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CAUTION: SPOILERS COMING!!
If you are a fan of Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series, do yourself a favor and pick up the third book, King’s Cage. As with Glass Sword (book two), King’s Cage, picks up right where book two left off with Mare taken prisoner by King Maven. Of course, the Maven - Mare - Cal love triangle continues and we learn that Maven has no intention of killing Mare, but rather wants to keep her around as his pet. He forces Mare to deliver a speech denouncing the Scarlet Guard and imploring newbloods to surrender themselves to King Maven for protection. This plan works to an extent, but ultimately doesn’t do the damage Maven intends. Meanwhile, Maven’s court is in open revolt against him with many of the powerful houses, including Evangeline’s House Samos, leaving Norta and forming their own alliances and kingdoms. Of course, storms are a-brewing and Maven’s reign is threatened on multiple fronts. I won’t give away too much more but you’ll have to read the book and see what happens! Also, here’s the book trailer for this book...it’s pretty creepy, but it will definitely get you excited to read Kings Cage.
While you definitely won’t be disappointed, there is a major difference between this book and the first two that threw me at first. While the first two books are narrated exclusively by Mare, the third book SWITCHES NARRATORS!! Yes, I said it, the book SWITCHES NARRATORS between Mare, Cameron, and….EVANGELINE! I’ll give you a minute to pick your jaw off of the floor. … What’s crazier is that, after reading her parts, I actually like Evangeline. I know, I know, if you’ve read the first two books you’re world is officially turned upside down right now but it’s true.
Ok so, why does Victoria Aveyard decide to switch narrators? After all, things were going pretty well with Mare narrating the first two books, why change things? I’ve thought about it long and hard (I actually put the book down for a few weeks when I came to the first Cameron chapter) and I’ve come up with a few reasons for this. First, while Mare is stuck as Maven’s prisoner there is no way to know what is going on with the Scarlet Guard unless we have another narrator. Cameron is actually a good choice because she’s not a big fan of Mare, Cal, or the Scarlet Guard at the end of book two or the beginning of book three so she tends to reason things out a little better and with less emotion than Cal or even Farley would. Plus, she gives some good perspective on Mare’s character which helped me to like Mare a little more. We see Evangeline, for the same reason - to get information that Mare doesn’t have access to. Without Evangeline’s narration, it’s impossible to know what the houses that have broken away from Maven are plotting and that information is crucial to the plot. Second, if the whole story was narrated by Mare, honestly, it’d be pretty boring. She spends a lot of the first half of the novel bound by silent stone and reading books. Switching up narrators keeps it interesting.
Overall, I’m a fan of the switch in narrators, and I hope it continues in book four. And yes, it seems as though there will be at least one more book in the Red Queen saga. Aveyard couldn’t quite wrap things up in three books, and I, for one, am quite alright with that.
I know we read a chapter from Sherman Alexie’s novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, in class, but after reading that I decided to pick the book up again. I read it once about five years ago and I remember really liking it, and something about the way Alexie writes this story drew me in yet again. TATDPTI is about a kid named Junior who lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington. Like many Native American’s, Junior’s family struggles with money, alcoholism, and depression, and Junior struggles socially as well. He’s smart and he tries and he wants to do something with his life someday, however, he feels very trapped on the reservation. He sees his parents and older sister going nowhere, and he fears he will suffer the same fate. As he’s about to start high school, Junior decides he’s had enough, and makes the choice to leave the reservation and attend the all-white high school in Reardan, a small town about 22 miles outside of the reservation. He thinks this move will help him to make something of his life. He finds himself the only Native American at Reardan and on the reservation, everyone considers him white. Junior becomes an outsider not only at his new school, but on the reservation as well. The novel follows Junior through his freshman year of highschool as he deals with normal high school things, like falling in love and having his first girlfriend, and not-so-normal highschool things, like attending three funerals within several weeks of each other.
In writing this post, I would be remiss if I did not disclose the controversial nature of this book. Suffice to say, this book is not for everyone. Pretty much since it was published it has been on the banned book list. There are plenty of reasons for this, foul language and violence being just a few. So, why bother with this book? Well, I wouldn’t have read it if I thought it was one of those books that uses foul language “just because”, or that includes violence for shock value alone. In this case I believe that the somewhat controversial aspects of this book are included because it keeps the story realistic. There is no way you can have a character go through all of the things that Junior has and not let him curse the world at times. It’s this realistic, raw, and gritty approach to the story that is - in a way - refreshing to readers. They appreciate the vulnerability of Junior, who will punch his best friend in the face in one sentence and begin to cry about it in the very next. We can relate to this character because, sometimes, we are him. We all have moments where we feel exposed, living on an emotional roller coaster. We have those moments where just get so overwhelmed we feel like a volcano about to erupt. We’re human.
