By Bryan Stevenson
Spiegel & Grau, 9780812984965, August 2015, 368pp.
The Short of It:
Haven’t seen the movie yet but the book will be one that I remember for a long, long time.
The Rest of It:
A long time ago, I was listening to a podcast and one of the people being interviewed mentioned Just Mercy as a book she would never forget. I immediately made a note to read it and then decided to pitch it for my book club to discuss. But then there was a school shooting and the meeting had to be rescheduled. Sad, but true.
So it should come as no surprise that Just Mercy is scheduled for this month’s discussion, right smack in the middle of a pandemic. I knew enough about the book to know that the topic is a heavy one. Bryan Stevenson’s fight to address Capital Punishment and how it affects minorities, the poverty stricken, and even young children, did not seem like a topic I could handle during quarantine but I didn’t want to postpone the discussion again so I dug in.
Very glad I did.
This is a book that everyone needs to read. Young, old, in school, out of school. I was expecting a very depressing read but this memoir, to my surprise, was not depressing at all. I found it to be full of hope. Stevenson’s passion for his clients and the way he often went above and beyond what is expected of a lawyer lifted me up in a way that I wasn’t expecting. Honestly, Stevenson is a form of superhero I can get behind. He is the Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and even that sounds formidable and it is.
His memoir covers many cases and challenges but centers around one particular client, Walter McMillan. McMillian had a solid alibi for his whereabouts the day a young woman was killed but it didn’t matter because the town needed a suspect and so the accusations stacked against Walter. How? Corruption, racism, people not wanting to be wrong.
When they say some people wear capes, I agree. Some do. Checkout Stevenson’s TED Talk and you’ll see what I mean.
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8 thoughts on “Review: Just Mercy”
Yes, everyone needs to read this book! It moved me so much I donated to the Equal Justice Initiative after I read it. I admire Stevenson so much. The movie is good but not as good as the book, of course.
Way to go Ti. Glad you finished this one & reviewed it despite this pandemic. I’m glad you say it’s not dark & depressing but filled more with hope. I do plan to read it this year. I am a bit of a mood reader so I need to get in the right spot … but I know when I pick it up … it’ll go and work its magic. I’ll watch the movie after I read it.
When I saw that you had this book coming up to read but were wary of it being too heavy, I thought, just start it, you’ll see, it’s soooo worth it! And you loved it! This is definitely one of those books that has stayed with me for years. It’s so important, well written, and interesting. Maybe I’ll see if we can stream the movie.
Glad you ended up reading this one. I absolutely love it… and still need to see the movie.
This one is on my list but I keep pushing it back because I imagine the subject to be heavy. Hope, I can get behind though. Will bump this up.
I think you will really fall in love the Stevenson’s work.
I haven’t heard of this book, but I don’t really read memoir
It’s technically memoir but because of the legal aspects of his story, it reads like a courtroom drama. It was actually very good and will stay with me for a long time. I head heard from many that this is a book everyone should read and I agree.