Joyce Maynard

Internal Combustion

On Mothers Day night, 2004, award-winning fourth grade teacher Nancy Seaman left the Tudor home she shared with her husband of thirty two years in the gated community of Farmington Hills, near Detroit, Michigan, and drove in a driving rain storm to Home Depot, to purchase a hatchet.  Three days later, police discovered the mutilated body of Bob Seamana successful auto industry engineer, softball coach and passionate collector of vintage Mustangsin the back of the familys Ford Explorer.  As the shackles were placed on her wrists, Nancy Seaman asserted that her husband had been beating her, and shed  killed him in self-defense. At her trial, two radically different stories emerged.  One of the couples sons, Greg, testified that his father had been abusing his mother for years.  The other, Jeff, testified for the prosecution, charging his mother as a cold blooded killer.   Joyce Maynards chilling work delves beyond the events of the crime itself, to explore the lives of an American family who seemed to have everything.  Her exploration of the story led to a years research in suburban Detroitbut the story she found there will take the reader to the Depression-era farm country of Illinois, the working class neighborhoods of the auto industry in its heyday and even, surprisingly, to a Baptist church in burned-out downtown Detroit. Along the way we meet a Transylvanian forensic pathologist, a beautiful young prosecutor, an old-school police chief, a television news crew hungry for ratings, the softball scorekeeper mom accused of carrying on an affair with the murdered man, and her two shell  shocked teenagers, still reeling from the death of their beloved coach, and a mother who has to tell her daughter why her favorite teacher wont be in school any more. As in Joyce Maynards previous books including To Die For, based on a true crime, and her best selling memoir, At Home in the World Joyce Maynards themes here involve family secrets, the deep fissures that lie below the surface of the glittering exteriors, and the deep, potentially fatal, fissures in the American Dream.
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