On September 5, 2015, in a public park in LaVergne, Tennessee, fourteen-year-old Sherokee Harriman drove a kitchen knife into her stomach as other teens watched in horror. Despite attempts to save her, the girl died, and the coroner ruled it a “suicide.” But was it? Or was it a crime perpetuated by other teens who had bullied her?
Sherokee’s short life and tragic death created a national media and social media frenzy much of it centered on sensationalism rather than the truth. Meanwhile in LaVergne, the community sought answers to questions about who, if anyone, should be held criminally responsible for “bullying.”
Award-winning author and criminologist Judith A. Yates peels back the layers of sensational news coverage surrounding a girl’s death, and in context with national interest in the phenomenon of internet bullying tries to answer the question of whether Sherokee Harriman was BULLIED TO DEATH.
This is a fact based account of the life and death of Sherokee Harriman, a 14 year old girl who lost her life far too soon. The question mark in the title would seem to be because nobody was charged in her death, it was not ruled that her death was a result of the bullying though it does seem to have been a factor. Much of the book was about her family life and did not really focus that much on bullying. Sherokee had a hard time at school and was picked on by her peers, but she also had a difficult home life, a dysfunctional family, had been molested, was diagnosed bi-polar and had threatened to kill herself on numerous occasions when she did not get her way. Nobody but Sherokee can ever really know for certain whether she meant to die that day, or whether this act was a cry for help that just never came. There is some mention of her having YouTube and other social media accounts, which made me want to check to see if any were still online. I did find some of her videos which are still there, though I wish I had not watched them because they left me feeling very sad for her. I'm just not sure what the author was going for here.
I received a complimentary copy for review.