Hello friends. This post is a collection of quotes from the book - If You Tell by Gregg Olsen. If You Tell is a survivor's story of absolute evil - and the freedom and justice that Nikki, Sami, and Tori risked their lives to fight for. Sisters forever, victims no more, they found a light in the darkness that made them the resilient women they are today - loving, loved, and moving on.
There was no denying Shelly's beauty. Red hair framed a face with a freckled nose, and her blue eyes had thick lashes like the undulating fringe of a sea anemone. But to Lara, the kind of beauty Shelly possessed was like that of nightshade berries. They appear to be delicious but are actually dangerous.
Every guy knows the moment when he meets the girl. The One. The one who spins him around like a top that turns so quickly it digs deep.
To survive Shelly meant avoiding her whenever possible. Even early in their marriage, Dave would retreat from her constant barrage of angry demands. Yes, she could be sweet. Yes, she could be fun. But as time went on, those attributes took a back seat to her uncontrolled anger, a temper that scared him. He knew that something wasn't right with her. She was off. The screaming. The violent temper. The slamming of the doors until the hinges broke from the wooden frame. All of that. Dave would sit in his truck with a sleeping bag and pillow and ask God what to do.
When somebody pushes, pushes, and pushes you into a corner, pretty soon you're not going to want to be in that corner anymore. People would ask me later why I just didn't leave. Take the kids and go. You just didn't do that with Shelly. You can't. She wouldn't allow it. She'd hunt you down.
Sometimes hitting the pause button on a life beginning to spiral out of control by moving to a new house can actually reset the situation and make things better. Nikki hoped that would be the case.
Anything could be a weapon. The kids knew it. Dave too. A spatula from a kitchen drawer, a fishing pole, an electric cord. Shelly Knotek would employ all of those - and anything else within her grasp - to beat her girls if she perceived they'd done something wrong. No matter how big. Or how small. When she found a punishment that worked, she looked for ways to make it even more effective, more brutal. The act of beating her children seemed to fuel her and excite her. She seemed to savor the rush of adrenaline that came with being on the attack.
Nikki knew she was in prison. But prison, she decided, had its perks. She was away from her mother's nasty tirades. She didn't have to walk on eggshells only to find out she'd nevertheless done something wrong. In a way, she was free. The best part was the massive collection of books her mother stored in the walk-in closet in Nikki's bedroom.
When it came to manifesting anger, Shelly Knotek was a kind of jack-in-the-box. She could be in a dead sleep in the middle of the night, then bolt from bed with an angry scream at one of the girls or Shane. She was like the villain in a slasher flick. She went zero to sixty, from calm to rage, in less than five seconds.
Shelly never felt bad about anything. At least not when it came to other people's feelings. The girls noticed she'd shed a torrent of tears for dead pets, but never for another person.
On the outside, Sami was blonde, pretty, popular. She was homecoming-court material. She was smart, and funny too - the kind of girl who got the attention of the boys with a funny quip. Yet by her senior year, Sami was taking a "fuck it" approach to life. She'd grown tired of covering up what her mom had been doing to her and her older sister. She'd learned from Nikki's experience that not rocking the boat didn't stop bad things from happening. It only allowed them to continue.
Shelly, persistent and ever resourceful, always found a way. And once she got the hefty credit line, she immediately went to work at whittling the balance down. She did it in a frenzy too. It was as though spending money had become a drug. Or maybe a replacement for one. Shelly wrote as many as thirty checks a day at stores at the mall in Aberdeen.
In time, Tori could see that she was in the middle of a war between her parents. It was a knock-down, drag-out, and she was all but certain to be collateral damage.
Since Shelly Knotek came into his life, Ron's world was now a black hole of money trouble, legal trouble, and family trouble. And Shelly was right there, stirring the pot, making things worse and worse.
Shelly thrived on segregating people. The girls from each other. Their father from the girls. Shane, Kathy, and Nikki were isolated from everyone. Putting a wall between people allowed her the opportunity to do whatever she wanted. People were game pieces. Toys to be abused. It didn't matter who they were.
Lying was like taking a breath to Shelly. Sami could never grasp why her mother felt compelled to lie when saying nothing at all would be a smarter course.
Lara knew Shelly better than anyone. She'd watched her stepdaughter operate and work things in a way that were at utter odds with the truth. If the sky was blue, Shelly had a way of insisting it was green. She was a master manipulator. This time she wasn't going to get away with what she'd done.
Killing someone is something you never get over. Not even for a second. It's always there.