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To the Bridge: A True Story of Motherhood and Murder

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3.49  ·  Rating details ·  414 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews

The case was closed, but for journalist Nancy Rommelmann, the mystery remained: What made a mother want to murder her own children?

On May 23, 2009, Amanda Stott-Smith drove to the middle of the Sellwood Bridge in Portland, Oregon, and dropped her two children into the Willamette River. Forty minutes later, rescuers found the body of four-year-old Eldon. Miraculously, his

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Kindle Edition, First Edition, 303 pages
Expected publication: July 1st 2018 by Little A
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  • To the Bridge by Nancy Rommelmann
    To the Bridge: A True Story of Motherhood and Murder
    by
    Release date: Jul 01, 2018
    The case was closed, but for journalist Nancy Rommelmann, the mystery remained: What made a mother want to murder her own children?

    On May 23, 2009, Am
    ...more

    Format: Kindle book

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    Availability: 100 copies available, 1093 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Jun 03 - Jun 30, 2018

    Countries available: US

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    Community Reviews

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    Amy's Book Reviews
    Jun 02, 2018 rated it liked it
    **Mild spoilers since it’s a true story and the outcome is public knowledge.**

    Seven-year-old Trinity and her three-year-old brother Eldon’s mother Amanda threw them off a ninety-foot bridge. Trinity’s cries alerted near by residents who rescued her. Eldon did not survive. Amanda later plead guilty to aggravated murder and aggravated attempted murder to avoid the death penalty.

    Journalist Nancy Rommelmann attempts to deconstruct what caused Amanda to kill gathering information from Amanda and her
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    The Just-About-Cocky Ms M
    I rarely read “true crime” because so often the stories end up as cheesy Lifetime movies or Hollywood clunkers starring Harrison Ford in a moment of lèse majesté. The other problem I found in the few I sampled was the overt sensationalism from first to last, reminiscent of the National Enquirer headlines.

    But that was then, and now I decided to try true crime again. I admit I had no particular interest in discovering why the subject of this tale killed her children, or approached the topic with a
    ...more
    Heather John
    May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    TO THE BRIDGE is stunning in its compassion and unrelenting reporting of what led Amanda Stott-Smith to drop her two young children from the Sellwood Bridge, killing her four-year-old son and seriously injuring her daughter, who miraculously survived.

    I noticed that author Nick Flynn blurbs TO THE BRIDGE, placing the work alongside two highly impactful books, “In Cold Blood” and “Executioner’s Song.” The Mailer is remarkable in its toxic masculinity but also in the access he had to show a life,
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    Lynda Kelly
    Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: favorites, true-crime
    This was my Kindle First (or whatever they call it these days) choice for June. It's not often a true-crime book makes that list so I was delighted. I made a great choice. It's a fascinating tale and not one I'd heard of before. Many other cases that are similar were alluded to but I knew of them. (As an aside, I was pleased to see Mikal Gilmore referenced as I never see anyone mention his great book).
    It's rare I feel a jot of sympathy for the criminal in any case but I did feel pretty sorry for
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    Susan
    Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
    Well Written

    The author did a good job telling this story. Sometimes true crime stories can get a bit boring with transcripts and trial testimony. This book flowed nicely.

    Unfortunately, this is a sad story about so many messed up people.

    Amanda is where she deserves to be "prison". I do believe she has some form of mental illness but she knew right from wrong. Not like in the case of Yates, who is severely mentally ill.

    The thing that really makes me mad is that Jason was not held responsible fo
    ...more
    Lisa Davis
    Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    I think the problem with true crime is often that reality just can't compare with fantasy. Stories don't come together neatly, as they do in fiction. The endings aren't what we want. There is often a sense of lingering unfulfillment, and questions that are never answered. I have read most of Amazon's First Reads true crime novels, and none have ever gripped me so much as this one. The story that was slowly revealed was profoundly disturbing, shocking, and not at all what I expected. So many lies ...more
    Marion
    Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
    Waste of Ink & Paper

    There's not much in this book you can't find doing some Googling on the Internet. Heavy on reruns of already published information and devoid of anything new except for the author's opinions and a few quotes from the son of the murderer at the very end of the book. She pretty much glides right on past the two central issues of the story: domestic violence and related meth/drug abuse.

