Friday, November 21, 2014

Cold Case to Case Closed : Lizbeth Borden: My Story - by Rich Little and Beverly Folstad

Living in Massachusetts has piqued my interests in several things. One is the Salem witch trials, another is the Lizzie Borden ax murder case. Of course the jump rope rhyme about Lizzie Borden is well known, and I have seen at least two movies about the crime. I watched The Legend of Lizzie Borden starring Elizabeth Montgomery when it first aired on television in 1975, and more recently Lizzie Borden Took an Ax with Christina Ricci in the title role. We have also toured the Borden home in Fall River, which is now run as a (creepy) B & B. This is the first book I have read about her though. Our town's One Book One Community Committee is considering this self-published work for the spring 2015 read. Although it is subtitled "My Story" only some of the sections of this work are from Lizzie Borden's point of view. Much of it is a factual retelling of what was known, police reports, and how the trial played out. These parts of the work read like any other "true crime" book. I was, personally, much more entertained by the sections of the book that comprised the imagined words of Miss Borden. And I was especially interested in learning how important her library card was to her while she was imprisoned
In my ten months at Taunton (prison), there was seldom another woman incarcerated; the result was a very quiet environment. I spent my time reading, one of my favorite pastimes. When Emma came in on the train to visit every week, she always brought fresh reading materials. The Taunton Free library was only two blocks away; they issued me a library card which I still cherish. While shopping for jail supplies and provisions, Mrs. Wright would pick up several newly published books from the library each week.
I can only imagine that without the solace Miss Borden found in reading that her time in prison would have been akin to solitary confinement - alone with only her thoughts day after day. Books are our friends.

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