The Babysitter (Rodman)

Start Date
Four stars out of five

This was a quick and thrilling read for me about how author Liza Rodman spent her summers in the 1960s idolizing and being groomed by Tony Costa, a man she later found out was responsible for the murders of 4 women.

While Tony is defined as Rodman’s “Babysitter” I found his role in her life much creepier. As an adult reading the story it becomes pretty clear that Tony is lurking around young people out of a pitiful need to be worshiped and feel “cool”. Very gross.  Liza is one of many young people that Tony inserts himself into the life of. It’s very clear that he seeks out people younger and more vulnerable than himself, because they are the only ones he can impress and control. Anyone his own age would see right through his bullshit.

This was really a very interesting take on a murder case. The chapters alternate between Liza and Tony’s perspectives. Telling one story about Liza’s difficult childhood and another about Tony’s descent into more and more sinister behavior. We might be tempted to sympathize with Tony during some of his pov chapters, until we are reminded of how utterly creepy he is as we read Liza’s point of view. In the end, I was left with no sympathy for him at all. Other sources I have read on this case portray Tony Costa as a very serious, scary and sadistic threat. They refer to him as the “cape cod vampire” and sometimes portray him a so sort of “loner genius” type killer. But this story really shows how truly pathetic he was. I appreciated that, as there is nothing more pathetic to me than a killer like Costa. He does not deserve any kind of praise or infamy, and this story makes sure he does not receive it. It makes sure we know his victims were far more important than he will ever be.

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