The Boy

The Boy In Ray and Daisy Cook and their five children were brutally slain in their modest home in the central Alberta town of Stettler Robert Raymond Cook Ray Cook s son from his first marriage was con

  • Title: The Boy
  • Author: Betty Jane Hegerat
  • ISBN: 9780889822757
  • Page: 407
  • Format: Paperback
  • In 1959 Ray and Daisy Cook and their five children were brutally slain in their modest home in the central Alberta town of Stettler Robert Raymond Cook, Ray Cook s son from his first marriage, was convicted of the crime, and had the infamy of becoming the last man hanged in Alberta Forty six years later, a troublesome character named Louise in a story that Betty Jane HegIn 1959 Ray and Daisy Cook and their five children were brutally slain in their modest home in the central Alberta town of Stettler Robert Raymond Cook, Ray Cook s son from his first marriage, was convicted of the crime, and had the infamy of becoming the last man hanged in Alberta Forty six years later, a troublesome character named Louise in a story that Betty Jane Hegerat finds herself inexplicably reluctant to write, becomes entangled in the childhood memory of hearing about that gruesome mass murder Through four years of obsessively tracking the demise of the Cook family, and dancing around the fate of the fictional family, the problem that will not go away is how to bring the story to the page A work of non fiction about the Cooks and their infamous son, or a novel about Louise and her problem stepson Both stories keep coming back to the boy Part memoir, part investigation, part novella, part writer s journal, The Boy, is the author s final capitulation to telling the story with all of the troublesome questions unanswered.

    One thought on “The Boy”

    1. Betty Jane is coming to our book club meeting tonight and I am SO pumped.When our book club suggested this book and I discovered the author was a small town author I figured it would be a 'blah' book. Serves me right for assuming and placing a stereotype on the book, because the story and writing was fantastic.Betty Jane splices nonfiction and fiction together in a compelling way. The nonfiction side is herself, a writer, researching the story of the last man hanged in Alberta--Robert Raymond Co [...]

    2. Not what I would usually be drawn to - a bit gruesome (about Robert Raymond Cook, the last man hanged in Alberta - for murdering his father, stepmother and their 5 children - he maintained his innocence to the end), but couldn't stop reading after I started. A fascinating mix of fiction, non-fiction, and writing memoir all rolled into one. I've never come across anything quite like it - Hegerat takes you along on her research trips and lets you look in on her thinking process as she tries to cap [...]

    3. I was at a gathering of writers last night when a man walked by. He was waving a book and asking excitedly if anyone else had read it. This guy was practically popping out of his skin he was so eager to tell us about the book. It is unique, he said. It blends a real story with a fictional story and the process of writing too. She's not like other writers, he said of the author. She's a revolutionary. The book he held in his hand was The Boy and everything he said about it is true. It is a though [...]

    4. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It was unorthodox in its approach to telling a story but it worked. Three stories within a story - each one relying on the other while being separate. Having spent time in all the places the author traveled - I went on the road with her. I worried about Louise and I was fascinated by the Robert Raymond Cook story. Well done.

    5. It's been a long time since I've read such an intimate account of the author's process in obsessing over a story. The Boy is a skilful mix of truths, both fact and fiction.

    6. Okay so:Betty Jean Hegerat, the author of this book, started to write a fiction book about a single schoolteacher in Calgary who marries a man with a twelve year old son who is a bit of a handful. As she writes, she remembers a shocking true-life family murder from her childhood in rural Canada - the murder, in fact, of a stepfamily by a disgruntled son. This book, The Boy, captures Hegerat's own exploration of her interest in that real-life tragedy, as well as her incorporation of the story int [...]

    7. Betty Jane Hegerat: The number of blended families in our society continues to grow, and I've known many, but I've never consciously explored that theme. When I started writing The Boy, I believed it would be a short piece of fiction about a character named Louise. I knew she would be drawn into a relationship with a man somewhat older than herself, and that the man would have a son who Louise suspected would be a problem. When I recalled the Cook murder case, however, I understood why I had suc [...]

    8. This book caught my eye at the library and although I've never read books about murder, I decided I'd start with this one. I have to say it was not how I was expecting it to be, however it was still really good! I found it really interesting learning about the "Cook family murders" and after finishing this book, found I wanted to learn more.(there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of information online, which quite surprised me)I was kind of skeptical in the beginning, as I have never read a book t [...]

    9. Brilliant book. I was given this book as a present and had no idea what to expect. Once I started to read it I was unable to put it down. I never know this awful crime had occurred in my province and was a great insight into history on this awful family murder. While the author is giving insight into the Cook family murder she was also writing a fiction story on a troubled boy who becomes a troubled young man. After reading this book I defiantly want to read the book by Jack Pecover.

    10. I read this book a couple of weeks ago and could not put it down--it's a fascinating mix of fiction and nonficiton! Please see my review of it, along with a very interesting interview with the author on my website: Review of The Boy by Betty Jane Hegerat.

    11. Wonderful true crime creative nonfiction book that weaves in some fiction as well. I loved the approach and the deep self-reflection Hegerat demonstrated as she wrestled with her interest in this macabre subject and the ultimate unknowability of people's motives, souls, and the 'truth'. Highly recommend this book for readers and teachers of the creative nonfiction genre.

    12. This is such an interesting weaving of fact and fiction, truth and supposition, knowing and wondering. In many ways, The Boy is a simple book, and most of these are the very reason it is so complicated. Hegerat held my attention in a way I did not expect, as I suppose this story, in fact these STORIES, will for quite some time.

    13. I love this book!Hegerat does a good job blending an historical incident (the hanging of a young man for the killing of his family) with a contemporary story-line (about another blended family with a troubled child.) Well written. The places and culture of Western Canada, particularly Alberta, are well represented.

    14. I had to create a new bookshelf for this book: multiple genres. I've never read a book like it. Fiction meets memoir meets historical nonfiction meets literary journalism meets writing guide. Brilliant. Loved it.

    15. I really found the author's method of writing this book very interesting. She was writing a fictional story which she intertwined with research she did on an actual murder case. It kept me reading to see how her research would work and how it would affect her fictional characters' lives.

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