eclipse reminds me that tragedy can strike at any moment and "someday," can and will disappear forever and that may be sooner than I think.

After the Eclipse is both a heartfelt memoir and a suspenseful story. With its many twist and turns, the mystery of this murdered woman and the small town of people who knew and loved her, feels like I’m reading a prequel to Twin Peaks. The more I read and unlock the secrets of who Sarah’s mother was, the more I am urged to unlock the secrets of who my own parents are. While I’m not yet an orphan.

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Synopsis

A fierce memoir of a mother’s murder, a daughter’s coming-of-age in the wake of immense loss, and her mission to know the woman who gave her life.

When Sarah Perry was twelve, she saw a partial eclipse of the sun, an event she took as a sign of good fortune for her and her mother, Crystal. But that brief moment of darkness ultimately foreshadowed a much larger one: two days later, Crystal was murdered in their home in rural Maine, just a few feet from Sarah’s bedroom.

The killer escaped unseen; it would take the police twelve years to find him, time in which Sarah grew into adulthood, struggling with abandonment, police interrogations, and the effort of rebuilding her life when so much had been lost. Through it all she would dream of the eventual trial, a conviction—all her questions finally answered. But after the trial, Sarah’s questions only grew. She wanted to understand her mother’s life, not just her final hours, and so she began a personal investigation, one that drew her back to Maine, taking her deep into the abiding darkness of a small American town.

Told in searing prose, After the Eclipse is a luminous memoir of uncomfortable truth and terrible beauty, an exquisite memorial for a mother stolen from her daughter, and a blazingly successful attempt to cast light on her life once more.

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Preview

Member thoughts

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All (1701)
Love (830)
Like (717)
Dislike (154)
1842 ratings
  • 45% Love
  • 39% Like
  • 8% Dislike
  • Eugene, OR

    So raw and honest - everyone who is “obsessed” with murder (especially fans of the My Favorite Murder podcast) should read this and afterwards see if they still feel the same of unresolved violence.

  • Long Beach, CA

    This book has stayed with me since I’ve read it. Sarah’s mother was murdered while she was in the next room. It’s told by her memories before and after the murder. Highly recommend for Murderinos.

  • Cincinnati , OH

    Sarah is one strong woman and I applaud her bravery. If you’ve ever watched the news and thought “omg, how terrible!”, yet an hour later are worried about your own petty crap, you should read this

  • Marlton, NJ

    Ive read this one twice and it has stuck with me long after I finished it. I recommend this one very much. It can be kind of hard to get through just bc of the subject matter but it’s worth the read

  • Centerville, GA

    Immensely powerful book. It is very easy to see how much time and thought Sarah Perry put into not only how she told the story, but in finding that delicate line between personal and impartial. Bravo.

  • Union Grove, WI

    Great book. Very emotional. ############################################################################################################################################################################

  • Sellersburg, IN

    This book was hard to read but it felt so important to continue on even when it was difficult. It is heartbreaking to learn what this woman went through but it is an amazing story of self empowerment.

  • Arlington , TX

    Even though it says it's a memoir, I was so lost in the story that I forgot it was a true story. There were so many insights and I loved every minute of this sorrowful look into this family's tragedy.

  • Independence , MO

    The journey of a woman to rediscover her mother's life broke me into pieces and put me back together again. Parts were difficult to read but this was a moving portrait of grief and a daughter's love.

  • Mundelein, IL

    I admire the author for surviving her loss & seeking her mom's story. I still have my mom & this made me think of how it was back when it was only us 2. I saw us in this book & I just want to hug her.

  • Falls Church, VA

    So honest and raw - such a strong story that gave a glimpse of a wonderful and heartbreaking relationship between mother and daughter where one ends and the other is forced to rebuild and begin again.

  • Santa Fe, NM

    From unimaginable tragedy, a fierce and beautiful woman emerged. I will never forget the author's experience of the night her mom died; it will forever be in my heart, as will her strength & determntn

  • Denver, CO

    This author's writing, vulnerability, and strength set this true crime novel apart from the rest of the genre. She also challenges society to less sensationalize crime and feel it as the horror it is.

  • Los Angeles, CA

    Very well written and keeps you guessing the whole time. I also think it's great that Sarah Perry was able to open up about such a traumatic event in her life. Helps others appreciate what they have

  • Brooklyn, NY

    Such a heartbreaking story of love and loss. The author's honesty & strength about her search to overcome this traumatic experience at a young age and make sense of life in its aftermath is inspiring

  • Raleigh, NC

    I thought it was beautifully written. I ached for Sarah and can't imagine anyone going through what she experienced. I'm relieved it wasn't focused on Crystal's death, but more about her life & love.

  • Miami , FL

    Sad. I felt shocked that this was a true story. From the very beginning this was a dysfunctional family and just when Crystal was doing well she's gone. Sad Sarah had to grow up without her mom.

  • New York, NY

    An unsolved murder, the bond between mother and daughter, and a hard look at how society treats women. This is the must-read book of 2017. Blown away by Perry’s writing and bravery.

  • Hedgesville, WV

    I cried the entire time reading this book. I love reading true crime. I had a hard time putting this book down. Definitely recommend After The Eclipse! Lots of love, hugs, & prayers for Sarah Perry!

  • Seattle, WA

    One of the best memoirs I've read in a while. While the book focuses more on the life of the little girl left behind by her mother's murder, it eventually uncovers the sad circumstances of the crime.

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