She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall

Misty Bernall, Author, Madeleine L'Engle, Foreword by Plough $17 (140p) ISBN 978-0-87486-987-3
One of the most gripping stories to come out of the shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., is that of Cassie Bernall: when asked by the gunmen whether she believed in God, she answered yes and then was shot point-blank. Hours after the story emerged, Cassie was hailed a martyr by news media and Christian groups around the world. Her mother's smoothly written account of that day, and of the years that preceded it, provides a fuller picture of a girl who was once very troubled and, ironically, had been for a time as much of a Goth-loving outsider as her killers. Bernall relates how she and her husband intervened after finding letters in Cassie's room that described occult spells and ways to murder one's parents. In describing her daughter's turnaround, spurred by adjustments at school and a Christian youth group, Bernall also details her own emotional difficulties before and after the shooting. Her remarkable candor about her relationship with her daughter makes this an intense and fascinating memoir. Comments from Cassie's father and schoolmates add depth and, by her own admission, allow even Bernall to learn more about Cassie than she had known before the shooting. Through the Bernall family's example, the book shows how a troubled teenager can be helped, though Bernall doesn't hold back when describing the emotional toll the process can take. Although she doesn't see her daughter as a martyr, Bernall concludes that Cassie's death was, indeed, a triumph of honesty and courage. This powerful memoir honors that courage and reveals Misty Bernall's own. 10 b&w photos. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/30/1999
Release date: 09/01/1999
Hardcover - 142 pages - 978-0-8499-1645-8
Paperback - 144 pages - 978-0-8499-4355-3
Video, VHS Format - 978-0-87486-989-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56740-710-5
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