Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Terrible State

Author:  Kathryn Nelson
Genre:  Non-Fiction

Four Stars

'...The glaring fact, that this is my country, by its careless consideration with regards to journalistic control had allowed to occur, the devastation and destruction of its beloved child: Child of Ireland, lover of Ireland, now victim of Ireland's indifference.'

Kathryn Nelson had enjoyed successful careers as a teacher and then an international advisor, relishing her life and work in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia.  Her world came crashing down around her when she was wrongly implicated in money laundering after the biggest bank robbery of the time, when robbers had walked out of the Northern Bank in Belfast with 26.5m pounds in cash.


Kathryn Nelson was accused of a crime, that being the theft of millions in pounds from a bank in Belfast, Ireland.  This book is the story of her journey towards the reclamation of her reputation, which had been shredded by the Irish media.

She tells us of her state of mind, and goes from incredulity, fear, shame, depression, and anger.  She tells of a long journey, nearly six years, to fight her way back and regain her good name.  She endures physical as well as mental and emotional pain, trying every which way she can to garner the help she needs to achieve this, asking anyone she knows for advice and a way to start her on this journey.  It is interesting to watch her travel from the lowest rung of the ladder back to the highest.

What happened to Kathryn was devastating, life-changing, and indeed, terrible.  The scariest fact is that is could have happened anywhere to anyone, not just to Kathryn.  The merest acquaintance of someone could have harsh consequences.  But Kathryn refused to be a victim, and fought back as hard as she could.

Then why only four stars:  Because of things like repeatedly calling herself "a Kildare woman," as if this had significance.  It obviously means something to her, but to those of us not of Ireland, no.  Tell us why this is significant enough to mention it several times.  And because of the repetition of words such as Garda/Gardi, which, after seeing it often, I took to mean 'police officer.'  If you're not in Ireland, unless you read Irish books or speak the language, you probably won't know what it means.  

When Kathryn finally finds justice, it is sort of an anticlimax.  Yes, she received vindication (not really a spoiler, since it's all in the blurb) but I would have liked to have known what happened to the people that actually libeled her in the press.  I would have liked to have known more about her past and what exactly an 'international advisor' does.  

At the last, I hope that Kathryn regains the joy she feels she has lost and is able to trust and be happy again.  Recommended.

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