WARNING: SPOILER ALELRT!!
If you haven't read Red Queen yet, but plan to, do not read this blog post!!
As you may have guessed from the above spoiler alert, I've just finished reading the second book in Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen trilogy, Glass Sword. The novel pickes up right where Red Queen leaves off with Mare waking up in her brother Shade's arms. Originally presumed dead, it turns out Shade has actually been on the run, discovering that he too has powers and is being hunted down as a result. Shade has joined the Red Guard's upper rankings and Mare and Cal quickly join him. However, their help is not reaidly accepted by those who still see Mare as a silver pawn, and Cal as the silver king. Mare, however, has no time for the Red Guard's distrust and quickly sets in motion her new plan of rescuing others like herself, that are now in danger of being hunted by King Maven. Just because Maven's turned against Mare, doesn't make him any less in love with her, and his quest to capture her and those like her becomes a personal vendetta, leaving Mare to question her own feelings and reasoning.
While different, Glass Sword lives up to expectations, giving us much more than many readers bargained for. However, some readers that loved Red Queen have come away saying that Glass Sword was a disappointment. While I don't agree, I have a theory as to why this happens and it all has to do with Mare's character changes. While in the first book she was still fiesty and took care of herself and those around her, she was still unsure of herself and dependent on Cal, Maven, and others to feel confident. However, in Glass Sword, she becomes a completely take-charge, make no apologies kind of person. Through the plot, we can see how this is a necessary development in her character, but reader's who really liked the romance dynamic in book 1 may be turned off by this development. While she still needs the support of Cal and others to defeat King Maven, she doesn't need them to pat her on the back every ten minutes either. As far as a relationship, she can take it or leave it. And if it affects her mission, she's leaving it.
As you can imagine, this does a little bit of damage to the love story angle of the plot. Now, all couples have to go through tourmoil, but Mare and Cal are going through a lot. It's no wonder that they aren't able to have a loving relationship. By the end of the novel, it seems that they really can't stand each other, and while that might be a little disappointing to some readers, it really sets us up for a wonderful third installment. I can tell you one thing, I'll be pre-ordering King's Cage and counting down for it's Feb. 7th release!
Blame Hurricane Matthew and the lack of power for 5 days, but somehow I forgot to post my review of Yann Martel's Life of Pi when I originally finished it. Well, ya know what they say, better late than never. So, without further adieu, I give you this long overdue blog post:
I just finished Life of Pi by Yann Martel, and, though I rarely (never) say this, I think the movie was much better than the book. For those of you that haven't seen the movie or read the book, Life of Pi, is about a young boy from India whose family owns a Zoo. Pi Patel grows up learning from and loving this little slice of heaven. Then, for political reasons, his father and mother decide to sell the zoo and move to Canada. They secure passage from India to Canada on a Japanese freighter. For unknown reasons, the freighter sinks in the middle of the Pacific ocean. Only Pi survives, making his way onto one of the life boats. He is joined by an injured Zebra, a hynea, an oranatang, and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. For obvious reasons, Pi soon finds himself left with only Richard Parker as a companion (because RP eats the other animals). Pi must learn how to survive in impossible conditions, all while learning how to tame a Bengal tiger, one of the most dangerous predators on earth. Pi spends more than 200 days lost at sea before he is finally rescued, but the majority of the story concerns his experiences while on the lifeboat with Richard Parker. At the end, Pi tells his story to the Japanese company that owned the freighter and they don't believe him. He then retells the whole story, but instead of animals with him on the lifeboat, there are other passengers from the crew. The readers are left to wonder if Pi's story was true, or simply allegorical.
