Reeva Steenkamp died by gunshot in the apartment of her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius. Oscar was the one who pulled the trigger. The world soon became captivated and followed the journey as Oscar was charged with Reeva’s murder. There was much debate and differing opinions on whether it was premeditated or an accident. In The Trials of Oscar Pistorius Chase Your Shadow John Carlin enters into this debate, giving an insight into the life of an athlete known to all as the ‘Blade Runner’.
When first receiving this book I held it in my hands with trepidation. I was eager to take the leap into the pages but hesitant at the same time, wondering if this was going to be a book that was unbalanced and biased. The question that kept going through my head was whose side John Carlin was going to take. I was pleased to find the answer to be neither. John Carlin does a wonderful job at keeping balance within his report. He uses facts from the court case and the lives of those involved to allow the reader to form their own opinion. At times I was sure Oscar Pistorius was innocent, but then at times I wondered if maybe I was wrong.
The Trials of Oscar Pistorius is more than a book about the event, it is a look into the life of Oscar from birth to committal. It gives us an insight into the person he is outside of that of an olympic athlete. John Carlin allows us to see the ‘human’ side of Oscar Pistorius without playing the poor special needs man card. For Oscar life is different to that of the able bodied man but he proves that a disability need not hold you back, a reflection of his upbringing and the messages instilled in him by his mum.
So what of Reeva Steenkamp? There is not as much of a mention of the life of Reeva within The Trials of Oscar Pistorius, the title making the reason for this obvious, but John Carlin provides the reader with enough of an insight to allow them to form a visual of her life prior to and whilst in a relationship with Oscar. He shows the love she had for Oscar, and he for her, but also places a shadow of doubt as to whether their love could have been tainted.
Overall a thoroughly enjoyable and balanced read that left me sitting on the fence wanting to discuss the book with someone else and put together the pieces floating through my mind.
The Trials of Oscar Pistorius Chase Your Shadow is well written, showing the experience John Carlin has in the field of journalism and writing. If you wish to fill in the gaps left by the media this is definitely the book that will do it.
Available from www.allenandunwin.com.au
Reviewed by Jennifer Douglas