Spot Light on New Books: I Love You More, a Reluctant Memoir by Joan Burleson

“Decades after the events of November 1973, I still struggled with understanding, accepting, moving on… Although I was seventeen when my father hired Jones to pour acid on Mom and my stepfather Dale, I know that by then a lot of damage had been done…

Scenes gradually started to grow in my head-vignettes of smells and sounds and aches that felt like the burn of moonshine down the back of my throat.  A story formed for me, one of greed and lust and torture, which I cautiously verified as I would check the citations in a legal brief. 

And then, Trudeau’s file showed up…. I sneezed at old dust that billowed up, and my gut turned. I never learned why Trudeau kept the Anchorage Police Departments’ working file after he retired… But it revealed to me how the detectives figured out the facts and built their case.” – Excerpt from I Love You More


Betty Jean was left penniless with three children in 1960’s Appalachia. Desperate, she followed her husband, uprooted their family, and bootstrapped failure into a fresh start in Anchorage, Alaska.  Once transplanted, she became inspired by the audacious country and established herself as a true Alaskan pioneer. Principled and headstrong, she began to succeed in the wild culture of early Anchorage. Betty Jean refused to leave her troubled marriage, creating a toxic home. But when she met steadfast Dale, she faced an unexpected opportunity for happiness. Her choice drove her husband insane, and he hired an assailant to maim her and Dale with acid.

The vicious assault left Betty Jean with grave injuries. Determined and courageous, she nevertheless overcame the challenges of severe burn treatment, and made an astonishing bargain to regain her eyesight.

The acid attack, investigation, and legal maneuvers that followed are meticulously researched and documented in I Love You More. This true crime story is revealed through the reluctant eyes of the youngest daughter as, seeking to heal, she explores how the brutal crime affected each family member. Her inspirational journey touches on deeper questions of hope, faith, and the process of forgiveness.

A stirring memoir, I Love You More weaves a powerful sense of place and compelling characters into a remarkable tapestry of misguided love, passion, and redemption.


This memoir is absolutely amazing and had me captivated from the beginning. Burleson’s writing is incisive, evocative and genuine as she unfolds the shocking story through her own eyes. It is a story that touches the depths of our human nature and causes deep reflection. A must read! – Patty Calhoun, Denver CO

The book’s multiple lyric background expositions of places and events save it from a descent into sensationalist drama…  These excursions into the gestalt of our city set a necessary background for the wider audience of readers that Burleson writes for. As a longtime Anchorage resident, I found her descriptions rendered with sincerity and sensitivity. – Monica Jenicek Lyall, Anchorage, Alaska

This is a beautifully written book about flawed people, betrayal, the complexity of human beings and the meaning of forgiveness. The characters are well-developed and vividly portrayed through vignettes of their most defining actions and words, playing out against the contrasting backdrops of the deep South and the Alaskan frontier. Perhaps most impactful is the book’s message of hope, love and the human spirit’s remarkable ability to overcome tragedy. – Marian Lee, Denver, CO


Born in Asheville, NC, Joan Burleson moved with her family to Anchorage, Alaska as a fifth grader. After Turnagain Elementary, Romig Jr High and West Anchorage High School, she earned her B Sc. in Geology from the University of Alberta, Canada. After college she returned to Anchorage, got a pilot’s license, and learned to make stained glass. She later earned a Juris Dr. at the University of Denver College of Law and practiced law for many years. Joan now creates architectural glass out of her studio Glassentricity, and she’s currently working on a book of short stories, Light Through Colored Glass. For more information: I Love You More: A Reluctant Memoir: 9798891320420: Burleson, Joan: Books The Author’s website, which includes an interview about I Love You More, a Reluctant Memoir: Glassentricity Home Page – Glassentricity


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