Whatever I write in my review of this novel will not give this novel the justice it deserves. When I first started to read this novel, I wasn’t quite sure this novel was cut out for me. I didn’t want a novel that shouted injustice and cruelty at me, I wanted a novel that slowly walked me down the path towards proving their point and as I read further, I realized that this novel was doing just that and I couldn’t get Ray off my mind. I wanted to form my own opinion, I wanted to be a free thinker. As Ray walked me through his life behind bars and the ordeal that changed his life, it showed how extensive this sentence really is on an individual’s life.
Ray spent thirty years in solitary confinement for a crime he said he didn’t commit. Living on Alabama’s death row for thirty years, Ray fought behind bars for his freedom with the help of some amazing individuals. When finally released from prison, Ray was found innocent of his crimes. Ray tried to rationale with authorities thirty years ago that he didn’t commit these crimes but racial barriers and financial issues tied these crimes to Ray.
I read Ray’s story beginning with his childhood, to when he went to work, to when they charged him with the crimes, to when he went to trial, and then as they marched him off to prison. He had a been a religious man until the time he went to prison and then, he pushed God away. He later reconnected with God when a fellow inmate was going through a rough time. This is not a religious novel but this shows what type of person Ray was and how he felt about what he was going through. I liked how Ray did not wallow and blame the system for the situation he was in but rather he decided to try to make the best of it. In prison, Ray started doing research and encouraged others to fight for their rights (in a respectable manner). He started a book club in the prison to give the inmates something else to think about as life on death row was not a pleasant situation. Other inmates and the guards began to look up to Ray, to think that the morality inside this ward could improve, was amazing.
The vicious cycle Ray had to endure as his appeals were denied was discouraging and depressing. I was losing hope and I was wondering how Ray could keep his spirits up when all around him, individuals were walking “the green mile” and others were just waiting for the date when their walk would take place.
There were tears and goosebumps shed as I read this novel and I would love to read this novel again in the future. His story brought hope and peace to those who knew him and hopefully in the future, his story will bring change. I highly recommend this novel if this story is a genre that you enjoy reading.
I received a copy of this novel from St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion. I thank you greatly for sharing this title with me, it truly was a wonderful novel.