Review of Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnston
Reading Bret Anthony Johnston’s Remember Me Like This brought me back to 2003, when kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart was released after eight months in captivity. I was teaching a course in journalism ethics and I asked my students to assess the media coverage, which included 24/7 speculation about why Smart hadn’t escaped earlier and what horrors she’d been subjected to. That led to a vigorous debate over the conflict between the right to privacy and the public’s right to know. I argued that in this case there was no right to know, only prurient interest and morbid curiosity. Not everyone agreed (and certainly not cable news). If only Anthony’s novel had been available then, it would have been assigned reading. It’s the perfect answer to media callousness.