Visiting Hours by Amy E. Butcher

Visiting Hours

In this powerful and unforgettable memoir, award-winning writer Amy Butcher examines the shattering consequences of failing a friend when she felt he needed one most. Four weeks before their college graduation, twenty-one-year-old Kevin Schaeffer walked Amy Butcher to her home in their college town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Hours after parting ways with Amy, he fatally stabbed his ex-girlfriend. While he was awaiting trial, psychiatrists concl...

Details Visiting Hours

TitleVisiting Hours
Release DateApr 7th, 2015
PublisherBlue Rider Press
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Crime, True Crime, Mystery

Reviews Visiting Hours

  • Wendi Manning
    Kevin killed Emily. Emily is dead and Kevin is in prison. Kevin walked Amy home before he killed Emily, so naturally, this book is all about how that murder changed Amy's life. I couldn't figure out if she stayed friendly with Kevin because she liked him or because she thought it would make her more interesting. Either way, this book is nothing more than another cashing in by Amy on Kevin's crime. She's previously written an article for Salon on ...
  • Beth Anne
    I think this book was really unnecessary. If this woman wanted to be a writer she should write something. Writing this book seems to be a way of calling herself a writer without having to actually to the work. It drags on and repeats the same things about herself over and over. I suppose she is expecting we feel badly for her because of what she has gone through and the guilt she experiences, but she's so annoying and self absorbed it's difficult...
  • J
    In response to Jason's review - I am not certain who you are and I am not sure if you are speaking to my review, but I hope it does not come across as hypercritical, spiteful, or attacking because it’s a genuine expression of pain. While I respect your opinion and perspective and understand why your interpretation of this book may be different than my own, that does not negate how upsetting it is to see that Amy has used my dog’s name as my p...
  • Lissa
    1.5 StarsI have been debating all morning how to honestly, yet kindly, rate and review this book but the truth is that I just did not like it. One night, the author was walked home by her friend Kevin and had surprisingly discovered the next day that he had then violently murdered his ex-girlfriend. I understand how this would affect someone, which is why I picked it up in the first place but the way the author turned this tragic event into her o...
  • Rebecca Foster
    The facts are simple: one night towards the end of their senior year at Gettysburg College (2009), Kevin Schaeffer walked Butcher home from a drunken outing, then stabbed his ex-girlfriend to death. This book has elements of a true crime narrative, detailing the crime and speculating on possible causes for Kevin’s psychotic episode – he was coming down from a high dose of antidepressants, and may have been making a second suicide attempt when...
  • Anti- Fabulist
    I knew and lived with Kevin -- this is a work of FICTION, not creative nonfiction. Much of it is simply not true. To begin with, her repeated claim that she was the only one who maintained communication with Kevin. Even more confusingly: we all know that she KNOWS that numerous people kept in contact with Kevin, all more so than herself.... Also, she wasn't even a close friend of his, let alone a "best" friend.Why trample on peoples' real feeling...
  • S
    I lived with Emily and was friendly with Kevin-- it hurts a lot to be reminded of this event in a way that's not a supportive conversation with a friend. A couple years ago I was caught off guard when I came across a short story by Amy about Emily's murder at Barnes and Noble. Gutted is a great way to describe that feeling. Amy and I have a somewhat shared experience, but I could not relate to her storytelling despite having been there myself. Fr...
  • Heather
    My low rating isn’t for the things that bothered other reviewers. I don’t mind that the author capitalized on the murder. She’s a writer; that’s what writers do. I don’t even mind that people involved say parts aren’t true; everyone has his/her own memories and viewpoints on situations. My issues are with the writing itself.First, certain things just don’t make sense. Butcher did extensive/obssesive research before visiting the pris...
  • Holly
    I borrowed an ebook copy and picked up where I'd left off in the audio. Still just didn't like it. Perhaps it was the self-absorption and the constant reaching for profundity. Butcher dwells a lot on her own obsession with the case, but it was too much - couldn't her obsession have been the result of spending years writing a book about her personal impressions of the murder and how it affected her?
  • AmberBug **
    I didn't like this book, put it down half way through. I don't understand why this Author has written a fictional? book about a real life event that has happened to her. I would have rather liked it to be a memoir and stated as such. I'm not a huge fan of memoirs, which this reads like, and probably wouldn't have wasted our time. However, I can see the appeal to someone who devours memoirs, but I still think the author made a mistake defining it ...
  • Melissa B
    I received this book through GoodReads First ReadsA memoir like no other I have ever read. The author's self-doubt and her confusion about the whole murder, and the murderer (who was a good friend) shines throughout the book. We all hope that we are never put into this same situation. It is something unimaginable that one reads about, or it happens to someone we don't know. An interesting read.
  • Scot Taylor
    Painful. I read this because the writer was recently hired at my alma mater as an English professor. I weep for the future. The writer is self-centered and lacks insight. Her prose is leaden when it's not blazing purple. It's a vaguely compelling anecdote puffed into book length by Iowa Writers' Workshop pretentiousness. AVOID.
  • Alissa Hearson
    This book broke my heart. The writing is beautiful but more important is the pervading sense that the only ones who suffer from violence are those directly involved. As a survivor of frequent second-hand violence, I was so glad to have found this book. Brave.
  • quinnster
    I have a hard time with this book. It would have been interesting if I didn't find out that much of Butcher's account is fiction (as claimed by other friends of Kevin's). I feel like this is one of those girls who is touched by something horrific and scandalous and wants to insert herself more into the story to give herself more importance. I noticed how she was already trying to defend herself against these sort of accusations by stating "some m...
  • Rachel
