Having corresponded with inmates for more than 30 years now, I thought I had heard it all, but Damien gives an entirely new meaning to the prison industrial complex and the corruption and ethical problems that exist in the entire justice system (be it attorneys, judges, correctional officers, etc.).
Damien (and his two friends) certainly may have fallen victim to the most egregious wrongful conviction to date in the United States. Yet, Damien never gives up and stays strong during some very horrible circumstances.
Damien's poetic, gritty, and honest portrayal of prison life and the unjust murder case against him (and his two friends) should enlighten every man, woman or child who reads (listens to) this compelling book!
First and foremost, I am a supporter of the West Memphis Three and I believe in their innocence. I tried to read the first iteration of this book when it was called "Almost Home". I put it down because the more I read it, the less I liked Damien. It felt very much like Damien just loves Damien a little too much. I've had friends like that and I stopped spending time with them because absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that. I purchased this audiobook to see what else Damien had to say for himself and found myself a little disappointed to find that this book is essentially a rehashing (at least in the beginning). Damien is a wonderful writer and certainly knows how to paint a picture with words but the pictures he paints are of clearly realized total non-events. I realize that Damien wrote this book to paint a clear vision of his own memories, likely to keep them for himself and I'm okay with that and imagine it'll be an interesting read for some. I just kind of feel like he's talking about stuff we've all experienced and refusing to go into any of the reasons why we purchased this book in the first place. I'd imagine that this book will be the first in a series about his life and that this book is mostly about his time prior to his conviction but I find it boring. Damien has a really nice voice and I enjoyed listening to him tell his story but sometimes he seems a little too proud of himself about things that don't matter like his taste in clothes or food or holidays. It just kind of seems like the stuff a teenager would write about. I'd imagine that there is likely a part of Damien that is stunted in emotional development having had his youth taken from him. The same happens to addicts and I've seen it happen so I don't judge him for that. In fact, I commend him for being self-taught in a variety of subjects while living under such harsh circumstances.
What made me shut the book off in the second part was his disgust for fat people. Over and over again he describes how disgusting he finds someone's "fat belly" or infers how much "fried chicken" someone eats but then he goes on to brag about his own appetite for junk food. Somehow he's above criticism? I shut the book off at exactly the point where he says that women in West Memphis are "not smart enough to take care of themselves so they don't turn into sexless blobs". Just why? I also found it abhorrent that he constantly has to talk about how little he cares for Domini and how he just brushes his sister's molestation under the rug as an alleged non-issue. I just see no compassion for others in Damien. His concerns are with him alone. He shows little to no compassion for anyone and only revels in how other people feel about him. I kind of feel like "he doth protest too much" when it comes to his turns in the psych ward or his arrests. I understand the "Satanic Panic" that was going on in the early 90's and have sympathy for how that has impacted this case. I have a lot of friends who are "unique" in the same exact way that Damien is and I would hate for that "individuality" to throw any of them on death row.
I wouldn't read another book by Damien because this just wasn't interesting. At at this point, I've given him two shots. I think he would be successful at writing fiction and I would love to listen to him narrate another book that someone else wrote as I found his voice to be quite pleasant.
I want to make it clear that I wish Damien well and am so happy that he was released. If Jason Baldwin writes a book, I will definitely read that. I am really into Jason's positive attitude and I would love to hear his side of things. Good luck in the future if any of you (WM3) ever read this!
I am a miracle worker. Doing what I can to choose love over fear.
The honestly. I never heard of his case.Still this book alongside "The end of your life book club" and "The help" have a special place in my heart his warm voice
Makes me shiver. This man is a modern Mandela. The difference? He is not ready to forgive yet. His narration is perfect and raw.
Damien and jason.
His raw and calm honesty
His story about the priest on a motorbike.
You.need this audiobook.
Didn't read the book, but I would say yes, it was such a journey to go on with him.
Damien, he was captivating in his ture life story telling.
No, I felt I needed time out, I can't even imagine how he felt or survive.
The writing was just so patronizing. Seemed like every sentence was stretched to add vocabulary that just seemed fake and overly "cool". Everything was eye rollingly exaggerated (not the story, the writing). Over used adjectives to the point I turned it off. Clearly needed a writer to come on and co write this with him.
He was ok and read it in his voice but it was hard to follow at times as his accent and tone just felt too soft. Not a knock here just my experience.
If you are a loyal fan of Damiens you will like this book. If you buy this blindly I can't see anyone enjoying it for it's own merit as a story.
I followed and supported Damien for a very long time. I donated to the site to help his cause, but the way he's acted since getting out of prison has just turned a lot of us off. He only seems to have time for the famous and seems to have turned on Jason for wanting to tell his story as well. He comes off as a selfish kid who thinks only he was the wm3. Jason has every right to claim some of the light cast on this case as he ultimately went to jail for Damien and refused a plea deal to get out of jail for Damien and now because he's involved in a movie about the case Damien turns on him? So many came together to support the WM3 but now many have started to doubt Damiens sincerity as he has turned into Mr. Hollywood. It's a shame. I gave this book a chance hoping Damien could give me some sincerity and make me believe in him again. He failed.