I’m reading a book called “Restless Souls: The Sharon Tate Family’s Account of Stardom, the Manson Murders, and a Crusade for Justice,” written by Tate family friend Alisa Statman and Brie Tate, niece of Sharon Tate. It may well be the most important book written on the Manson case.
The simple reason is that it captures a family’s grief and struggle to move on — something all our families have dealt with in various forms.
I’ve written a lot here about my interest in the Manson case. This past November, I drove to the Tate and LaBianca murder sites during a trip to L.A. The story tapped into my fearful side at a young age, when Channel 56 played the two-part “Helter Skelter” movie every year. But until I downloaded this book onto my Kindle, I never truly appreciated what the Tate family has been through all these years.
I knew Sharon’s mother, Doris Tate, was a tireless victim’s rights advocate up to her death in 1992 and that her daughter Patti (Brie Tate’s mother) carried the torch until her death from cancer in 2000.
The Tate family has spent the last 42-plus years living with its tragic ties to criminal history. The book is a collection of narratives written by Doris, Patti, and P.J. Tate (Sharon’s father).
P.J. writes about having to go to the Cielo Drive house shortly after the murders to clean up all the blood and collect his daughter’s things. Patti writes about her struggle to hide from the prying world and live in quiet, only to have her family history come back to haunt her every time.
You see how Doris emerged after a decade of mourning to become a tireless fighter for victim’s rights, prison reforms and keeping her daughter’s killers in prison. You see P.J. and Patti getting upset with Doris again and again for keeping the family in the spotlight through her work. The wreckage of their lives includes all the usual tormentors: addiction, gut-shredding guilt, fear and anxiety. You see them learning to live again and finding purpose.
It’s the ultimate story of battling adversity.
I wish this book had come out before my L.A. trip, because I would have looked at those murder sites with a different set of eyes.
The Manson case has been a source of obsession for many, many people over the years. There’s the natural curiosity about what drives human beings to kill. There’s the horror and blood aspect that sucks people in. But what often gets lost is what kind of people the victims were, and what happens to those they unwillingly leave behind.
This book is all about the latter. That’s why I think it’s so important.
I think Brie Tate did her family proud with this work. I look forward to seeing what she does in the future.