Anne-Laure Bondoux The Killer’s Tears. New York: Delacorte Press. 2003.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience: High school
Read Aloud: The Killer’s Tears Read A loud
Summary: Angel is a lone traveler whom comes upon a house that is considered to be ‘at the end of the earth’. He has been outrunning the law for awhile with his criminal record; he just wants to settle down away from society. So, he lands upon Paolo’s house. Here he murders his two parents but spares the child. Angel takes Paolo under his wing as his own son. Once out of food; Angel and Paolo set out on an unforgettable journey together into the town.
Themes: Love is one theme. Angel, the murderer, spares Paolo, the son of the two farmers. He then raises Paolo as his own son and grows to love him. By the end of the book Angel actually realizes that he can not give Paolo the life he deserves. So, out of love he leaves him in a good home with a loving father to grow up. Angel really changes throughout the entire book. He is changed by the love between him and Paolo.
Coming of age is another theme. Paolo lived in the middle of no where. And, so when him and Angel traveled he learnt many new exciting things. He saw a fair, boats, hotels, etc. But, along the way he also realized what Angel actually did. At the time, Paolo did not know it was wrong that his parents were murdered. Instead, he took Angel as his own father. Once he got away by himself on this journey he really matured. The fact that he never put it together that this guy was bad in the first place just amazed me. Paolo had to grow up fast though; just like Angel had when he was young. Paolo had went days without food and shelter; and, never really interacted with children. He was uneducated as well and could not read. So, once he was put into a home with a decent family his life completely changed.
Selfishness was one of the biggest themes I also got out of all this. The book never really spoke about why Angel murdered the parents but spared the child. Angel was looking for a place to hide; Paolo’s house was perfect. I think Angel was very fixed on the idea of becoming a father. The thing that really does upset me is that he really took away Paolo’s childhood for his own benefit. I thought that was extremely selfish of him. Paolo can never get that or his parents back as long as he lives. And, the fact that Paolo even considered Angel his father was crazy as well.
Connections: The only connection I really made was that Angel was exposed to significant risk factors when he was a child. His mother was never around and, his father had died when Angel was young. This meant that Angel had to fend for himself; which involved a lot of theft and murders. For such a long time he had run from the law; but, in the end a man tells Paolo that “justice was served”. Since I am in law enforcement we talk in depth about juveniles. And, Angel was exposed to many factors which led him to become this violent offender. I believe that as Paolo grew up too, he probably thought that it was alright to perform armed robbery. Or, to kill someone for shelter. I am pretty sure the parents who eventually took Paolo in had some difficulties teaching him right from wrong. When you look into criminals, a lot of factors base in at a young age.
Reactions: This has been my favorite book so far that I have read. I absolutely loved it. I had mixed emotions throughout the entire book. If I saw my parents get murdered I would do a multitude of things. Furthermore, never ever would I refer to the murderer as my own parent. But, the crazy thing is the love both Angel and Paolo really had for each other. When they eventually got separated, I really was sad. These two fellows only had one another to depend on in this world. Also, I really do think they labeled Angel too quickly. And, sometimes I feel like criminals are put on this stereo-type to frequently. In the book, the police department said that Angel was beating Paolo and making all these crazy accusations about him. I went to a prison last week- and, I will admit I was very nervous walking around when the inmates were walking freely without handcuffs. And, that was my nature to stereo-type these men whom were being locked up; some for up to a life sentence. Some of these inmates at the prison were hard workers, friendly, they were human beings. And yes, they did something wrong. But, that does not mean we should just ‘throw them away’ in these cells and forget. I think Angel really did not know right from wrong; and, just thought what he did was normal. He basically said he had to do this to eat, maintain shelter, etc. I think this book was wonderful because we know Angel did a bad thing. But, it takes you deeper into the murderer to figure out what was really going on with him. And, at the end we found out he was compassionate, human, and he cared.
Reception: Book trailer I found a book trailer for this on youtube. It was pretty good if you want to check it out.
Book review In here it does emphasize that there in a significant amount of violence. This is a great place to go if you want to look up a book and see the ratings and opinions of the novel. If you read down a little bit there are teens who comment as well on the book. Keiabelle who is 14 years old says that she loved the book. She said she cried throughout the entire book as well because it made her think a lot. She stressed the difference between good and evil as well. And, are killer’s sometimes maybe misunderstood? This is what I was talking about earlier- about criminals being labeled wrongly.
Book review 2 I loved this article because the reviewer made a valiant point. They said that Anne- Laure Bondoux has a way with her words. The reviewer compares her to a crafts-worker with a needle joining fabrics. I think an excellent example of this is on page 141 of the book. She says, “..authorities destroyed the shaky happiness…” I think this is an excellent example of how Anne-Laure Bondoux can craft her words so artistically. This was only one of a multitude of examples found in the book.