October 17, 2020 04:10 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I had several really good reads during the month of September, but wanting to bring my readers the best of the best, I only feature books in this column that I’ve rated five stars. I had just one five-star read during the month that was a true romance, and since it’s already available for free in ebook anyway, I’ve opted to step outside the box and feature a non-romance book this month that also happens to be non-fiction. In all honesty, it was my favorite read of the month anyway. I realize that this might be a slight disappointment to some of you. However, I hope that many of you will still find it as interesting as I did, because it’s truly an awesome read.
This book is partly memoir, partly true crime/courtroom drama, and partly a documentation of the long-running battle for reforms in the U.S. criminal justice system. The author narrates his journey to starting a non-profit organization where he fights for the rights of wrongfully incarcerated individuals, those who've received sentences that were too harsh, and people (particularly prisoners on death row) who lack legal representation. Throughout the course of the book, he details one of the biggest cases of his career, that of a man who was wrongly convicted of a murder he didn't commit and the six year struggle to finally get him exonerated. It's a tale that's equal parts moving because of all the emotions involved and infuriating because of the obvious corruption at work and the appalling miscarriage of justice that occurred. Wedged in between the chapters of this longer narrative, the author recounts numerous other cases he represented over the years, which were equally anger-inducing. There were people who were either mentally ill or mentally deficient whose cases should have been treated differently due to these mitigating circumstances. There were a number of minors, including some who were only thirteen or fourteen, if not younger, when they were convicted of committing crimes and many of whom experienced terrible upbringings filled with horrific abuse and neglect, and yet they were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for non-homicidal crimes. Whatever the circumstances, the author worked tirelessly, trying to either free them or get their sentences reduced. Nevertheless, there were still stories of heartbreaking instances where he failed to convince judges to give relief to death row inmates, and their executions went forward anyway in spite of circumstances which were worthy of taking a closer look.
This was a phenomenal book that was eloquently written and took me on an engaging journey right along with the author as he fought the good fight for true justice and equality. It also took me on a roller-coaster ride of emotions while educating me about what's really going on behind the scenes in the American justice system. I've been aware for some time now of how biases against minorities and the poor frequently play a role in the convictions of those accused of committing crimes, as well as the sentencing once that conviction is handed down, but this book still opened my eyes to just how prevalent these things are. I was heartbroken and even moved to tears by many of the stories the author relates, while also being outraged at how broken our justice system can be. I can't praise the author and his organization enough for their compassion for prisoners and dedication to giving a voice to many who were previously voiceless. I also can't recommend this book highly enough. I think it might be the best one I've read so far in 2020 (and the movie version was excellent, too). That’s why I’m naming Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy as my September Book of the Month. If you enjoy emotional, eye-opening, and educational true stories, then you should definitely give this book a try. Keep reading to learn how you can win a copy for your own library.
A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time
Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.
Read my complete review of Just Mercy.
If you would like to win a copy of Just Mercy to see how wonderful it is for yourself, just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. One lucky winner will receive their choice of an eBook or print copy of the book. If the winner chooses an eBook, I will gift it to them via the eBook retailer of their choice (Amazon or B & N). If the winner chooses a print copy, I will have it mailed directly to them via Amazon. Good luck!
International Entrants: You are welcome to enter my contest, but please note that not all eBooks are available in all countries due to copyright restrictions. If this is the case, Amazon does offer an option to trade for a gift card (I'm not sure about B & N). If you choose print, I can mail it to you via the Amazon website that services your country, pending availability and cost. Otherwise I will mail it to you via U. S. Amazon's standard international shipping, but it may take up to 6-8 weeks to arrive, and I may not have the capability of tracking the package.
Tags: Bryan Stevenson