Picks and Pans Review: His Name Is Ron: Our Search for Justice
Ron Goldman's relatives may have been denied justice in the O.J. Simpson criminal trial, and they may be denied their share of the $33.5 million awarded to them and the Browns in the civil trial, but they were not denied the inalienable right of all participants in the Simpson case—a book deal. The Goldmans signed one last March (for a reported $450,000) after initially resisting the idea, and their book may serve Ron's memory well. It is a moving and painfully intimate account of how they coped with the murder of their son and with being a subplot in the sordid O.J. spectacle.
Ron's fiery and emotional father, Fred, whose cracking voice at press conferences symbolized the family's anguish, is the central narrator, but cowriters Marilyn and William Hoffer (Midnight Express) weave in wrenching recollections from all of the close-knit Goldmans: Ron's younger sister Kim, Fred's third wife, Patti, and her children Brian, Michael and Lauren. (Ron's biological mother, Sharon Rufo, who hadn't seen her son in 15 years but who filed a wrongful-death civil suit citing loss of Ron's "companionship," is depicted as callously trying to capitalize on his death.) Taking us all the way through the verdict in the civil trial, the book bogs down when it covers legal issues that are by now numbingly familiar, but the passages that deal with the ordinary rituals of grief—a devastated Kim's eulogy of her brother; Fred's first tour of his dead son's apartment—will bring a lump to your throat.
When Fred recounts his fantasies of killing O.J. (he even received an offer from a stranger to supply him with a high-powered rifle), it is easy to understand his lingering rage. Determined to "haunt the halls of justice" through two long and gruesome trials, the Goldmans were seemingly a family stuck in an early stage of mourning, unable to accept what had happened as long as the man they call the killer skirted blame. Perhaps now that the civil trial is over and they have given voice to a victim known to most people only as "a sometime model" or "Nicole Brown's friend," the Goldmans can finally let go. (Morrow, $24.95)