“No Journey’s End” provides a captivating, behind-the-scenes glimpse into the life and romance of convicted Charles Manson Family member, Leslie Van Houten, and Canadian academic, Peter Chiaramonte, as told through Peter’s first-person recollections of their intimate experiences.
Learn how Van Houten—a homecoming princess at her California high school—evolved from an intelligent and beautiful young girl into a madman’s puppet, enslaved in a world of drugs and sex under the control of Charles Manson. This bizarre trail of twisted circumstances is set against the counterculture movement of the 1960s.
Be transported back in time to experience a new perspective on a story only told by the media, until now…
An Honest Reflection on Human Fallibility”
Individuals who read this book hoping to find an ultimate explanation of why Leslie Van Houten should be freed or why she should remain in prison will find neither. What they will find is a claim that ultimately each of us must accept responsibility for how we write the narrative that is our life. Our choices about our relationships with others, our world, ourselves have outcomes which can never be certain, especially when we love another individual. Love is an act of faith and never an act of reason. That love remains haunted by past choices, is vulnerable to present circumstances, and often times fearful of the future. This is the story Dr. Chiaramonte gives us in attempting to peel back the layers of his relationship with Leslie.
Some might find his references to the drug culture of the times off-putting, but the fact remains that this culture was very much the context of the time. Anyone who has lived through the sixties and seventies as a young adult will recognize the reality that individuals from all walks of life–entertainment, academia, business, and ordinary working people–were experimenting, attempting to artificially define who they were, and sometimes just trying to run from life. The book doesn’t attempt to either justify or condemn human behaviour in this regard; it simply reminds us of human fallibility, the need we have for love, our jealousies, and our biases, and ultimately our responsibility for who we are.
The fact that Dr. Chiaramonte philosophically reflects on the nature of choice and the fallibility of humankind adds to the depth and richness of the story. The doubts he expresses, the questions he gives rise to, raise the novel from the level of the superficial to the thoughtful, from the sensational to the sincere. Whether this story will help or hurt future hearings Leslie may have is uncertain. What is important is that we have a new perspective, which when listened to, may take us nearer the truth.