Are You There Alone? by Suzanne O'Malley

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In the tradition of In Cold Blood, The Executioner's Song, and A Civil Action, Suzanne O'Malley exposes the human mystery of the most horrifying crime in recent history and the legal drama surrounding it.
As a journalist, Suzanne O'Malley began covering the murders of Noah, John, Paul, Luke, and Mary Yates hours after their mother, Andrea Yates, drowned them in their suburban Houston home in June 2001. Over twenty-four months, O'Malley interviewed or witnessed the sworn testimony of more than a hundred participants in this drama, including Yates herself; her husband, Rusty Yates; their families; attorneys; the personnel of the Harris County district attorney's and sheriff's offices; medical staff; friends; acquaintances; and expert witnesses.
O'Malley argues persuasively that under less extraordinary circumstances, a mentally ill woman would have been quietly offered a plea bargain and sent to an institution under court supervision. But on March 12, 2002, Andrea Yates was found guilty of the murders of three of her five children. She is currently serving a life sentence and will not be eligible for parole until 2041.
O'Malley's exclusive personal communications with Andrea Yates and her interviews with Rusty Yates allow her to offer fully realized portrayals of people at the center of this horrifying case.
In "Are You There Alone?" O'Malley makes a critical contribution to our understanding of mental health issues within the criminal justice system.

About Suzanne O'Malley

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Suzanne O'Malley's investigative reports on the Yates trial appeared in the New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; and on Dateline NBC. She has written for the New York Times Book Review, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar,, and Texas Monthly, and has been a producer and consultant for NBC and MSNBC. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. She lives in New York City and Houston. Visit
Published February 2, 2004 by Simon & Schuster. 432 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Crime. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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It ended with a life sentence for Yates, and in case anyone feels she got off lightly, the author reminds us that “a majority of women who kill their children kill themselves within five years.” Well-turned portrait of a ghastly situation in which everyone lost, and of the complex questions that ...

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Publishers Weekly

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Andrea Yates's horrific murders of her five small children—drowning them one by one in their bathtub—remains one of the most shocking crimes of recent years. In this overly detail

Jan 19 2004 | Read Full Review of Are You There Alone?

Book Reporter

For a simple reason: in addition to medical and court records, O’Malley interviewed Rusty more than thirty times, had 30,000 words of correspondence with Andrea and had unique access as well to Michael Woroniecki, a self-proclaimed prophet who was, for a time, spiritual adviser to Andrea and Rusty.

Jan 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Are You There Alone?

Bookmarks Magazine

O'Malley, an investigative reporter whose reports on Yates appeared in The New York Times Magazine and other publications, clarifies many misconceptions about Yates and her family.

Oct 29 2009 | Read Full Review of Are You There Alone?

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