So, why do I say that the movie was better than the book? Well, for those of you that have seen the movie, the graphics in it are absolutely stunning. Probably some of the best cinematography I've ever seen. In fact, in 2013 the movie won a myriad of awards including the Academy Award for Best Director, Best Visual Affects, Best Cinematography, and Best Special Visual Affects. So when I say the movie is visually amazing, I'm not alone in my thoughts. But the reason the cinematography has to be so amazing is becuase, not a lot happens in the book in terms of action. Most of the book is Pi's inner thoughts about how he's surviving. He describes the amazing things he sees, but those things are much better actually seen than read about and imagined. The book also seems somewhat disconnected and random. For example, an obscene amount of time is spent explaining how Pi got his name. It's very interesting to read about the story, but it is in no way connected to anything else in the novel so it seems really random. Also, toward the end, it seems like Yann Martel really wanted to have an even 100 chapters, so some of the chapters included are really pointless. For example, Ch. 97's entire contents are the words, "The story."
Now, I'm fully aware that my opinion of this story is generally not shared by others. I've heard plenty of people remark, after reading this book, that it was "so deep" and that they really enjoyed the allegorical implications at the end of the novel. Well, that's all fine and good, but as for me, I felt cheated. Why did I just read 300 pages only to find out that it wasn't true? Or maybe it was true. The reader is left to wonder. Well me, I like to know where I stand, so being left to wonder if I just wasted my time reading this story where in the end the author is like "just kidding" - well it doesn't sit well with me.
So, Life of Pi, to read or not to read. Honestly, if you like to think deeply about what you're reading and being left to wonder then knock yourself out. If not, watch the movie. Trust me, it's good.
I decided to read Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard after it was recommended to me by a number of students. Let me just say I am SO glad I did. I couldn't put the book down, even getting up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday to finish reading it (I know, I'm a loser). Red Queen is set in a futuristic society where one's blood determines their status. Red's are regular humans, like us and Silver's are gods (or humans that have evolved into gods) and have supernatural powers such as the ability to manipulate fire or read minds. Reds have become slaves to the powerful Silvers, who oppress them at every turn. The Silvers are ruled by a monarchy and want for almost nothing, while Reds are barely able to put food on the table. Silvers live in excess while Red's starve to death.
Red Queen follows Mare Barrow, a Red who has learned theivery as a means for providing for her family. When she pick-pockets a boy who she assumes is a servent, she finds herself being summoned to the castle. She thinks she is going to be punished, but ends up getting a job as a servent for the castle - a job that will provide much better for her family than pick-pocketing does. Imagine her surprise then, when she realizes that the person who gets her this job is the boy who she tried to steal from, and is no Red at all, but the future Silver king. When she sees him presiding over the Queenstrial battles, she is so shocked that she loses her footing and falls into the arena. She should die from the electrical shock of the lightening dome that protects spectators for the gladiators in the arena. Instead, lightening shoots from her hands, revealing to Mare an unknown power of being able to control electricity. But, Mare is a Red. She shouldn't have powers. Now Mare finds herself in a predicament. She's a Red, but she has powers like a Silver! Her existence threatens the power of the royal family and as a cover, they invents a story for Mare, calling her the long lost daughter of an ancient Silver family. You know what they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Mare finds herself now living in the world of the Silvers, pretending to be something she's not - a Silver. One drop of her red blood could cost her life, and she has enemies everywhere she turns. Who can she trust and how is she going to make it out alive? Read and find out.
While none of us live in the world of Mare Barrow, we can all relate to her main conflicts in the book. Essentially, she is trying to fit in where she don't belong. She doesn't always know who she can trust, and at times she feels betrayed by those she thought she could trust. Sound familiar? While the stakes might be higher for Mare (her life), we can all relate to this feeling of not belonging, not knowing who to trust and feeling betrayel. Whether it's in school, with our friends, or even our family, we all have those moments where it seems like the world is out to get us. In those moments it's hard to know where to go or who to trust. Betrayel is a feeling we can all relate to at some point or another in our lives. If you haven't already, it's likely that at some pointin your life, you will feel betrayed by someone. Whether it's a friend who promises to keep your secret and then doesn't, or something more serious than that, at some point we will all feel that gut-wrenching disappointment. When we do, like Mare, we will wonder who can we really trust. This is why this book was so interesting to me. While I don't live in Mare's world exactly, I can relate to the feelings that she's having as she endures the conflicts of this novel.
