Shannon Moroney’s memoir, Through The Glass is one of the most emotionally compelling non-fiction reads I’ve stumbled upon in a while.

Through The Glass opens with an ominous knock at the door. Shannon opens the door to the news that her husband of only a month has been arrested for the brutal assault and kidnapping of two women. Shannon finds herself thrown into a world she cannot fathom, devastated from the revelation, and learning she herself has been a victim of her husband’s dark tendencies. What follows in the rest of the book is Shannon’s journey through the legal system, a desperate attempt to understand her husband’s dark compulsions, and ultimately a journey of forgiveness and peace.

Shannon’s experience highlights an often overlooked segment of the criminal justice system: the family of the offender.  They are often given no guidance on how to proceed through the process, or offered much support, even if they, too,  are victims of the offender.  What Through The Glass did was offer me a stark reminder that there is often much more to a story than what we know.  That crime doesn’t just happen to a victim. And this in no way is meant to diminish the impact to victim of a crime, only that it is a form of death in a way when a loved one commits a crime.  You’re grieving the loss of a life you imagined yet the person you are mourning isn’t dead.

Shannon also reveals how it is possible to forgive a person but not an act.  How it is possible to provide closure between victims and offenders through honest and open dialogue. And how some offenders truly do need to be locked away forever, for the safety  of society at large.

Shannon’s story made me want to be a more compassionate person.  I admit, early on in the book when Shannon recounts meeting her husband Jason, a part of me judged her for her choices.  But as she explained how their relationship progressed, I realized two things. First, that I was too harsh in my snap judgement of Shannon, and second, that many of us are guilty of similar knee-jerk reactions and are probably guilty of misjudging a number of people.

Frankly, if I were ever in trouble, I would want people like Shannon and her family in my corner.  This book is simply one woman’s story of a shattered world, and how she found her way through it and on to new happiness. The benefit is that in reading her story, we learn a lot about grief, compassion, and understanding. And just maybe, we want to be a better person because of it.