As I found myself reading this book, I experienced something that I had never felt before. It was stronger than compassion or sympathy. It was the feeling that I could sit and read something this great and understand so much, even though it wasn't happening to me. Throughout my reading, I felt as if I was there, watching from the sidelines, screaming to the blacks, and feeling their pain as they were constantly being oppressed and held back by white people. This book is an excellent illustration of how horribly some blacks were treated in a time when there was no equality.Jefferson, a young black man in his early twenties, is sentenced to die in the electric chair. He was judged unfairly and had not committed the crime he was now going to die for. Angry at the world, he wouldn't accept anyone into his life. A friend of Jefferson's godmother, Grant, helps Jefferson to overcome his fears and walk like a man. They become great friends, and both learn a huge lesson from one another. At the end of this story, Jefferson proves to everyone, even white men, that he is not an animal, but a man, a strong man, who loves his family.Reading this story, in a sense, has opened my eyes to how cruel this world can really be - a lesson I will use for the rest of my life. Others should read A Lesson Before Dying so that they can experience what I did
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.