I didn’t intend to pick two books in a row related to the criminal justice system, but I did intend to go on two road trips with my husband and, therefore, had to land on a few audio books we could both enjoy during our time in the car. This 18th book was my first choice of audio book because it was also our June selection for book club. Plus, I picked it up at a Little Free Library and I generally prefer to have read all of the books on my bookshelf. In other words, book 18 killed three birds with one stone.
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
by Bryan Stevenson
Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, Just Mercy is about attorney, Bryan Stevenson’s, work as founder of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). Per their description, “The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.” The book details numerous cases, focusing much of its text on the story of Walter McMillian, a man sentenced to die for a murder he didn’t commit.
“Proximity has taught me some basic and humbling truths, including this vital lesson: Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done. My work with the poor and the incarcerated has persuaded me that the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice. Finally, I’ve come to believe that the true measure of our commitment to justice, the character of our society, our commitment to the rule of law, fairness, and equality cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.”
-Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Awards (based upon my brief research):
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Nonfiction
My Overall Rating:
4.5 – This book opened my eyes to the massive injustices within the criminal justice system. It made me mad, frustrated and sad that we live in a world where it’s better to be guilty and wealthy than innocent and poor. After reading Orange is the New Black, Just Mercy further confirmed my feelings that our criminal justice system is not only unideal, but it’s unfair, inappropriate, and ultimately messed up. I highly recommend reading this book. I didn’t place it at a 5 because you have to be ready to read some heavy content and be willing to learn. There were times we had to pause and look things up. Had I not been prepared for that, going into it, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much as I did.
My Husband’s Overall Rating:
4.5 – My husband, too, gave the book a 4.5. He agreed it was a phenomenal book and we learned so much from it. He, too, said there isn’t really anything keeping him from giving it a 5, but for some reason, we both stuck to our 4.5s.