Damien Echols tells his story - a tale of being a poor boy in Arkansas who was sentenced to die for a crime he did not commit. The good parts were the story of his life before being imprisoned. This was interwoven with snippets of life on death row. After he is convicted, there is a lot more on life in prison. Echols focuses much on his state of mind. He is self-educated and a deep thinker, and I enjoyed this. Both his upbringing and imprisonment were depressing, but interesting. Now, my complaints. The second half of the book had so much about prison life, and the injustice and immorality of the treatment from sadistic guards. He seemed to repeat this theme and similar stories for a long time. My other complaint - he skipped almost every detail of his arrest and trial and conviction. We are told that he had an alibi for the time of the murder, but we don't hear much about why that was never brought up in the original trial. What was his lawyer like (except incompetent and eager to not anger the judge). Why was Echols picked as the scapegoat? Was he found in the wrong place at the wrong time? This book addresses almost none of this. And then suddenly there was an HBO movie about his plight. How did that come about? What changed to convince many he was innocent?
So, I heard too much about some stuff and not enough about other stuff. I was left a little bored and a little frustrated by the book's end. Echols makes a good case for the failure of the legal adversary system. As so often happens, the prosecution is more interested in a win than in justice, and I hope that books like this and PR from the Innocence Project will change things.
I'm a 50ish mom of 2 wonderful young men and work as tech support in a public middle school. I love reading with an eclectic choice of books
The story is touching, raw, and at times brutal. So much more than just the story of an innocent man. Damien tells the history of his childhood, his journal of the atrocities of our judicial system in his life on death row (not roll, lol). He has grown into an astounding man with great passion in spite of what he was put him through by continuing to study and work his brain during his 18 years of hell. HE NEVER GAVE UP! The main reason he is still alive today, that and a wonderful woman named Lori.
It helps to know the background story of the WM3 before reading this book. You can get that by watching the three Paradise Lost documentaries which are on YouTube, reading the book Devil's Knot, or just looking at the data on the internet.
There are times Echols seems to ramble and it is a bit wordy, but very good for his first time with the pen. I look forward to reading more from him and watching him grow as an author.
Personally I also want to wish him and his wife a happy life.
I prefered the audio version because Damien himself read it. It was very cool to hear him tell his story in just the way he wanted to.
My favorite part was all of his childhood memories. I also loved how enthusiastic he was about autumn and the holidays.
One scene that stuck out the most to me that I don't think I'll ever forget is the story of his mother amputating the family cat's leg.
Yes! Couldn't get enough of it.
Say something about yourself!
I have already re-listened to this book several times. I love the way Damien communicates and makes you feel like you have known him for years. The content is so extreme it would make even the most optimistic go to a dark place but Damien explains his highs his lows and everything in between during his experience as being falsely accused for more then 18 years!
it was funny! How could something so terrible have any glimmer of smiles but Damiens sense of humor and I like to say southern-isms makes you eager to hear more!
YES, it makes you think, laugh, cry, angry. I usually don't have reactions to books like this. I am truly sad that it's over. I wish he would keep writing.
please listen to this book, it will change you!!
This guys voice is so awesome. It's the perfect voice to tell his own story.
It's interesting to hear who he admires and his experiences growing up to now. If you're wanting a lot of case information I don't feel like a ton of info is here (it's definitely there just not lengthy.) I think that's the point though, to be about him and not the case.
My only complaint would be that he uses metaphors beautifully but way too often.
I loved and appreciated Damien Echol's ability to bear his soul to me through his words. It felt as though I was sitting and he was telling me his story face to face, and only to me.
I liked his honesty and the fact that it was Damien's own voice telling me his story.
I laughed and cried through the entire experience. I felt Damien Echol's emotions through his words. It made me sad and outraged for a boy, now man who is only a few years older than me. I was 15 when this happened to him and I followed the whole case closely. It was a dreadful ordeal and I am glad he has gained his freedom!
EXONERATE THE WM3!
I love biographies and autobiographies, true crime, Ann Rule, Stephen King, Herman Melville and John Grisham. I love to go to book signings and I collect first editions and signed first editions.
I loved getting to hear the voice of the accused and convicted, Damien Eckols, for once. I have followed the story, seen the documentaries and believed that these three men were innocent. A sad testament to the loss of eighteen years of life for 3 young men. The narration was superb, Damien has a very soulful voice. A obviously extremely intelligent man, just made me think what he could have done in those eighteen years. He gives a very lucid candid description of the destructive life in prison. Hope he writes/narrates more.
It kept me so engaged, that I didn't wait for a drive to the beach to listen to it. I listened in snippets everyday.
I have not read the print version yet, but regardless it is an amazing read. With Damien reading it makes it a lot more interesting.
This book is different that what I usually read. It is unique.
I felt the pain and what he went through in his words. I admire him.
There was not really any laughing, I just felt pain for what him and the other two young men had to go through for 17 years.
I would recommend this book to any reader.
I really enjoyed this book. Damien is such an articulate person and has a great voice.
His relationship with his mother.
Very articulate, soothing voice.
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!