    I've read true crime books for over 30 years, and this was the most mediocre book in the g
    ...more
    Susan
    Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    Riveting Reading

    A psychological analysis of an incomprehensible crime. This book seeks to go beyond the superficial knee jerk reaction to find the answer to "why".
    Byethebays
    Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    To the Bridge attempts to answer that we all have about mothers that kill their children. Why? How could a mother do this unfathomable act?
    I think the majority of us accept that the mother must be insane to do that but still questions linger. Where was the dad, her family, her friends? Could anyone have seen this coming? Could anyone have stopped this from happening?
    Nancy Rommelmann presents a compelling case that there was plenty of warning signs that this family was barreling towards tragedy.
    ...more
    Monica
    Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
    This is not my type of story at all but it was a kindle first read and I needed to read a book for my reading on true crime so I gave it a try. This book is short but it was not easy to get through. First of all it just made me sad that people like this exist in the world. Amanda had many problems and had an abusive husband but this in no way excuses what she did. Especially in this day an age when their is so much support and so much recognition of mental health issues. It made me sad for the k ...more
    Jeanine
    Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
    It's easy to avoid books, news, and stories about bad things happening to children, particularly when their mother is the culprit, but Nancy Rommelmann decided it was time to dig in and make an effort to really understand why something like this happens.

    And while we will never truly understand, I do think Rommelmann was able to construct a pretty good narrative as to how a mother might one night decided to throw her two children off the side of a bridge, into the cold, black water.

    In my 40 year
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    Jennifer
    Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
    This was a book I got for free as part of Amazon Prime's "free book" of the month. (I think this program is called Kindle First.) These books can be hit and miss. Sometimes you get a real gem, but often the books aren't so good. Unfortunately, that was the case with this book.

    The book is about a case in Portland, Oregon where a mother dropped her two children off of a bridge in the middle of the night. One child survived ... the other drowned. The mother was arrested and ultimately put in jail f
    ...more
    JLOX
    Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
    Received from: June Amazon Prime First Reads
    Recommend for: true crime fans


    I have not heard of this case or book. I was appalled as most people would be at the crime. How could someone just throw their children off of a bridge and walk away, leaving them for dead? Of course, one thinks of notable cases such as Diane Downs convicted of shooting her "kids" and Susan Smith convicted of drowning her children. It does happen and probably more frequently than most of us are aware.

    I have read many read
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    Jean
    Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: true-crime
    Toxic Collusion Between Two Parents

    To the Bridge by Nancy Rommelmann is a true crime story of horrific proportions. No, it is not an iconic tale like Capote's In Cold Blood, which one can read over and over for its dramatic effects as well as for its terrible beauty. Rather, it is a very thorough collection of facts about a mother who threw two of her children off of a bridge in Oregon. It covers what happened after, and what led up to this dreadful occurence. The author ponders how we might und
    ...more
    Kit Donner
    Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
    Disjointed and Inconclusive

    The writing is disjointed and inconclusive, mostly because of the author's decision to tell the story in the order that she obtained the information. This was a reasonable choice in terms of clarifying the efforts involved in researching the book, and in convincing the reader that the researching was thorough and unbiased. In a simpler, more clear cut situation, with a skillful writer like the author, the author's conclusions would be clear and concise. Instead, like a
    ...more
    Moe's Book Blog
    To the Bridge by Nancy Rommelmann is a true crime novel or according to the author "reported non-fiction" with reconstructed true events.

    Journalist Nancy Rommelmann writes an interesting account of what took place on that fateful night on May 23, 2009 when Amanda Stott-Smith dropped her four and seven year old children from the Sellwood Bridge in Portland, Oregon. Amanda, battling depression and substance abuse, lived with her parents after her marriage to Jason fell apart. Amanda had a son from
    ...more
    Cari
    To the Bridge: A True Story of Motherhood and Murder was my Kindle First Read for June 2018.

    Nancy Rommelmann wrote this true crime book about Amanda Stott-Smith, a deeply troubled woman who threw her two small children off of a bridge into a swift, icy river in Portland, Oregon in 2009. Instead of simply focusing on the events of that tragic night and the ensuing trial and sentencing, Rommelmann went several years back into Amanda's history in order to paint a complete portrait of how a bubbly,
    ...more
    Robyn Stribling Augustine
    Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    Emotional Read - Spoiler

    I usually don't pick True Crime as my First Read pick of the month. I started this late last night and finished it early this morning. I couldn't put it down. As the writer described, the relationship between Amanda and Jason was so toxic. There was such a history of alcohol and drug abuse, emotional abuse, and violence in this relationship. Something bad was destined to happen if something didn't change. I'm happy to see that Gavin finally got to speak to Trinity. The mo
    ...more
    Kira
    Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    This took me quite a while, compared to my regular pace, to get through. I really had to pay attention, unpack, and absorb this true story, the details behind the horrific event. And I'm glad, because it was an excellent read.
    I'd only heard about this on the news when it happened, and never really read more about it. Amanda's story as recounted from various people throughout her life is heartbreaking and sad, but very much worth reading.
    I truly feel for her children who survived, and it must b
    ...more
    Michael
    Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
    Shelves: true-crime
    In college I took a class where we read books Are You There Alone?: The Unspeakable Crime of Andrea Yates, about Andrea Yates and The Killing of Bonnie Garland: A Question of Justice. I ate these books up. Psychology, abnormal psych, and true crime has always been an interest of mine.

