Freedman, Bryn

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FREEDMAN, Bryn

PERSONAL:

Married Christopher Curry (an actor; marriage ended); married William Knoedelseder (a journalist). Education: Ithaca College, 1979.

ADDRESSES:

Agent—c/o Faber and Faber, 19 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003.

CAREER:

Journalist and writer. Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., WRGB-TV, Albany, NY, news reporter; Fox Broadcasting Company, WTXF-TV, Philadelphia, PA, news reporter, 1994-97; USA Broadcasting, Los Angeles, CA, managing editor.

WRITINGS:

(With husband, William Knoedelseder) Family Value, Faber and Faber (Boston, MA), 1998, published as In Eddie's Name: One Family's Triumph over Tragedy, 1999.

SIDELIGHTS:

Carolyn Kubisz, a reviewer for Booklist, wrote that In Eddie's Name: One Family's Triumph over Tragedy is "heartbreaking, moving, and inspirational." The book, written by journalist Bryn Freedman and her husband, journalist William Knoedelseder, tells the story of a senseless murder and one family's struggle to survive in the wake of tragedy. In 1994 Eddie Polec, a sixteen year old from outside of Philadelphia, was found on the steps of his church after having been severely beaten by a gang of teenagers from another suburb. The attack on Polec was an attempt to avenge an earlier incident involving a drink being thrown on a friend of the gang; however, Polec was chosen as a random target, he had not been involved in the initial episode. On the night in question, dozens of calls to the 911 emergency system regarding the attack on Polec were ignored for as long as forty minutes, time that might have saved his life. A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that the book "illuminate[s] the issue of victim's rights."

In Eddie's Name explores the effect of this brutal murder on Polec's family, noting that Polec might have lived if the emergency response system had worked as it was designed to. Denver Post writer Carol Kreck noted that the book "goes far beyond recounting true crime to offering a way to look at the world in the face of horrific tragedy." There is a thorough description of the long court battle to bring the attackers to justice, as well as the fight Polec's father waged to get the 911 emergency system changed so that it could effectively help people in danger. In addition, the authors discuss the foundation that seemed to hold the Polec family together after their tragedy, stressing that the emphasis Polec's parents placed on the importance of personal responsibility and accountability seemed to motivate them all.

Freedman told Debra Auspitz in City Paper, "The Polecs show how to raise a family," and added that what made her want to write about their story is "the extreme dignity of the family, a family so unmotivated by greed.… The Polecs had a slam-dunk, multimillion-dollar lawsuit, and the city was ready to sign the check, but for the Polecs it was never about the money." Bill Wallace wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle, "Freedman and Knoedelseder have written a story that is both inspiring and deeply moving. What happened to the Polecs could have happened to any family. The way this particular family responded is nothing less than heroic." Library Journal reviewer Tim Delaney wrote that In Eddie's Name is "An excellent book; highly recommended."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 15, 1999, Carolyn Kubisz, review of In Eddie's Name: One Family's Triumph over Tragedy, p. 583.

Denver Post, February 27, 2000, Carol Kreck, review of In Eddie's Name, p. I4.

Library Journal, November 15, 1999, Tim Delaney, review of In Eddie's Name, p. 83.

New York Times, December 26, 1999, review of In Eddie's Name, p. 14.

Publishers Weekly, October 11, 1999, review of In Eddie's Name, p. 64.

San Francisco Chronicle, May 14, 2000, Bill Wallace, review of In Eddie's Name, p. REV12.

ONLINE

City Paper,http://www/citypaper.net/ (August 26, 1999), Debra Auspitz, review of In Eddie's Name. *