This novel could be considered dystopian literature, and it's one reason I decided to read it now while we are doing our dystopian novel studies. As we discussed in class, one feature of dystopian literature is the relatability of characters to young adult readers like yourselves. YA readers like that the main characters in these novels tackle problems head on and without regret. We want to emulate their actions in our own lives (obviously with less drama and death, but with the intent of standing up for our beliefs). Much like Katniss Everdeen and Tris in Hunger Games and Divergent respectively, Mare Barrow gives readers a character to relate to, look up to, and ultimately root for. So, if you're in the mood for an action packed book that will keep you flipping the pages, pick up Red Queen and give it a read.
Over the Thanksgiving break, I decided to pick up an old favorite, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I've read this book a number of times, and every time I read it, I find something new I didn't notice or that I forgot about. Pride and Prejudice is about the Bennett sisters, specifically the second eldest, Elizabeth Bennett. Because they have no brother, once their father dies, his fortune and their home will go to their closest male relative, their cousin Mr. Collins. In order to avoid homelessness and complete destitution, the girls must make good marriages. Unfortunately, living in the English countryside doesn't give them a whole lot of options. They feel very fortunate when, in a stroke of luck, a wealthy gentleman moves into a neighboring mansion. Elizabeth's sister Jane immediately falls for their new neighbor, Mr. Bingley. Unfortunately, with Mr. Bingley comes Mr. Darcy, whose pride and haughty nature make him unpopular in the countryside. Elizabeth immediately dislikes Mr. Darcy. It would be safe to say she can't stand him, so imagine her surprise when he asks her to marry him! Elizabeth rejects him on the spot, but as the story goes on, she starts to wonder if maybe she didn't make a terrible error in judegment. Is Mr. Darcy really so bad? You'll have to read it to find out.
So, why, you may ask, do I love Pride and Prejudice so much? Well, it's because of Elizabeth Bennett. She might not seem like it by today's standards, but for her time, she's a rebel. To me, she’s the original feminist working within the confines of her society to bring about change. Elizabeth doesn’t just accept her lot in life with complacency. Instead she’s feisty. She speaks her mind. She turns down marriage proposals even knowing that her future is uncertain because she wants something better for herself in her life. She tells Mr Darcy, "You could not have made me the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it," (131). Harsh.
She stands up to wealthy heiresses who don’t know how to mind their own business, such as Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Lady de Bourgh says to Elizabeth, "Miss Bennett I am shocked and astonished. I expected to find a more reasonable young woman." She says this because Elizabeth refuses to just bow down and do what she says. Lady de Bourgh isn't used to people standing up to her, but Elizabeth takes the challenge without batting an eye.
However, Elizabeth knows when she’s made a mistake and she takes responsibility for them. For example, when she learns that she's made a mistake in supposing Mr. Darcy to be a prideful man and realizes that he's actually quite honorable, she spends the remainder of the novel trying to make amends for it. In a word, she’s awesome and a role model for girls both now and in the 1800s.
Alright , don’t judge me. I’ve just finished reading The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks. Yes, I said it, Nicholas Sparks. Before you go all crazy and start doubting my judgment as a literature teacher, let me just say that I found little to know literary value in this book. However, there is some. Was it predictable? Yes. Did it follow the same plot line as every other Nicholas Sparks book? Yes. But, was it entertaining? Yes, it was. I’ll say one thing for the guy, he’s nailed down a formula for romance novels that works. So why did I pick up this cliché chick lit book? Well, every year I try to complete the 40 book Challenge, and every year I get stuck trying to find a North Carolina author to read, and well, the book was available at the library so I checked it out.
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of reading Nicholas Sparks before (and sadly, I’ve read my fair share), I’ll go ahead and give you the plot line of this book (and for that matter, basically every other book he’s ever written). Mysterious vagabond, Logan Thibolt (pronounced Tebow) arrives in the small North Carolina town of Hampton with his German Sheppard, Zeus. Thibolt’s arrival in Hampton causes lots of questions. First, he claims to have walked all the way from Colorado with only his dog and his backpack. Second, he has a photograph of Elizabeth, and no one knows why. Elizabeth has lived in Hampton all of her life. Elizabeth has a son, Ben, and a jealous ex-husband, Sheriff Keith Clayton, who’s continually running off any men she tries to date. Thibolt has come to Hampton in search of Elizabeth after he found her picture on his first tour in Iraq. He thinks the photograph has kept him safe and he wants to thank her. Predictably, he meets Elizabeth and they fall in love, but he doesn’t get around to telling her why he’s come to Hampton. Clayton finds out and drama brews. I won’t spoil the ending, but, if you’ve read any other Sparks’ novels you can probably figure it out.
