Friday, January 13, 2017

A Daughter's Deadly Deception by Jeremy Grimaldi

This alliteratively titled book is about the Jennifer Pan case, where an outwardly 'perfect' daughter plotted to have her parents killed by hitmen. Luckily, they messed up, her dad survived and her plans were uncovered (and she was found guilty).

The first half of the book covers the aftermath of the crime, the investigation and the trial. The second half is an analysis of why Jennifer might have been pushed to falsify her high school results, university results and ultimately, plot to kill her parents after they found out part of the truth.

While a big part of the book hypothesises that Jennifer was driven to do what she did because of her strict Asian parents, I'm more inclined to agree with the psychologist that says that "Jennifer's behaviour is more consistent with that of a sociopath than someone who is suicidal, depressed, or struggling through the symptoms that lead to cutting" and her other behaviours.

The fact that she spent a significant stretch of time plotting to kill her parents and escape being caught basically tells me that this wasn't desperation, this was a premeditated act. She could have taken the ultimatum to leave her family, but she wanted the comforts of home without the rules that it had and decided that killing was the right choice.

I mean, I'm raised in an Asian home too (though my parents weren't as strict), so by all accounts, I should have been able to empathise and sympathise with her. But I couldn't because she was just so selfish. It really seemed like she thought the world revolved around her.

And while I found the analysis to be deeply interesting, I also find it weird that so much time was devoted to the parenting method (especially the Tiger Parents thing). If this was a non-Asian person, I think a lot more attention would be paid to "warning signs" rather than the way she was raised as a cause of her actions. Think about it: the Tiger Parenting method produces both successes and failures, like every other parenting method. So why is so much attention paid to this when it ordinarily isn't? Not to mention the fact that it wasn't a household entirely devoid of love - while her father may have found it difficult to express love, it seems like her mother did make the effort.

In conclusion, this is a well-written presentation of an extremely tragic case. I found the analysis interesting, though the emphasis on the 'Asian Parenting style' was a little odd to me (but only because I think more blame should be ascribed to Jennifer rather than her family).

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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