Friday, August 21, 2009

Loving Natalee by Beth Holloway

Genre: True Crime
Copyright: 2007
Pages: 234
Book Source: Library borrow, recommended by Yvette from True Crime Book Reviews

In May of 2005, Beth Holloway received the worst phone call a parent can imagine. Her beautiful daughter, Natalee, had disappeared without a trace in Aruba during her high school senior class trip. Two years later, for the first time, Beth Holloway steps forward in this astonishingly candid and inspirational memoir to tell of her harrowing ordeal and her never-ending belief in the power of faith that gave her hope against all odds. Natalee's senior class picture was splashed across the front pages of the country's newspapers and on television. Desperate for a clue as to her daughter's whereabouts, Beth and an army of faithful volunteers searched tirelessly for the missing eighteen-year-old. In their pursuit of Natalee, they encountered many roadblocks. As the horror stretched out, Beth stood on her foundation of faith, which at times was all she had to give her strength against a barrage of unbearable questions with no answers. Natalee's disappearance remains unsolved and her location unknown to this day. Beth's search continues - book cover

I do remember seeing news of Natalee Holloway's disappearance but being in Australia it probably wasn't publicised to the degree that it was in the US. Beth's story is absolutely heartbreaking, I cried from the very first page but was also inspired by Beth's faith, the compassion of many Arubans, and the innate goodness of most people. I can relate to the grief of a child's death, having lost a daughter myself but cannot even begin to comprehend the anguish and torment Beth & her family have gone through and continue to go through with the nightmare of not knowing. Reading 'Loving Natalee' is difficult enough, I can't imagine living it and I hope I never have to.

This is the story no one should have to tell, about the nightmare no one wants to live, told by the parent no one wants to be. It's time to feel with the heart what the mind is incapable of comprehending.

Not only did I shed quite a few tears throughout the book but I also found myself shaking with anger. The apathetic approach by Aruban officials, the lost evidence, missing statements, the wicked attitude of those 'in authority' in Aruba, the lies and corruption was just staggering and I was horrified at how much needless pain was contributed to an already unbearable loss. Can you imagine being faced with this from an officer while frantically waiting to give a statement about your missing daughter "I'll have to eat my frosted flakes first ... "and get a shave before I can deal with you." US officials & the FBI were on-site waiting for an invite from the Aruban government to assist in the investigation. When no invite was forthcoming the United States was left helpless to provide any official assistance to the so-called investigation or to the Holloways. This book certainly stripped away any naive ideas I had about the support which might be expected in an emergency when you are a foreigner in a country with an entirely different legal system and a corrupt government.

Loving Natalee is a raw, honest, coherent & courageous account. My heart goes out to Beth Holloway and her family and the many others in similar situations. Beth Holloway tours the United States presenting the 'Safe Travels' Student Safety Awareness message to high schools and colleges. She is spearheading the campaign to strengthen travel safety & establish a website for The International Safe Travels Foundation. 

This month on The Eclectic Reader you could win Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong OR The White Queen by Philippa Gregory OR Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink. Check this blog post for details. International entrants welcome.


  1. Great review Sheree, but not a book for me!

  2. I agree with Alaine, the review was great but I just know that this book isn't for me.

    I hope Beth and her family can get some answers one day!

  3. This is a wonderful tribute to Beth Holloway,this book and her campaign to increase awareness of the dangers in travelling abroad.This case keeps on coming up in the news as the "suspect" keeps on mouthing off to all and sundry.The investigations start again and then somehow this same investigation just dwindles to nothing,over and over again.

  4. In the US, there was a lot of press that seemed to point at Natalee, saying she was responsible for going missing because she was flirtatious and stuff, disobeying rules, etc. I don't really agree with this mentality. It would be interesting to read this, but also to read the perspective of someone outside the family, to get two points of view.

  5. This is so sad and scary. I don't think I would be able to read this book, I would just cry so much.

  6. I've been wanting to read this book. It sounds like a sad and difficult read, but I want to know more about Natalee and her disappearance. Great review!

  7. Great review! Love Yvette's reviews at the True Crime Book Reviews too!

  8. Great review! I have an award for you on my blog

  9. Ohh! This is so sad and scary! I would never be able to live through it!

  10. What a fantastic review of this book. I've read/heard a lot of stuff about this case and it's amazing to me that they've never found her. My heart literally breaks for these parents. I couldn't imagine losing my child. Most especially never finding them and not having any closure would probably make me certifiably insane.

  11. Great review, I wasn't even aware this book was out there...

    By the way, I have an award for you.

  12. Poor Natalie. We were in Aruba the week after she went missing and there were signs everywhere.

    I saw the movie on Lifetime about her case.

  13. It was a difficult read but not all horrible, it was also inspirational & a real eye-opener for me on travelling to a country opposite to your own, legally & politically.

    Amanda ~ you may like to check out Yvette's blog, True Crime Reviews. I think she has read everything available on Natalee's disappearance so I do believe her views are formed after reading widely from different sources.

  14. I just can't bring myself to read this one yet.

    My heart goes out to Beth. I just wish Natalee's body would be found for closure for this poor family.


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