top of page


The following are reviews of The Book of Timothy from Booklist and New York Journal of Books and blurbs from authors Beverly Donofrio, Andromeda Romano Lax, Alison Smith, Judith Barrington and Jo-Ann Mapson. 

"A riveting nonfiction account of a sister’s dedication to and love for her brother. Debut author Wilson’s work is a searing indictment of abuses by the Catholic Church, specifically about what her sibling, Timothy, suffered at the age of 13. She and her brother speak openly about the past in these pages, and this memoir’s guiding light is her deep, moving love and devotion to him...Wilson also presents a timely meditation on religion’s role in the modern world and in her life as she struggles with the Catholic Church’s hypocrisies."


Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

"Nockels Wilson effortlessly weaves flashbacks to her childhood and early adulthood with present day, while incorporating facts and history of the Catholic Church and its relationship with child sexual abuse. Without getting bogged down in theology or the graphic minutiae of the situation, Nockels Wilson’s thorough research examines not just her own experience, but those of many in her life and around the country. An ode to familial bonds and the intersection of trauma and relationships, The Book of Timothy is sure to grip memoir and social science readers." 




Literature has its irredeemable villains; characters so devoid of nuance as to be the personification of evil. ... And then there are those in everyday life who earn eternal contempt and repudiation. Often, they prey on the vulnerable; the liar who scams the elderly out of their life’s savings; the bully who beats his family; the pedophile priest who abuses children and then, to add outrage to horror, eschews any responsibility.  In "The Book of Timothy," Nockels Wilson shares her mission to bring some measure of, if not justice, then closure, to the story of the priest who abused her brother Tim....."The Book of Timothy" has multiple levels of storytelling within its pages. It is a travelogue of sorts, it is a family history, it is a tribute to her relationship with her brother. It can also feel like an especially wrenching episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.... The full range of emotions inspired by reading The Book of Timothy is difficult to summarize. Nockels Wilson has created a panoramic saga of cruelty, injustice, loyalty, and devotion. This is a heartbreaking, loving, moving story told by a sister, daughter, mother, woman who demands and deserves to be heard." 


Heidi Mastrogiovanni, New York Journal of Books

New York Journal of Books

In “The Book of Timothy” Anchorage resident Joan Nockels Wilson details her decade-long fight to seek justice for her brother and other boys who’d been abused in Chicago by a priest she names as Father John Baptist Ormechea....The author, trained as a prosecutor, takes her research, analytical and legal skills as well as her “big sister” protectiveness to the entire endeavor. She is unrelenting in her quests for understanding and vengeance and in her documentation of what she discovers. ...Readers will come away with greater understandings of the role of faith in individual life, the way entire families are affected by trust betrayals, the traumatic effects of reopening life events that some would prefer to forget, and the psychology of abusers — the narcissism that prevents empathy for others and the practice of “grooming” victims and their families. In the end, this is a book about love and family devotion. Like the family of firefighters from which she and her brother came, Wilson responded to the emergency call. “Run always towards the flames and then, of course, always return home.”

Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News

Anchorage Daily News (Reviewers' Choice 2021)

"This  two feet on the ground, spiritual journey towards a hard-won compassion begins as a quest for revenge and becomes something else, which I want to call grace. This is an important story for victims of abuse, first by priests then, in its failure to protect children, by the church itself. It’s an important story and I’m grateful to Joan Nockels Wilson for telling it." 


Beverly Donofrio, author of Riding in Cars with Boys, Looking for Mary, and Astonished

Beverly Donofrio,

"Prosecutor, marathoner and heartbroken sister Joan Nockels Wilson combines investigatory skills, endurance and a thirst for answers—possibly even revenge—in a harrowing quest to track down and confront the priest who molested her brother. Wilson’s stunning memoir succeeds on multiple levels, evoking a Chicago childhood steeped in firefighting lore, the Cubs and Catholic ritual, while also transporting us to modern-day Rome and the Vatican, places rich in beauty and hypocrisy. Some books are disturbing, yet should be read, regardless. This one equally unnerves and uplifts, using both pathos and dark humor to illuminate the plight of a writer dedicated to family, complex faith and the tireless pursuit of understanding." 


Andromeda Romano Lax, author of Annie and the Wolves, The Spanish Bow, The Detour, Behave and Plum Rains


Andromeda Romano Lax, Author

"Searching, righteous, uncompromising—this is a powerful tribute to a brother’s courage, a sister’s perseverance. In the end, The Book of Timothy transforms into a book of redemption." 


Alison Smith, author of Name all the Animals


Alison Smith,  Author

"The Book of Timothy is one of the hardest stories I’ve ever been privileged to read. Since it must have been an even harder one to write, Joan Nockels Wilson deserves great applause for ushering her readers so gently yet fiercely through its many layers.


This story shines a light, rarely seen, on deep sibling love. It also examines the rarely examined consequences, to a whole family, of sexual abuse specifically perpetrated by a spiritual mentor— consequences that leave this author in a deep conflict with the church in which she was raised. She had always, previously, trusted that church to provide support through such trials of the soul, but in this case she can trust only herself, all the way to Vatican City."


Judith Barrington, author of Lifesaving and Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art

Judith Barrington,  Author

"Partly a crusade for justice, partly an exploration of Catholic theology and history, and in all ways the soul of a determined, loving, faithful sister, Joan Nockels Wilson’s memoir The Book of Timothy will remain in your heart forever.”

Jo-Ann Mapson, author of Hank & Chloe, Solomon's Oak, and Owen's Daughter


Jo-Ann Mapson,


bottom of page