In her first nonfiction book, Mary K Pershall examines the complex mental and institutional issues that led to the ‘unimaginable horror’ of her child taking another’s life
Mary Pershall dared to hope. Her daughter, Anna, had agreed to go to rehab, to tackle her dependence on alcohol, synthetic cannabis and ice. In return, Mary had put aside her scruples and driven to an adult store so that Anna could buy synthetic cannabis. It’s not an uncommon bargaining chip used by despairing parents. It would keep Anna’s withdrawals at bay until she was safely under medical supervision, but also – hopefully – secure her cooperation.
Not long after, Mary was chopping vegetables in their comfortable home in Oak Park, a northern suburb of Melbourne, when she spotted Anna walking briskly off down the driveway. She dropped the knife and ran after her.