So, this seems like the perfect time to have a discussion about archetypes, what they are, and why authors use them. Archetypes are characters that you come to know because they play the same or similar roles in every story they are in. For example, the trusted side-kick such as Batman’s Robin, and Sherlock’s Watson, play a very similar role in both stories. They are there to assist the hero and keep him or her out of trouble. They always have the hero’s back. I’m sure if you think about it, you could come up with a long list of trusty side-kick characters. That’s because that character is an archetype.
Nicholas Sparks is a big fan of using archetypes in his writing. Almost every story he writes has the mysterious or misunderstood newcomer whose arrival sparks controversy and upsets the status quo. There is also the jealous/violent ex whose presence in the story serves to provide the main conflict. Generally because said mysterious newcomer falls in love with the sweet-natured, but also internally suffering all-American girl who happens to be the ex of the jealous/violent ex character. Now, not all of Sparks’ novels use these archetypes, but enough do that it’s safe to say he likes to use them.
So, why do author’s like Sparks use archetypes in their writing? Well, to be honest, it saves the author a lot of time in the novel that might otherwise have to be used to explain these characters. As readers and consumers of stories, we’ve subconsciously started to expect these archetypes and when they show up in a story, we already know a lot about them. We don’t question the trusty side-kicks loyalty because we’ve become accustomed to this character and his/her role in the story. We inherently know that the jealous ex-boyfriend is going to be the villain because, well, he always is. Therefore, by using these archetypes in their stories, authors save a lot of time on having to explain backgrounds and plot points because they are generally understood.
So, while not necessarily a book I’d recommend to all readers, I will say that if you like Nicholas Sparks books, you’ll like this one too. While slightly predictable, and similar to other’s he’s written befo
For years, I've watched students read graphic novels and thought, I should read one of those, but never did. Well, I've finally done it. I've read my first graphic novel, and I must say, my introduction into the genre was quite pleasant. So much so, that I'll most likely read another one soon. For my first graphic novel, I chose American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. I chose this particular graphic novel for two reasons. First, it had been recommended to me by several people including a student of mine. Second, it was on the bookshelf at the library. That being said, I highly recommend this graphic novel, especially if you, like me, have never read one before.
American Born Chinese follows three story lines. The first is of young boy Jin Wang who finds himself the only Asian student in his new school and faces the xenophobia of the other students at his school. All Jin wants is to fit in and have friends. The second storyline follows the Monkey King who desperately wants to be seen as the all powerful god that he is, but everyone sees him as just a monkey. Third is Danny, an all-American basketball player with an embarrassing Chinese cousin who visits every year. His cousin causes so much social damage that Danny is forced to switch schools at the end of every school year. Believe it or not, all three strands of this story find themselves woven into one larger story, creating a very interesting plot with a universal theme.
What these three stories have in common, and why I think this story is so popular, is the theme. All three stories touch on the theme of being happy with yourself and who you are, and not trying to be something you aren't. This is such a universal theme that it was hard not to see myself in the story as I read. But how can I relate to this story? I'm not remotely similar to any of the characters. Except that I am in one way - in fact we all are. We all have times where we wish we were something that we aren't or that we had things we don't have. Whether it's longing for straighter hair, better athletic abilities, or more friends, we all can relate to wanting things we don't have. We know what's it like to be embarrassed about something too. We know that feeling of wanting to crawl under the covers and hide until everyone forgets what we've done. So, the reason this book is so relatable has nothing to do with it's characters or even what happens to them. It's that we can all empathize with how they feel. It also lets us know that we aren't alone in these feelings. (Even though we tend to think we are). And it reminds us to be happy with who we are, because there is only one me and only one you - and we're pretty cool.
I picked up the book, Looking for Alaska, because it was written by John Green. To date, I've read three John Green novels. Two have disappointed me and one is arguably the best book I've ever read. Unfortunately, this book was one of the disappointments.
