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Review: Restless Souls

April 17, 2012

Most people are familiar with the Tate-LaBianca murders, committed by members of Charles Manson’s “family,” and know what happened to the victims and the killers.  In Restless Souls: The Sharon Tate Family’s Account of Stardom, The Manson Murders, and a Crusade for Justice, Alisa Statman and Brie Tate recount how three members of Tate’s family reacted in the aftermath of the horrific crime.

Sharon Tate’s father, PJ, was an Army intelligence officer and he wanted to find the killers immediately, threatening to kill them.  He was actually on the trail of Manson’s family before the police were.  Roman Polanski signed Sharon’s estate over to her father, so he was sued by the owner of the house.  He was also responsible for cleaning the crime scene.

Doris, Sharon’s mother, withdrew at first but, after a little while, became a victims’ right advocate.  She made it her life’s work to keep the killers behind bars.  She was tireless in her efforts and was able to make a difference.  Both Doris and PJ slept with a gun after the murders.

Sharon’s youngest sister, Patti, was eleven at the time and close to her sister.  Confused at first, she grew to resent the time her mother spent working for victims’ rights.  She eventually came around and followed in her mother’s footsteps.

I listened to the audio version of Restless Souls.  It’s told from the points of view of PJ, Doris, and Patti and is narrated by Eliza Foss, Gabra Zackman, and Therese Plummer and they all do an outstanding job.  I was absorbed right from the start.  Because of the subject matter, parts of this book are pretty graphic and gruesome and I cringed while I listened to those parts.  I was mortified for Sharon Tate’s family as they had to endure hearing all the rumors and seeing Sharon’s name dragged through the mud.  I was amazed at the family’s resilience – how could you possibly go on after a horrible, headline-making tragedy like that?

I’m not sure what it says about me, but I really enjoyed listening to Restless Souls.  I went through a period of reading tons of true crime books years ago and this brought me back to those days.  I did have two small quibbles with the book, though.  Sharon’s sister Debra was barely mentioned and I can’t help but wonder why.  Sharon was portrayed as almost saintly – I’m sure she was a great person, but I’m also sure she had her faults.  I would recommend this to readers who enjoy true crime and are interested in victims’ rights.

Review copy provided by Harper Collins.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
42 Comments leave one →
  1. sandynawrot permalink
    April 17, 2012 6:45 am

    I am a huge fan of true crime…I am fascinated with what makes people tick, not only the crazy ones but the ones who fight back and endure. I definitely want to get my hands on this one.

  2. April 17, 2012 6:46 am

    I look at Manson on the news lates since he is up for parole omce again, and think to myself that he looks even crazier now.

  3. Beth F permalink
    April 17, 2012 6:50 am

    ARGHHHHHH. WP just ate my long and thoughtful comment. Sigh.

    Ever since you first describe this book to me I’ve been wanting to read it. I remember the murders and how they shocked the nation. The Manson family was so creepy and scary.

    When you told me that the Tate’s had to clean the crime scene, my heart went out to them. I can’t imagine a more horrible task.

  4. April 17, 2012 8:43 am

    I don’t really read true crime books. I scare VERY easily. Seriously, I can’t watch CSI by myself or I won’t sleep. I’m glad that you really enjoyed this one.

  5. April 17, 2012 9:27 am

    Oh I’m actually really interested in this one, so whatever it says about you that you enjoyed it applies to me too 😉 Having been reading more about the prison industrial complex and alternatives to prison and the current justice system, I think it would be interesting to also read a book on victim’s rights!

  6. April 17, 2012 9:30 am

    I was so creeped out by that murder I don’t think I could read about it again!

  7. April 17, 2012 9:35 am

    I’ll never forget where I was and what my life was like when I heard about these horrendous crimes. Living not that far from the scenes of the crimes (including the other murders by the Manson Family), I was definitely drawn in to the books and movies. I’ve seen the Manson part in Helter Skelter, but now this book sounds like something I must read! Thanks for sharing.

  8. April 17, 2012 9:42 am

    The families of crime victims go through so much, especially when the crime is highly publicized. Glad to hear that Sharon’s family found strength and didn’t let the tragedy completely ruin their lives.

  9. April 17, 2012 9:54 am

    This hits home to me since I married a Labianca, who is related to the deceased. It was his uncle.
    Funny how the world focuses on Sharon when she wasn’t the only one murdered that night, she was just the celebrity. What about my husband’s uncle and their families? Does no one care who their family fared after this tragedy??? I have yet to see their perspective anywhere in books…
    Yet I digress, this would be something I would read regardless. Just like the mass populace I am intrigued by it all.
    Ironically Manson was just turned down again at his parole hearing that he did not attend. Coincidence? I think not.

    • Cathy permalink
      March 10, 2018 4:30 pm

      It wasn’t till the last ten years any of the LaBianca’s attended the parole hearings. Doris Tate and her daughter, Patti, worked on victims’ rights for years and attended even the killers of the LaBianca’s. Maybe that’s why you hear so much about Sharon Tate.

  10. April 17, 2012 9:54 am

    I will definitely have to read this one! I have a morbid fascination with the Manson family and have read tons of books on the murders.

  11. April 17, 2012 10:02 am

    I read Helter Skelter many years ago and wondered about the victims’ families lives after such a horrendous murder. I think I’ll read this one.

  12. April 17, 2012 10:06 am

    Sandy loves true crime novels, and I bet that she would eat this one up! It does sound like a really interesting read, and like something that would be very engrossing to listen to. I have not read a lot about the Manson murders, but I do know that they were intensely shocking and very strange. Great review today, my friend. I will be looking for this one!