    When this popped up as an Amazon Firsts option I knew I needed to read it. I had never heard this story and was also curious how a mother - let alone anyone - could throw two children off a bridge.

    For me, the book
    ...more
    Yvonne
    Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
    poorly written

    This book was written in 4, stages. It felt like it was told by four different people. Quite convoluted each stage giving the same story in a different way. Very difficult to determine what was fact, and what was imagination. Very little information gathered from people who had anything of valuable to provide from the police. None from investigators. I had a difficult time sorting out the animals from the humans. The liars from the make believers . Not one person was shown to be a
    ...more
    Gerald
    Jun 13, 2018 added it
    Shelves: sad-but-true
    The book describes a horrible event and numerous theories of what lead up to Amanda-Stott Smith driving to Sellwood Bridge in Portland, Oregon and dropping two of her young children 90+ feet into the Willamette River. It felt to me that portions of this book were paragraphs which were written, placed in a bag and withdrawn and placed into the narrative at random. I found myself on the side of the surviving family members wondering why the author needed to be scraping the scab off of this wound a ...more
    DS
    Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
    I read this book to see if True Crime books were my thing. Well, they're not or at least this one wasn't. Parts of were interesting, but it jumped around a lot and even though the chapters were dated, so you'd know where you were in the time, I was still confused. I spent a lot of time going back and forth trying to remember who people were. I will say I'd admired the authors passion for understanding why things like this still happen, but I still ended the book thinking..........we are never go ...more
    Carol
    Jun 06, 2018 rated it liked it
    Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
    Rommelmann is not solving a crime but trying to figure out why Stott-Smith killed one child and attempted to kill another by throwing them off the Sellwood Bridge in Oregon in the middle of the night. This was a compelling read, but would have read more smoothly and been less confusing if the book was put into chronological order. The author jumps around in time which is normally fine but I feel it takes away from this book and causes it to feel repetitive. Rommelmann explores the mental health ...more
    Nisha
    Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
    Shelves: 2018
    Every story has two sides and in between lies the truth. Amanda was punished for throwing her kids off the bridge but Jason had his part in it, through mental abuse.

    Three stars bc some of the facts were repeated in each of the three sections of the book. Felt like a waste to rehash what we already knew.
    Shelley Klaas
    Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
    Although the author stated in an interview that her intent was to “put the puzzle pieces together,” this is, in fact, one of the most disjointed works of non-fiction that I have ever read. Her intentions, although good,clearly did not match the outcome. My recommendation? If you’re interested in the case, do a little research yourself-don’t waste your time on this book.
    Tonya Nardi
    Jun 14, 2018 rated it liked it
    I'm not often reading "true crime" but this was suggested so I read it. The author's voice is heard throughout making it a more interesting journey than expected. There was some overlap in the writing (the same paragraphs appearing in the text in different places) which was a little jarring although I understand why it was done. It felt a little unsatisfying, but I'm not sure why.
    Sandie
    Jun 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
    I could not finish this book. It is a memoir of sorts...telling the story of a women who throws her children off an Oregon bridge...it was just too heavy for me and I found myself wondering how people decide to do this...could I do this? Who is it that goes into madness? It was just not uplifting...and I decided to cut my losses and stop reading about 30% into the book.
    Matthew
    Jun 05, 2018 rated it liked it
    A True Story

    An engaging read. I am not usually drawn to Non-Fiction accounts but something about this drew my attention. The writing was good enough to lead you through and the story itself is a disturbing drama. What really engaged me though was Rommelmann’s musings about the idea of truth- how each person has there own version according to what they need to exorcise.
    michael collins
    Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
    I wanted to like it

    The premise was intriguing. The writing is correct, yet seems too clinical and uninspired. There is limited drama or passion on the writer's part. Good non-fiction should read like fiction. I REALLY wanted to like this book. I was only able to get to 33% before I threw in the towel.
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    Nancy Rommelmann's most recent book, TO THE BRIDGE, a work of nonfiction about Amanda Stott-Smith, who dropped her two young children from a Portland bridge, will be published by Little A in July 2018

    Rommelmann writes for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the LA Weekly, among other publications

    She is the author of the novel THE BAD MOTHER (2011), THE QUEENS OF MONTAGUE STREET, a dig
    ...more
    More about Nancy Rommelmann

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    “we tinker with actuality in order to transform the tale told by an idiot into an orderly, self-serving narrative.” 0 likes
    “. While we might believe that pretty is as pretty does, on some level we want to see youth and beauty as signs of goodness, of innocence. The attractive woman is given a pass. The ugly one gets the chair.” 0 likes
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