Jee reviews #JustMercy by #BryanStevenson @PenguinRandom #BlackHistoryMonth #nonfiction

Title/Author: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

In a nutshell (Publisher):


Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Seattle Times • Esquire • Time

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

Verdict: MUST-READ!

My thoughts:

After reading Ray’s story, I knew I had to read about the man who got him out of death row and back to freedom, Mr Bryan Stevenson, the lawyer that literally saved Ryan’s life.

And my, what a journey Mr Stevenson’s had had – from the very humble beginnings of finding his way in the world to saving the poor and incarcerated.

Reading his cases shocked and shook me to the core. The heart of this story evolved around Walter who was wrongly accused for the murder of a clerk in a dry cleaner’s shop. Evidence was ignored, so-called ‘witnesses’ were paid, some threatened, and evidence were fabricated to help the prosecutors to ultimately send the victim to death row. Gasp. Gasp. Gasp!

As if that wasn’t infuriating enough, there were also other cases that made my blood boil especially those in ‘All God’s Children‘. Did you know children in Pennsylvania, as young as 13 and 17, who were convicted of second degree murder, were sentenced to life with no parole because that was the only sentence for second degree murder? Trina, who accidentally caused a house on fire resulting in the deaths of two boys who were sleeping in the house, is spending her life there.

Ian, who shot a lady while attempting a robbery, was also given the same sentencing, and at 13, was sent to an adult prison in Apalachee Correctional Institution. The staff had to put Ian in solitary confinement because juveniles in adult prisons tend to be the victims of sexual assault. Each time he tried to get himself his stay was extended. He spent 18 years in there. The victim of Ian’s act pleaded for a reduced sentence for Ian, saying it’s too harsh and cruel, only to be ignored.

Many teens in the United States have been legally condemned to life imprisonment without parole or other extreme sentences, with little help or support from outside, due to the unjust systems. What are we trying to prove???

After reading these cases especially the ones with death sentences, it made me reflect, who are we to decide that a person deserves to die?? Who are we to kill? If we execute someone, even if that person is guilty, aren’t we killers/murderers ourselves?? I, like Walter, believe that we all die on God’s time.

And those kids, my, do they really deserve life imprisonment or the extreme sentences? And what about those imprisoned in adult prisons? Some too young to even fit in an adult inmate uniform!

Why do I think this is an important read? Because it creates awareness that there exists a system that is unfair mostly to the poor, women, the discriminated, and the young “a system that continues to treat the rich and guilty better than the poor and innocent”, a system that needs to be changed.

This quote, this quote right here is what scares me:
“Finality, not fairness, had become the new priority in death penalty jurisprudence.”

A poignant and powerful book. Read this. Then tell others about it.

For more of what Mr. Stevenson and his team are doing, go to

Have you read this? What did you think? If not, do you intend to read this? Please do share with me your thoughts!


11 Comments Add yours

  1. RoseMarie says:

    Wonderful review Jee. I will add this one to my TBR too 😊 I can see you’re pretty passionate about this one, I totally understand where you’re coming from.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      Thank you, Rose! You’re right. I was down right mad reading about all those cases! Especially about kids. I love kids and what the criminal justice does to them is downright outrageous!


  2. Wonderful review, Jee! I’ve had this on my Kindle waiting for me to read it for a while. I have to be in the mood to get good and angry – and frustrated and … You’ve done this book a wonderful tribute, my friend! ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      Thank you so much, Jennifer! That means a lot! ❤️😘 I hope you’ll get to read it soon! Xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rosie Amber says:

    Some terrible stories here, there must be another way. Glad this is being spoken about. Will help share your review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      Thank you so much, Rosie! 😘


  4. This sounds like a must-read for all of us. These stories are shocking! Great review, Jee 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      Thank you, Mack! ❤️


  5. Daniela Ark says:

    Ok I’m REALLY concentrating here Jee so I don’t leave one of my crazy C&P comments I sometimes leave! LOL Let’s see if I manage… 🙂

    Coincidentally I saw there is a documentary about death row prisoners on Netflix last night. I couldn’t watch it! I Don’t think I was going to be able to sleep after! Most are always poor! It’s so rare to find anyone wealthy of the death row which makes you think again about our systems. I know that if I read this book Id feel EXACTLY like you Jee! My blood would boil! And when it’s kids we are talking about… OUCH. I already feel teary and I haven’t read it! WONDERFUL review Jee! WONDERFUL <3<3

    (ok checking my comment now. It's seems good. I'll click "post comment" and pray)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jee Wan says:

      ROFL!! Your comment literally just made me ROFL! NO KIDDING!!! 🤣🤣 Now it becomes clearer why the world is so filled with evil and greed, doesn’t it! Thanks for stopping by my dear, friend! And for making me laugh after reading such a devastating book. 😘😘

      Liked by 1 person

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