Bryan Stevenson, founder of Equal Justice Initiative, has devoted his life to working with those on death row or those who could not afford proper representation. Many of the people that he works with are wrongfully convicted or were sentenced as minors. In this book, Stevenson tells about one of his first cases as a lawyer defending Walter McMillian, a man wrongfully convicted of killing an 18 year old girl.
Walter McMillian was living in the town where Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, lived when he was arrested for murder. The irony that the town that became famous for a book about a lawyer who defended a wrongfully convicted black man was where Bryan Stevenson had to go to defend a black man who was wrongfully convicted cannot be ignored. Stevenson uses masterful storytelling and clear facts while taking us on a journey of his difficult battle to reverse the case. While the main story line follows McMillian’s case, Stevenson also talks about many other people whose cases he worked on.
I grew up reading many books by John Grisham and, while reading this story, I was reminded of those stories. It is written and reads like a novel, but unfortunately is reality. A movie starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson was released last year and both the movie and the book can be checked out. Also, the movie is available on many streaming services for free during the month of June.
I’ve put this book on the staff pick shelf many times. Whether you enjoy reading fiction or nonfiction, this book is for you. As the book cover states, it is ultimately a story of justice and redemption. It is one not to be missed.
Reviewed by: Rachel Maggard