Book Notes: Nancy Rommelmann’s To the Bridge

Imagine that a father threw his small children in the river to spite his ex-wife for leaving him and for winning custody. Would it occur to anybody to write a book blaming the ex-wife? Suggesting that she drove him to it because she nagged him to quit drinking and get a job and criticized his cooking? It doesn’t sound likely.

If roles are reversed, however, and it’s the wife who kills the kids to spite the husband, it is somehow perfectly ok to blame it on the nagging ex. It’s still impossible for way too many folks to accept that women have agency and can be vile shits of their own free will and not because some guy drove them to it.

Nancy Rommelmann wasted a crapload of time trying to construct a narrative of how Amanda Stott-Smith killed one of her children and almost killed another because she was a poor innocent victim of a nagging husband.

I don’t approve of nagging. I’m actually completely opposed to it. But no amount of marital bickering justifies murdering kids.

I have no idea why it’s so hard for some people to accept that there are women who do horrible things not because they are abused or made to do it but because they are bad, shitty people.

Another observation I have about the book is that these Stott-Smiths are not poor miserable bastards who grew up in a hut and never had a chance to find out how to take care of the basic aspects of civilized life. These are folks who inherit hundreds of thousands in stocks, have relatives who pay for their college and provide rent for years, etc. Yet they seem utterly unaware of small things like kids needing to be fed regularly or not throwing empty pizza boxes on the floor and leaving them there for months. It’s like they were not socialized into adulthood at all even though their parents are well-to-do, respectable, and not addicted.

It’s strange to see this degree of dysfunction (which eventually leads to drug addiction, alcoholism, and throwing kids into a river) in people who don’t come from any sort of hardship.

In short, it’s a creepy true crime book about creepy people written by a creepy author.

5 thoughts on “Book Notes: Nancy Rommelmann’s To the Bridge

  1. “It’s still impossible for way too many folks to accept that women have agency and can be vile shits of their own free will”

    My Occam’s razor explanation for this kind of crime is that she came to hate her kids and wanted to kill them and was looking for a plausible excuse, it it wasn’t her husband it would have been some invented motherhood malady that defense attorneys conjure out of thin air.

    “It’s like they were not socialized into adulthood at all”

    Parents that “can’t do too much” for their children produce broken dysfunctional adults, not all of them, but a higher percentage than among the general population. Children need to accept some degree of responsibility and experience some failure for them to mature into adults, parents that prevent that are not doing their kids any favors.

    But in the final analysis, she chose evil. Some people do and nothing will change them and that’s why we need prisons (for all the things wrong with the system).


        1. Oh yes. She’s just spacey. She’s well-meaning and she loved the boy. But sometimes she forgot to come home. For three days. He was covered in bruises but she just lost her temper. Etc.

          What’s really funny is that the author spends 300 pages proving that she didn’t kill the kids out of revenge on the husband and then at the end there are transcripts of her police interrogation where she explains, many times and very coldly, that yes, she wanted to hurt the husband so she threw them in the river. But Rommelmann is still unconvinced. She must have been dazed, confused, victimized, etc. The explanation that she’s simply a shit person never occurs.


          1. There’s also a mountain of evidence that she beat the “abusive husband” for years. She beat him. Yet she’s the victim. Rommelmann suggests that the husband gave himself black eyes to make her look bad. It gets comical.


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