DEAR DAWN: Aileen Wuornos
in Her Own Words
Aileen Wuornos, the “hitchhiking hooker” and “first female serial killer” who killed 7 men was an outlaw, a sometimes feminist vigilante heroine, and cautionary tale. Her captivating story has inspired myriad books and articles, as well as the 2003 movie Monster, for which Charlize Theron won an Academy Award. Reviled and revered in equal measure, Wuornos has become iconic of vengeful women lashing out at those who have hurt them, as well as a touchstone for women’s, sex workers’, and prisoners’ rights.
A runaway at 13, Aileen Wuornos slept in abandoned cars in the Michigan winter after being kicked out of an abusive and alcoholic home. She survived by using her only resources – her mind, her body, and occasional charity.
Between 1989 and 1990, Aileen Wuornos shot and killed seven men in remote Florida locations. Arrested in 1991, Wuornos insisted she had acted in self-defense, but the jury had little sympathy. Condemned to death on six separate counts, she was executed by lethal injection in 2002.
Dear Dawn is Wuornos’s autobiography culled from her ten-year death row correspondence with beloved childhood friend Dawn Botkins. Authorized for publication by Wuornos and edited under the guidance of Botkins, the letters not only offer Wuornos’s riveting reflections on the murders, legal battles, and media coverage, but go further, revealing her fears and obsessions, her rich humor and empathy, and her gradual disintegration as her execution approached. A candid life story told to a trusted friend, Dear Dawn is a compelling narrative, unwaveringly true to its source.
Aileen Wuornos’s letters to her closest friend are poignant and haunting, and show us that as destructive and devastating as true crime is, there may be nothing as powerful or redemptive as true love.
July 10, 2012 | Paper | $16.95 | 978-1-59376-290-2 | 352 pages
Soft Skull Press, an imprint of Counterpoint| www.softskull.com
Distributed by Publishers Group West