Always in Our Hearts: The Story of Amy Grossberg, Brian Peterson, and the Baby They Didn't Want

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9780965473354: Always in Our Hearts: The Story of Amy Grossberg, Brian Peterson, and the Baby They Didn't Want

Book by Most, Doug

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Review:

A true-crime page-turner about the privileged New Jersey teens who made headlines after callously discarding the baby they never wanted into the trash bin of the hotel where they secretly gave birth.

Amy Grossberg and Brian Peterson seemingly had it all: privileged northern New Jersey suburban upbringing, successful senior years, a competitive education. Notably lacking in that curriculum was a good sex education class, though, because, as Most relates, when Amy discovered she was pregnant at the end of her senior year, she and Brian spent most of the first trimester-indeed, most of the pregnancy-hoping "it" would simply disappear. The method they finally chose in November of their freshmen year in college shocked a nation used to reading this kind of sordid tale in urban (read poverty-stricken, less educated) environs. Bergen Record reporter Most, who wrote over 150 articles as the case unfolded, expertly recreates the shameful story here, tracing both teens' childhoods, the mindset of the tony town in which they lived, and the many ways in which their parents, friends, and, yes, society were unwitting accomplices in the death. Overall, Most lets the story tell itself, although he does get a little heavy-handed at times as he repeatedly notes the ways in which competitive parents helped create the situation. Most ends by noting that he hopes "parents with Amys and Brians in their homes will be forced to look in the mirror and ask themselves if they know their children. Not their grade-point averages, their after-school activities, and their career track, but their habits, their friends, their sexual maturity, and their experiences with drugs."

Anyone who believes sex education doesn't belong in the classroom or that parenting is merely a question of keeping track of their kids' grades should read this sad cautionary tale. -- Kirkus Review

Most's account of how two intelligent, affluent teenagers coldheartedly murdered their newborn baby proves riveting. On November 12, 1996, high-school sweethearts and college freshmen Amy Grossberg and Brian Peterson checked into a roadside Delaware motel under their own names. Sometime later, Amy gave birth to a six-pound baby boy. Brian took his child, placed it in a plastic garbage bag, and put the bag in an outside Dumpster, in which it was found the next day after an extensive police search. Whether the baby was born alive and what caused its extensive skull fractures will never be known, according to Most, who covered the explosive story for a local newspaper. Based on interviews and police case files released after both teens had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, this is an evenhanded report on the well-publicized case...Teens will be drawn to this examination of a horrific crime committed by two bright college students. -- Booklist-1/1/99

From Publishers Weekly:

Most takes a sensational news story that he covered for the Record, a New Jersey newspaper, and draws from it one fairly tired lesson: parents, especially suburban parents who think that their kids are fine, have to make sure that the lines of communication are open between themselves and their children. In 1996, two 18-year-old college freshmen, Amy Grossberg and Brian Peterson, made headlines after they checked into a Delaware motel where Grossberg subsequently delivered a baby boy whom Peterson wrapped in a plastic bag and threw in a Dumpster. Most recounts these events and the trial that followed in clear journalistic style, but his account suffers because he was unable to interview Grossberg, Peterson or any family members. He provides an interesting description of the upper-middle-class New Jersey suburb where the two lived and offers a few well-worn theories as to why they didn't tell their families about the pregnancy or seek help: wealthy parents give their children luxuries but don't teach them values; Peterson's parents were divorced; Grossberg was afraid of displeasing her mother. But Most's reliance on a court transcript of an interview with Grossberg's mother leads him to speculate excessively about her possible bad parenting while neglecting the three other parents involved and giving short shrift to the moral culpability of Grossberg and Peterson themselves. Illustrations not seen by PW. 25,000 first printing; first serial to New Jersey Monthly and Delaware Today; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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