So why the disappointment? Well, as I read Looking for Alaska, I couldn't shake the feeling that I had read the book already. I was sure I hadn't but the plot line just seemed so familiar. The story is told by Miles Harper, an awkward kid who's never really had many friends at his school in Florida. He convinces his parents to send him to Culver Creek boarding school in Alabama, telling them that he is searching for his Great Perhaps (and what that is - no one really knows). At boarding school he quickly befriends his roommate, Chip "The Colonel" Martin. The Colonel nicknames Miles "Pudge" (because he's so skinny) and introduces him to his friends Takumi Hikohoto and Alaska Young. Alaska is beautiful, moody, mysterious, and totally out of Pudge's league. Predictably, Pudge falls head-over-heels in love with Alaska. Toward the middle of the semester, the four friends plan a crazy prank that they carry out together in the middle of the night, and shortly thereafter, Alaska disappears leaving Pudge to spend the rest of the school year wondering what really happened to her.
So what do you think? Sound familiar? Perhaps a bit like the plot of Green's later book, Paper Towns? Both books deal with a sort of awkward/nerdy boy falling for a beautiful, moody, and mysterious girl who is way out of his league but who he is friends with. Both novels have a night full of pranks in which said nerdy boy and mysterious hot girl pull off the pranks together - creating a bond between the two characters. And BOTH novels deal with said hot girl disappearing out of nowhere after which said nerdy boy pines over her disappearance for the rest of the novel. And now, for the disappointing part - neither novel provides much in the way of a resolution. They both sort of end with the nerdy boy, Pudge in this case, essentially saying 'oh well I guess I'll never really understand why she left' and then walking away from the situation.
REALLY JOHN GREEN!?!?!?!?
Ok, so, if you couldn't tell, this book disappoints me because at the end the whole journey just seems so pointless. The fact that the same writer has done this to me TWICE started to bother me, so I did some digging and I found that John Green had a similar experience in HS to the one that Pudge goes through. Looking for Alaska was John Green's way of trying to make sense of what happened to him when he was younger. I think it's safe to say that he really didn't make sense of it, because four years later he wrote Paper Towns with an eerily similar plot line and the same disappointing ending. I'm not sure what Green has in the works for now but I'm going to have to take a bit of a break from him. There is only so much disappointment a girl can take. Until next time, happy reading!!
Whew - it's been a while since I've posted but I've been busy reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and let me tell you, this book is not for the faint of heart. While it IS an amazing read and I highly recommend it, get ready to really start questioning our criminal justice system. Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer who specializes in overturning wrongful convictions of death row inmates. His book, Just Mercy, is a nonfiction retelling of how he got started working with death row inmates and presents to the reader some of his most heartbreaking cases. The book mainly follows the case of Walter McMillian who has been wrongly accused of a murder and placed on death row. Once Stevenson starts looking into Mr. McMillian's case, he uncovers a series of cover ups and fabricated evidence that was used to secure a guilty verdict. Never mind that Mr. McMillian has about 30 people that were with him at the time of the murder and can attest to his innocence, McMillian still finds himself on death row. Throughout the novel, Stevenson revisits McMillian's story, while taking every other chapter to describe another case he's working on, giving the reader a good idea of what it must be like to be a lawyer (being pulled in 30 different directions at once). I won't spoil the ending for you, but I will tell you it's a very interesting, if not intense, read.
I've got to admit, reading this book took me outside of my comfort zone a bit. Usually, when I pick up a book to read for pleasure, I like something entertaining. I like to escape in my reading. This book is NOT that book. I knew when I picked it up that it was going to be a hard book to read. I'm very interested in social injustices, but generally find myself better equipped to handle an article on the subject rather than an entire book. Reading a novel that is entirely dedicated to exposing corruption and wrongful treatment of innocent people is gut-wrenching at times. I found myself having to put the book down and give myself a break from the heaviness of it.
That being said, I am so glad I read this book because I learned SO MUCH from it. Questions I'd never even considered before have now become things I think about on a regular basis. In Language Arts, I've been known to say that we've got to talk about the hard stuff if we want to make a change. Reading this forced me to think about some of the hard stuff (and don't be surprised if some of the topics addressed in this book become the topic of an AOW or a seminar in the near future). Reading this book made me realize a few things. First, wrongful convictions are more common than we would like to think. Second, our justice system tends to favor the wealthy and privileged. Finally, more people need to be aware of these issues if we are ever going to make any positive changes.
So, would I recommend this book, absolutely, but with one caveat. If you do decide to pick up this book, do so with the understanding that it is nonfiction, it is real, and it can be heavy at times. However, as informed citizens we realize that sometimes we have to talk about the hard stuff in order to make a change.