October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard

By . 2 CDs. 1:20 hours. Brilliance Audio. 2012. ISBN: 978-1-4692-0636-3. $53.97.
Gr 9 Up—Matthew Shepard was a 21-year-old gay student attending the University of Wyoming in 1998 when he was beaten, tied up, and left to die. Less than a week after this horrendous hate crime, Newman was a keynote speaker at the University's National Coming Out Day. In the years that followed his murder, she continued to ponder the incident and pray for the young gay man whose life was cut short. In October Mourning (Candlewick, 2012), she offers 68 poems that form a kind of historical novel. Told from the perspectives of Shepard, his family, his attackers, his friends, his teachers, and others, the poems provide a gauzy outline of the incident and its aftermath. This tribute to Shepard will be best understood by those who are familiar with the crime because some of the poems are quite abstract or tangential to the main facts. For students studying the case in depth or anyone trying to understand senseless violence, Newman provides a path to peace and healing. With LGBT bullying and related suicides occurring at an alarming rate, this important book has a place in every school and public library.—Bernie Morrissey, The Harker School, San Jose, CA

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