Neuroquirks of a Codependent Killer, or Just Give Me a Shot at Loving You, Dear, and Other Reflections on
By Barbara Oakley
(Prometheus Books, Hardcover, 9781616144197, 387pp.)
Publication Date: April 26, 2011
Are some people predisposed to kindness to the point of being destructive to themselves and others? How much of our help is fulfilling our own needs—including those of our hidden passions? This is the true story of Carole Alden, a brilliant, yet eccentric mother of five, who evinced a deep and abiding need to help society’s outcasts. At her rural homestead an adopted pony mingled with llamas, goats, emus, and dozens of other creatures, familiar and exotic. But Carole’s expressed desire to help others extended beyond the animals she took in. It extended beyond her meager resources, even beyond the children she insisted she loved, yet sometimes left neglected in a surreal world of danger. Finally, in the remote reaches of Utah’s Great Basin, Carole Alden shot and killed her husband. Dragging his heavy body from the house, she headed for a makeshift grave. Was the murder self-defense? Premeditated? Or was something else altogether at hand? In this searing exploration of deadly codependency, the author takes the reader on a spellbinding voyage of discovery that examines the questions: Are some people naturally too caring? Is caring sometimes a mask for darker motives? Can science help us understand how our concerns for others can hurt everything we hold dear? This gripping story brings extraordinary insight to our deepest questions. Is kindness always the right answer? Is kindness always what it seems?
Barbara A. Oakley, PhD (Rochester, MI), is the acclaimed author of Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend. She has been dubbed a female Indiana Jones—her writing combines worldwide adventure with solid research expertise. Among other adventures, she has worked as a Russian translator on Soviet trawlers in the Bering Sea, served as radio operator at the South Pole Station in Antarctica, and risen from Private to Regular Army Captain in the US Army. Currently an associate professor of engineering at Oakland University in Michigan, Oakley is a recent vice president of the world's largest bioengineering society and holds a doctorate in the integrative discipline of systems engineering.
"Riveting and disturbing…."
-Joyce Carol Oates
-Dr. Helen Smith
"… [A] terrific book."