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"The Events of October": Murder-Suicide on a Small Campus

Painted Turtle Series, Wayne State University Press, 2010.

On a Sunday night during Homecoming weekend in 1999, Neenef Odah lured his ex-girlfriend, Maggie Wardle, to his dorm room at Kalamazoo College and killed her at close range with a shotgun before killing himself. In the wake of this tragedy, the community of the small, idyllic liberal arts college struggled to characterize the incident, which was even called “the events of October” in a campus memo. In this engaging and intimate examination of Maggie and Neenef’s deaths, author and Kalamazoo College professor Gail Griffin attempts to answer the lingering question of “how could this happen?” to two seemingly normal students on such a close-knit campus.

Reviews

“With respect for the two lives lost, but with a message to society at large, Griffin explains that this is much more than a story of a nice young man who just snapped one day after his girlfriend called off the relationship. Read it and talk about it.”

--Kalamazoo Gazette

‘The Events of October’ powerfully accomplishes what the media fails to do in the wake of violence on college campuses: lends meaning to actions that would otherwise remain inscrutable. Griffin’s book is a compelling personal reaction to a tragic event, which is supplemented with research and interviews. The result is a comprehensive and rigorous exploration of violence against women. Ezra Pound once noted that ‘literature is news that stays news.’ ‘The Events of October’ embodies exactly that kind of staying power.”

--Sue William Silverman, author of Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir

“Griffin's astute analysis of a 1999 murder and suicide on the Kalamazoo College campus probes the links between intimate violence and larger cultural patterns, offering educators, students, and parents a map for change. Vital and disturbing, ‘The Events of October’ unpacks the devastating implications of the narratives we still tell ourselves about gender, love, and power.”

--Joy Castro, author of The Truth Book:  A Memoir

 
  © 2014 Gail Griffin.   All rights reserved.   Contact Gail by e-mailing gail@gailgriffin.org.