19 November 2014

The Journals of Taylor Hart by Dan Andrews

 An extraordinary, disturbingly powerful collection of journals, The Journals of Taylor Hart is a collection of writings penned by a lonely, violent, and yet brilliant young man, spanning across more than four of his most formative years—culminating in the ultimate end of murder and slaughter on a university campus, giving the reader a once in a lifetime opportunity to glimpse into the mind of an individual capable of committing a mass school shooting.

On Monday, December 29th, 2008, Taylor Hart began writing his journals in spiral-bound notebooks. Obsessively, he recorded everything ranging from his thought provoking philosophical views down to beautiful short stories, even down to entries that could be described as nothing other than the products of raw emotion— insanity driven rants.

After four years of spiraling downward, Taylor’s maniacal and sociopathic progression collapses, concluding with his suicide in his university’s observatory and with the confiscation of his writings, but now, after some time, Dan Andrews has reacquired his former close friend’s unpublished journals. Published with all of Taylor’s originality intact, laced with timeless existential questions and violence, The Journals of Taylor Hart forces the reader to confront the question, “Who is the next person on the brink of committing the world’s next atrocity?”
I struggled with how to write a review for this book.  While it was disturbing to read as a parent, I valued the information that came from this it.  I was so intrigued I went on a search to find out more about this author and “Taylor Hart”.  Even the author said that he left it to the reader to determine the fact versus fiction angle in this book. I for one can see where the actual events might not have happen regarding a Taylor Hart but the story is far from fictional these days in society. 
The book is written in a journal form, appearing to be the inner workings and thinking of Taylor.  Even if I wanted to give you a synopsis of this book, it would be impossible.  The line of thinking was all over the map and you could see the progression into his mental illness that ultimately took him to the campus to kill others before he killed himself.  There were times I felt like this was such an intelligent young man, I would love to sit down and talk to him about life and how he views people.  I actually had moments I sat and pondered his views and thought that was a new insight that deserved to be investigated more.  Then we had entries that were strange and fragmented.  You could feel the tension and pain coming from this him, the constant wondering of why people are like they are.  I wanted to rush in and comfort him, let him know he was not alone in life. 
As we get closer to the end, the anger and resolve was clear.  Many times I thought to myself how no one would notice this change, how they could turn a blind eye to such clear negative emotions that is in their world.  I think over all Taylor taught me that he didn’t show this side of himself to the world, he kept it inside to allow it to fester and grow.  It is easy in society to ignore the quiet ones, to avoid the emotions that are uncomfortable.  I think we also have the mentality that school shootings can’t happen here, they happen in big cities or small towns, anywhere but where you are at. 
Now I have listed the benefits of this book, the knowledge and insight is valuable, I do have to state that I worried many times while reading this as to who it might inspire or was it respectful enough to those victims who have endured such a crime.  I don’t have the answer for that since I have been blessed to not experience either situation.  I would say read this with warning.  It might trigger some deep emotions in you; it might also remind you of someone in your current life.  Either way, it brought me to a place of semi understanding for the young people who take this route in life.  I am in no way condoning or making excuses for these crimes.  They are horrible and devastating, but we can’t turn away without trying to understand in hopes that we can prevent this occurring again.  
Dan Andrews was born in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, where he spent much of his childhood. He passionately pursued the art of coaching human movement, kinesiology, at Northern Illinois University. He had begun writing seriously, though, during his junior year of high school, but his talent did not blossom into a disease until his sophomore year of college, when it metastasized with the idea for his first book "Sons of Suicide."

Since then his condition has only grown worse with the publication of his second, largely overlooked, book "The Journals of Taylor Hart: Inside the Mind of a School Shooter"

He has since naively attempted to follow in the footsteps of the great Ernest Hemingway by moving to Florida, unable and unwilling to give up on trying to write the greatest books of all time.

His dire condition has brought him to precipice of madness, now working on an instructional guide on "How to Buy Drugs Safely and Anonymously" due for release in Fall 2014.


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