The Babysitter: My Summers With a Serial Killer by Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan
This was a unique, true crime book with two alternating, parallel storylines. Told memoir-style, one story is about Liza Rodman’s childhood growing up in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She was a neglected child whose mother worked at various hotels and left both Liza and her sister in the care of strangers and other acquaintances so she could go out dancing and bar-hopping. One of those strangers just happened to be Tony Costa, a hotel handyman who was also a grisly serial killer. As Liza relates her time with Tony, one of few people who treated her kindly, she also tries to understand why the man she remembers as a friend didn’t make her one of his victims. The other storyline tells of Tony’s troubled childhood marred by sexual abuse and drug addiction eventually leading to a litany of crimes against women, including the gruesome murders he committed throughout the 1960s. I found the dual chapters a fascinating study on the complexity of how a serial killer’s mind works. Tony shows Liza a gentle, humanized version of himself filled with small kindnesses like popsicles and rides in his truck. Was he grooming her or was this the other side of Tony, separate from his cruel, depraved existence? As an adult, Liza grapples with this knowledge and the man she knew versus the one in the news who committed atrocities she never would have dreamed him capable of. I’m a sucker for a serial killer book, and the format of this was one-of-a-kind. Crime fans come running!
Travel All the Pages is inspired by my two loves - travel and reading, a combo I can't resist. Enjoy these little pairings.