  13. Stepping Out of the Page permalink
    April 17, 2012 10:23 am

    I think that this sounds really interesting, so I may try to pick it up at some point. Really great and thorough review. Thanks!

  14. April 17, 2012 11:31 am

    I just saw a show this weekend..maybe on the History Channel, I am not sure..about Manson and the Tate killings and I must say, there was a lot I did not know. Still so interesting. Evil and mad and interesting.

  15. April 17, 2012 12:02 pm

    A very scary person who should never get out of jail.

  16. April 17, 2012 2:01 pm

    The Manson case fascinates me too, and I don’t know what that says about me either! I’ve read Helter Skelter long ago but the family’s version of the events sounds interesting too. How horrifying that Sharon’s family had to clean up the murder scene.

  17. Patty permalink
    April 17, 2012 3:09 pm

    It sounds both intense and fascinating.

  18. April 17, 2012 4:02 pm

    How timely, since he was just up for parole. You know, your last post emphasized remembering the victims at Virginia Tech and not the killer. And, you are doing that again by telling us this story. I think that this is a really good perspective!

  19. boardinginmyforties permalink
    April 17, 2012 4:44 pm

    Well I am a true crime junkie so this one is right up my alley! I often think that we don’t hear enough about the families of the victim or victims after the crime is long forgotten. This book sounds like an answer to all of that.

  20. April 17, 2012 5:36 pm

    When I was much younger I read a lot of True Crime. I think I’d like this, and the audio sounds good. I wish my library system had a better audio selection. Drives me wild!

  21. April 17, 2012 6:15 pm

    I have to read this one. I haven’t heard of this incident but I just read up on it and it sounds terribly shocking! Looks like this will be a great audiobook.

  22. April 17, 2012 6:42 pm

    This would be a bit like watching America’s Most Wanted. You don’t really want to know about this stuff, yet it’s strangely compelling. Excellent review, Kathy!

  23. bookingmama permalink
    April 17, 2012 7:04 pm

    I love true crime books, even the gruesome ones; and I can’t even tell you how many books I’ve read about these murders. Sounds like a good one.

  24. Staci@LifeintheThumb permalink
    April 17, 2012 8:23 pm

    I watched a special about the murders and Sharon’s mother was a big part of it. I couldn’t imagine coming upon this horrific scene and then trying to deal and come to terms with the aftermath!

  25. April 17, 2012 9:43 pm

    this one does sound like a book i’d enjoy especially with victims advocacy as i’ve spent almost a lifetime working with child victims….the nightmare of this killing is beyond belief. thank you for suggesting this book!

  26. April 17, 2012 11:18 pm

    I’m picky about the true crime I read since I read so little of it. I was a little young for the Manson stuff so I’d probably find this interesting.

  27. April 17, 2012 11:19 pm

    Manson’s parole was all over the news the other night…and I confess I was surprised to hear he was still alive. His lawyer wanted him moved to a state hospital just up the road from me. I’m perfectly happy knowing he’s staying locked up in a prison a few counties away!

  28. April 18, 2012 12:16 am

    For whatever reason true crime has never really been my cup of tea, but one of my best friends can never get enough. I’ll have to make sure he knows about this one.

  29. April 18, 2012 2:53 am

    I don’t read a lot of true crime stories but I think I’d like this in audio. I read Helter Skelter ages ago but this sounds like a very different perspective.

  30. April 18, 2012 3:13 am

    I can’t say that it sounds like a book for me

  31. April 18, 2012 6:56 am

    I’m really not one for true crime but like Leslie (comment above mine) I read Helter Skelter when it was published. I think I’ve read enough about that case but I can see that the Tates’ perspective would be interesting.

  32. April 18, 2012 7:00 am

    Unfortunately, this is one crime story I do not want to read.

  33. April 18, 2012 10:54 am

    i love reading true crime novels, but i’m not sure if i’ll be able to get through this one.

  34. April 18, 2012 12:59 pm

    The father had to clean up his daughter’s crime scene??? How awful!!! I know this isn’t for me. True crime just gets to me.

  35. April 18, 2012 2:17 pm

    This does sound interesting, but I’m not big on true crime. This would be the perfect book for my mom, though!

  36. April 18, 2012 2:45 pm

    I saw the news report showing the youngest sister at Manson’s parole hearing last week. She was very good – self controlled, confident she was doing the right thing. My heart went out to her.

  37. April 19, 2012 8:33 am

    With the recent news about Charles Manson, this book is sure to garner a lot of attention! Interesting to have the many points of view (and it sounds like the audio narration was great), AND that you were left wondering/curious about the perspective of the sister who we didn’t hear from.
    When there’s a crime committed, there is much more than just the direct victim involved; victim goes thru families and community!

  38. April 19, 2012 10:44 am

    I think a lot of people are fascinated by stories such as this because we simply can’t believe that anyone can do anything so horrible to human beings. I still love true crime stories especially on tv – I haven’t read a lot of them lately. I’ll have to check this one out though – it sounds like one I’d like to read or listen to like you did. Listening sometimes makes things so much more real though.

  39. April 20, 2012 7:54 am

    I’ve never listened to true crime in audio, I’ve been wary about listening to the graphic parts since I know they’re actually real, but this sounds like a great production.

  40. April 20, 2012 7:09 pm

    This sounds like a very personal approach to The Manson Murders. Even though I don’t often read or listen to true crime books, this sounds interesting enough for me to keep in mind 🙂

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