The Innocent Man by John Grisham

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John Grisham's first nonfiction novel, The Innocent Man, is a suspense-filled story about Ron Williamson; a young man with a promising future as a baseball star. But fate had different plans for Williamson as he injured his shoulder, preventing him from ever pursuing his career in the professional league. This began a downward spiral for the small town athlete as he slipped into drunkenness and schizophrenia, a combination that made him out to be the perfect suspect for the rape and murder of cocktail waitress Debra Sue Carter. Though Williamson was accused of this crime, there was no true evidence against him, creating the central conflict throughout the novel.


A law man himself, Grisham was inspired to write this novel to expose the flaws of the United States Justice System. His knowledge on the subject is evident through the extensive detail included in the processes that were necessary to indict Williamson of the charges. Grisham's background was also helpful in giving the reader a well qualified point of view of Williamson's case as well as the errors made by local authorities in their false accusations.


The Innocent Man is not necessarily intended to change the judicial branch in any way, but perhaps to open the reader's eyes to the fact that our law system is not perfect and sometimes causes innocent people, like Ron Williamson, to suffer. Though this can be disturbing, it is a reality that Americans must accept, making this novel capable of capturing the interest of any reader.





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