Don't Kiss Them Good-Bye
by Allison DuBois
Published by Simon & Schuster
93 pages, 2005
She Sees Dead People
Reviewed by Mary Ward Menke
Fans of the television show, Medium, in which the protagonist uses psychic impressions to help solve crimes, will be delighted to know that the real-life inspiration for the program has written a memoir. In Don't Kiss Them Goodbye, Allison DuBois tells her story in her own words, with mixed results.
DuBois' paranormal experiences began when she was six years old. Not long after the death of her great-grandfather, she awoke in the middle of the night to find him standing by her bed, speaking these words: "I am okay, I am still with you. Tell your mom there's no more pain." Although DuBois' mother said she believed her daughter when she relayed the message, DuBois knew she didn't. Thus began the long process of trying to squelch her "vivid imagination" while knowing there was more to what she saw in her mind's eye than make-believe.
During her teen years, DuBois faced multiple challenges. Not only did she have to contend with the usual teenage angst, she also faced life on her own when her mother remarried shortly after her 16th birthday, leaving DuBois feeling as though she no longer fit into the family picture. And then there were her visions. It's no wonder she turned to alcohol to drown her sorrows and silence the voices. Fortunately, not just for herself, but for those who have since benefited from her remarkable gifts, DuBois managed to overcome these adversities.
As a college senior, she interned in the homicide bureau of the district attorney's office and discovered that she could see criminal acts through the eyes of the perpetrators. Relinquishing her goal of becoming a lawyer, DuBois decided to use her psychic gifts to solve crimes. As a profiler for law enforcement agencies, she donates her time and ability assisting with missing persons and criminal cases throughout the United States.
An assignment with the Texas Rangers in 2000 was the basis of an episode of Medium. In that case, DuBois had provided information regarding the abduction and murder of a young girl that had not been released to the public. Although attempts to locate the girl's remains were unsuccessful on DuBois' first visit to Texas, her visions were substantiated when the body was found in January 2004. In the meantime, DuBois became familiar with the Amber Alert System for missing children and credits the Texas investigation as the impetus for bringing the system to her hometown of Phoenix, three years to the day after the child disappeared.
Don't Kiss Them Goodbye is at its best when DuBois sticks to the evidence of her impressive psychic abilities. In discussing the well-publicized Elizabeth Smart abduction, she details her frustration at the authorities' failure to act upon the information she supplied, all of which proved accurate:
DuBois is also effective when relaying stories about her three daughters, all of whom seem to share the gift, and her aerospace-engineer-husband, who does not. In a chapter written by her husband, Joe, he describes what it's like being married to a psychic:
Daily life with Allison is not as difficult as you might expect. But it is different. ... I never have to worry about losing her in the mall or at an amusement park. She always seems to know right where I am .... We have spent many nights together with her relaying messages to me from the dead .... I've also received messages pertaining to future events in my life, some of which I am waiting to confirm.
The book becomes less effective when it loses its focus. It often seems to jump from subject to subject; at times it's a memoir, at other times, it reads like a self-help book for would-be psychics. Chapters dealing with advice about how to tell if your child is similarly gifted and how to deal with teen psychics might be more suited to a separate book where they could be more thoroughly developed.
Eliminating the extraneous information, fleshing out the real-life experiences and perhaps adding a few more would make Don't Kiss Them Good-Bye a more substantive and satisfying read. | January 2006
Mary Ward Menke is a contributing editor to January Magazine and the owner of WordAbilities, LLC, providing writing and editing services to businesses and individuals. Her work has been published in The Toastmaster, Dog Fancy and Science of Mind magazines, in the Suburban Journals (a weekly St. Louis community newspaper) and on STLtoday.com.