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Posted in: Feminism, Gender, Psychology & Law

Published on Dec 07, 2020 by James A. Cox and Diane C. Donovan

Published by Midwest Book Review


The Criminology Shelf

Requiem for a Female Serial Killer
Phyllis Chesler
World Encounter Institute
c/o New English Review Press
9781943003426, $29.99, HC, 250pp


Synopsis: "Requiem for a Female Serial Killer" by Phyllis Chesler (Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York) is a true crime psychological thriller takes us inside the mind of a unique female serial killer, a prostitute who murdered seven adult men in a case with which the author was intimately involved. The issues raised by this high-profile criminal case remain unresolved to this day.

Women, even prostitutes, have the right to self-defense in theory, but in practice, the story is more complicated. "Requiem for a Female Serial Killer" will challenge everything you ever thought about prostitutes, serial killers, and justice in America.

Aileen Wuornos is a damaged soul, a genuine American outlaw, a symbol of women's rage, a symbol of what can happen to severely abused children, and of how our justice system fails women.

Professor Chesler's involvement with a serial killer has haunted her ever since. She speaks in Aileen Wuornos' voice, as well as in her own, and delivers an incisive, original, and dramatic portrait of a cognitively impaired, traumatized, and alcoholic woman who had endured so much pain in her short life. When she'd had enough, the results were deadly.

"Requiem for a Female Serial Killer" is a poignant, sometimes humorous, never-before-told behind-the-scenes tale. Wuornos' story is handled with great sensitivity, but also with realistic detachment by Professor Chesler as she probes the telling moment, the telling phrase. Was Wuornos suffering from post-traumatic stress after a life lived on a "killing field?" Was she also "born evil?" So many prostitutes have been torture-murdered by serial killers - how did Wuornos, once prey, become a predator?

Critique: A impressively seminal contribution to community, college, and university library Criminology collections, "Requiem for a Female Serial Killer" is an extraordinary story and one that will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of criminology students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Requiem for a Female Serial Killer" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781943003433, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

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