Unless you have a direct connection to the justice system, I don’t think it is entirely possible to understand just how unfair and corrupt it can be. Sure, there are some really great and positive things to come from it sometimes, but there are also so many terrible injustices that come from a system that has repeatedly let down some of the most vulnerable and oppressed people in the United States. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, though, gives readers a very insightful and affecting idea of the justice system by telling the stories of individuals most unfairly treated and impacted by its shortcomings.
This book has really opened my eyes and heart to the horrible treatment of so many people who are incarcerated. I found myself appalled at how these people are treated, but also moved by the stories that had a more positive outcome and by the people stuck in these situations who maintained such positive attitudes. Just Mercy is probably the best I will come to understand, as an outsider, just how bad life can get for people hurt by the system.
Stevenson weaves in the moving narratives of so many different individuals and the reader can’t help but sympathize with them – I don’t see how a person can read Just Mercy and not be so outrageously upset at what so many innocent people endure. This book is one that I think everyone should read, and I don’t say that lightly. It is such a powerful narrative and it has really made me analyze and consider our world and I think that is something that we all must do if the justice system is every going to improve.
Stevenson’s writing is emotional and clear, and the attention to detail and to telling the stories as they are is really great. His language isn’t super flowery and poetic, but it is just right for the kind of story he is trying to tell. I highly recommend this book to everyone, even if nonfiction, social issue literature isn’t usually your type, I think this book is engaging and has a lot to say to any reader who is willing to listen.
(A movie recently came out based on this book and I haven’t had the chance to watch it yet, but I think it is supposed to be really good!)
I give Just Mercy five stars because I was so moved by the stories within it and it has challenged so much of what I thought I knew (in a good way) that I think it will be a book that stays with me for a very long time, and books that can do that deserve rave reviews. Fans of true crime and social justice (any RBG fans out there??) will enjoy this book, so I encourage you, my blog readers, to check it out!