Son of a Gun by Justin St. Germain

son of a gun justin st. germain book review

Son of a Gun: A Memoir by Justin St. Germain
Publisher: Random House
Source: Publisher (via TLC Book Tours)

In September 2001, twenty year-old Justin St. Germain receives news that his mother has been shot and killed in her Tombstone, Arizona trailer. Though evidence and witnesses are scarce, it appears that Debbie St. Germain’s death came at the hands of her fifth husband, who quickly vanished, leaving behind Justin and his brother as the family’s remains.  


After relocating to San Francisco and starting a new life in the years following his mother’s murder, Justin soon realizes that he can’t simply wish away her death. He revisits Tombstone, where he recognizes that he knows more about Wyatt Earp and the tale that made the town famous than he does about his own mother. Working toward closure, St. Germain meets with men from his mother’s past and digs into case files, filling in pieces of the stories only half seen from the eyes of a child. 

“…sometimes I blame her, too – not Ray, but her – because she chose him in the first place. But what are the right choices? My mother married the first man she loved, had children, tried to make it work, to do what was expected. He left. After that she raised her kids. It cost her her youth, most of her dreams. It meant that when we were gone she had nobody else, nothing to do, nowhere to go. Men took everything from her, finally her life. Now men blame her for dying.” 

Filled with stark but powerful sentences, Son of a Gun is a memoir both haunting and captivating, tracing the journey from grief to acceptance with self-discovery in between.