    One thing is indisputable: Amy Butcher is a beautiful writer with an engaging voice. Reading her work feels like you're talking to a close friend. I have a newborn baby, and only wanted to read a few pages while she napped so that I could sleep but I was so pulled in that I read nearly 50 and missed my nap entirely.And this book has a promising premise: Amy spent an evening with a friend, and after he went home, he murdered his girlfriend. Obviou...
  • Kristi Richardson
    “And--- regardless of any narrative---Emily is always dead, and Kevin is always the one that killed her.”This non-fiction work is about a woman who was the last person to be with a friend who then went home and committed murder. Amy Butcher suffered from PTSD from that event. She suffered from survivor guilt that she lived while a woman named Emily died. This is her story.I wanted to like this book and it is a valuable work in the first perso...
  • Marissa Landrigan
    I understand that some of the reviews here come from a visceral, emotional place, but I think Butcher did a remarkable job with this work. It's a swirling, difficult narrative, full of questions, often circling back on itself--but it has to be. This is a book about that circling back, the questions, about the formation of narrative itself, and I found it handled with grace, humility, and genuine striving. If some of the details in the book are pa...
  • Sisyphus
    I'm confused. Having known the people involved in this horrific tragedy, Amy Butcher's story bears little relation to reality. So, so much of her "memoir" is heartlessly fabricated. Does Amy Butcher know that she is lying, or does she believe her own lies?? Contemplating such a question is more chilling than the subject matter involved....
  • Leigh Paddon
    I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN!!!A look into a young woman's mind as she visits a friend in prison. It is spellbinding!
  • Susan
    In a beautifully written tale, the author’s literary talent is obvious, the author describes how her college friend Kevin walked her home after an evening out with friends and then went home where he murdered his girlfriend. The author then claims to have remained his friend for years after his plea deal. However, while she claims to have remained his friend, it becomes very obvious that she does so for her own benefit. She simply writes to him...
  • Nancy
    Ugh. This book just seemed like an excuse for Amy Butcher to write about herself. I agree with another reviewer who said that it seems like she continued to be friends with Kevin so she would be more interesting. (Actually, maybe so she could write a book about it?) The book sounded more interesting than it actually turned out to be. Butcher (did anyone else find that name ironic?) really want us to know that she comes from a well-off family and ...
  • Alicia
    2015-04-07 years ago, when Butcher was a senior at Gettysburg College, one of her good friends walked her home from a bar, and then apparently suffered a psychotic break and brutally murdered his girlfriend. She's been publishing excerpts from this online for years now, and it's now here in its final form--her meditation on this event and the effect it had on her, as well as her subsequent investigation into w...
  • Laura
    There was so much promise here, so much more along the My Friend Dammer continuum than actually appeared. Amy's friend Kevin commits a horrific murder, apparently having suffered a psychotic break. Okay. Amy, being a good friend, doesn't want to lose touch with him, despite being traumatized by this (who wouldn't be, given that the murder came mere hours after Kevin dropped Amy off at her house). Also okay. But instead of exploring some of that m...
  • Michelle
    In a true crime related account "Visiting Hours: A Memoir of Friendship and Murder", author Amy E. Butcher examines and relates her experience and friendship with convicted murderer Kevin Schaeffer. On April 9, 2009, Schaeffer 21, choked and repeatedly stabbed to death his girlfriend Emily Silverstein, 19. Both were students at Gettysburg College, Kevin, a history major, an honor student a month away from graduation. Schaeffer admitted his guilt ...
  • Denise
    I received this book free in a Goodreads giveaway. Although it was not required for me to provide a review, I think it is always a good idea to review any book I read. The feedback helps the authors and publishing companies determine further editing and marketing needs.I give this book a 3 or 31/2 star review. If I had had to rate it in the first 100 pages I would have given it a much lower review. I entered this giveaway based on its description...
  • Heidi
    It seemed apparent that the author was not exactly best friends with the person who ended up killing his girlfriend. There are just a few interactions prior to the murder that she described in the book: their first encounter before the First Year Walk; some times at the Lincoln Diner; two parties he attends with his girlfriend (she admits she didn't know the girlfriend at all); a time ghost hunting (she's pretty sure it was with him though she ca...
  • Erin
    ARC for review. A solid 3.5 rounded to 4 stars. Readers should take a look at the subtitle - this is NOT a true crime book and doesn't spend pages and pages detailing Kevin Schaeffer's crime (with which I was not familiar but I'm guessing that it's quite well-known in and around Gettysburg), but rather is an interesting and thoughtful story of Amy Butcher's close relationship (and possibly near miss) with a mentally ill young man who commits a mu...
  • Amber
    I read some of the other Goodreads reviews before I started, so I didn't have high expectations. Some readers had felt she was trying to insert herself in the narrative of a murder that had nothing to do with her. They felt she was maybe selfish or narcissistic. And I thought maybe I would at least enjoy the writing even if it was a bit navel-gazing, because from her bio I know she teaches writing.Well, I'm not entirely sure what these other peop...
  • Susan
    Rounding up from 1.5 stars. Ms. Butcher spent much of the book obsessing about how Kevin killed another student at their college shortly after he had walked Ms. Butcher home. The author expresses very little sympathy for the victim, her family or her friends. Ms. Butcher seems to suggest that if she had told Kevin about the suicidal thoughts she had as a teenager or had talked to him about his mental illness, she would have been the one to preven...
  • Julie Sabo
    I agree with many of the reviews of this book that the author does seem self-absorbed at times. But this is HER memoir. I was also disappointed by the lack of details which does bring on the question of how close was she really to Kevin Shaeffer? I thought when she finally sat down with her "friend" in the prison that she would finally discuss with him her feelings or his feelings about the murder. But that was not the case. And what exactly did ...