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Publisher's Summary

Jennifer Thompson was raped at knifepoint by a man who broke into her apartment while she slept. She was able to escape and eventually identified Ronald Cotton as her attacker. Ronald insisted that she was mistaken - but Jennifer's positive identification was the compelling evidence that put him behind bars. After 11 years, Ronald was allowed to take a DNA test that proved his innocence. He was released after serving more than a decade in prison for a crime he never committed.

Two years later, Jennifer and Ronald met face to face - and forged an unlikely friendship that changed both of their lives. In their own words, Jennifer and Ronald unfold the harrowing details of their tragedy, and challenge our ideas of memory and judgment while demonstrating the profound nature of human grace and the healing power of forgiveness.

©2009 Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton (P)2009 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Injustice and redemption are overused words, but this heartfelt joint memoir justifies its subtitle." ( Kirkus)
"Touching" ( Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    172
  • 4 Stars
    62
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    147
  • 4 Stars
    46
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    17
  • 2 Stars
    2
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
    36
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Listen for the story not the writing

The story was compelling and they did a good job of building anticipation even though you know the outcome - particularly in the beginning. The writing itself was ok. The female reader was a little too sing-songy but I liked the male reader. It did prompt me to research a little more about it on the internet. I gave it for stars because of the subject matter and how sad yet positive it ends up. I'd have only given it three based on the writing itself.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tony M
  • Springfield, IL
  • 02-10-14

Incredible Story!!!

Where does Picking Cotton rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It would be in my top 10 maybe even my top 5.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Picking Cotton?

When Ronald meets goes to prison

What about Richard Allen and Karen White ’s performance did you like?

Everything,

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes, and again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Heather
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 07-24-12

Story and reading are layered and complex

If you could sum up Picking Cotton in three words, what would they be?

Heart-wrenching, heart-warming, layered

What was one of the most memorable moments of Picking Cotton?

The description of Ronald Cotton's decision to not use a shiv in prison on an intended enemy. Based on advice from his father.

What does Richard Allen and Karen White bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Richard Allen's voice is mellifluous and entrancing. He does a first-class job of presenting that his character is flawed but innocent and that he retains hos hope and dignity through and unjust system and process.

Karen White makes her character - whom readers could so easily dismiss as an antagonist - a hero in her own right. She helps us to understand how a very "good" person could be the principal agent in assisting something "bad" to happen.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened to this book while training for a long-distance walking event and could literally forget about the 100 degree heat and sweltering humidity and walk for 2, 4, even 6 hours entranced in the story.

Any additional comments?

This book explores very complex issues that arose from a true-life situation that can only be described as a no-win situation for its victims involved. But these people gutted it out and survived to go on and find true happiness and friendship together. I cried in sadness, anger, fear, and ultimately in heartfelt cheer. Who needs fiction when we have such rich and layered true life stories. Stories everybody should hear and know.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Terrance
  • Rockville, Moldova, Republic of
  • 07-29-10

A Story of Healing

This is one of those feel-good stories that cuts across racial and socio-economic boundaries. The story is well-told, though not particularly well-written. The male narration is excellent, you can almost see Cotton's face as his parts of the story are spoken a distinctive "Nor-uth Curolinuh" drawl. Worth buying at the discounted price, but not worth spending a credit on. I'm cheap.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • jlk
  • USA
  • 04-06-09

i like the idea of this memoir

but the writing wasn't engaging, and i found the book relies on the potentially shocking story. i appreciate the sentiment though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book!!!

Ron has a great heart!!! I really loved the fact Jennifer went to meet Ron when she was wrong. It's nothing like understanding someone else who is hurt.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

amazing book

I really enjoyed this book. i was encouraged to read it for a class about psychology and law. it was a read for understand the problem with eye witness testimony.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Listen!

Couldn't stop thinking about what would happen next. Great use of first person storying telling. This story is unbelievable and shocking. I am a criminal defense attorney and I teach undergrad classes. I have assigned this book to my many students who want to become law enforcement officers. not everything is as it seems!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • pwr2people
  • Saint Louis, MO United States
  • 02-11-18

Powerful

Powerful book on forgiveness, perseverance, and redemption. Demonstrates that sometimes you can experience the worst, turn it around and help others.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Reformation of our Justice System is essential!

Take the time to read it or listen to it on audio, you won't regret it...