Her Alibi

Non-Fiction - True Crime
76 Pages
Reviewed on 09/28/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Essien Asian for Readers' Favorite

As a child, Mary could not figure out why her mother's behavior toward her tended to be either violent or angry. As she got older the relationship between them only got worse, so much so that she could not wait to get out of living under her mother's control. Her siblings were not immune and even her mother's partners bore their fair share of her vitriolic attacks. After she had moved out, got married, and started her own family, you would expect that Mary would be free of her mother's machinations. Then she received a call about her stepfather's death which coincided with her mother's strange late-hour visit. Could it be that her mother somehow found a way to rope Mary into her fiendish scheme? One so unbelievable it could involve murder? Find out in Her Alibi by Mary L. Schmidt.

Mary L. Schmidt tells a compelling story in her book. Her accounts are detailed and graphic, leaving precious little to the imagination. She explains her family history thoroughly, making it easier to understand her story. It is difficult to believe that some of the events transpired in the way she recorded them, but the way the details come together in the latter stages gives the reader ample opportunity to draw conclusions as to the mental state of Mary's mother and her capabilities. Her Alibi is another example of where reality trumps fiction and Schmidt must be commended for finding the courage to pen this book.

Astrid Iustulin

Stories of abuse and domestic violence always shock you when you read them. This happens to anyone who reads Mary L. Schmidt's book, Her Alibi. Here, the author tells the story of her family, focusing in particular on the abuses of her mother, Marguerite, who had always treated her as a scapegoat. After divorcing her husband, Marguerite marries Harold (she will marry him three times, to be exact) and is most likely responsible for his death. Is it possible she used her daughter as an alibi? And how will relations between Marguerite and her children develop?

Her Alibi tells a disturbing story of an abusive mother and the consequences her mental condition and behavior have on her family and children, especially the daughter she treats as scapegoats. Mary L. Schmidt tells us this story in a way that clearly depicts the world of abuse that characterized her childhood and gives the reader a precise understanding of what she and her siblings went through. Marguerite is represented in such a way that her personality deeply impresses the reader, especially considering what she may have done to Harold and his daughter, the alibi. I appreciated that Schmidt included many photos of her family because this makes you know the people she describes and makes you even more sympathetic to what they have experienced. Her Alibi is not a book for the faint of heart, and I recommend it to readers who have the courage to read it, to match the courage the author had in writing it.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

Her Alibi is a memoir about a woman who was used as her mother’s alibi on the night her stepfather may have tried to kill himself. Mary L Schmidt opens the story by explaining her feelings about the night in question, and her concerns that her mother, Marguerite, attempted to dispose of her stepfather. The story moves to the past, and it details the abuse the author suffered as she grew up. Schmidt explains her mother’s behavior by illustrating instances of narcissism and notes of an undiagnosed mental illness. The short reprieves she has from her mother’s fits of rage were when her grandmother, Cordie, visited for an extended period around the birth of a new sibling. The book touches on the possibility that her mother orchestrated her stepfather’s death and records her reaction to it. In addition, the story breaks down Marguerite’s final weeks.

Even though I know that abuse exists, it’s always hard for me to read about it. Every hurtful event cataloged in the book seems to only scratch the surface of what Mary L Schmidt had to endure. Throughout the story, there were some positive notes from Schmidt that spoke of her ability to move past her tumultuous upbringing. She could have continued the sad cycle, but the author chose to raise her children differently, even though her mother did not provide her with a loving example. I recommend Her Alibi to readers who have experienced childhood trauma as it may help them feel validated and less alone.