The Innocent Man

February 10, 2009
By brian mogaka BRONZE, Dallas, Texas
brian mogaka BRONZE, Dallas, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Described by Boston Globe as a 'page-turning and chilling descent into one innocent man's nightmare (Leddy 1)', John Grisham, an accomplished author of twenty-two books has had another hit; this time a nonfiction piece condensed in seventeen chapters of suspense, thrill and sympathy.
Innocent Man is a tale of an ordinary man, Ron Williamson, falsely accused of capital murder and sent to death row. The book appeals to the reader both emotionally and logically by describing gruesome and disturbing details about Ron Williamson's living hell in the penitentiary.
Having almost similar lifestyles, such as a passion for baseball and residing in a small town, John Grisham had a great advantage in putting the story into words because he could personally relate to the victim, Ron Williamson. Being a former lawyer, John Grisham had another advantage in scathing the dark side of the justice system in America that he had not considered a big issue until he heard Williamson's breathe-taking testimony. The author was critical to the blunt investigations, ignorant prosecutors, 'junk science', poor legal representation for plaintiffs such as Ron who could not afford lawyers, the death penalty, deprived living conditions in prisons, and the mere fact that an innocent man was wrongfully convicted.
The target audience is aimed for, but not limited to anyone who has a solid opinion about the American justice system and their takes on issues such as death row, or their opinion towards the living conditions and the treatment of inmates in American prisons or even be it the general belief that an individual is 'innocent till proven guilty' To fit the broad audience, John Grisham incorporated effective diction that maintained simple vocabulary but striking descriptions.
The style of the novel is gloomy and critical which effectively fits the plot's sad nature. The author did not leap to the peak of the plot, but instead started off by giving detail on Ron Williamson's life; this allowed the reader to view Ron as a more realistic character ' it made the reader feel closer to the victim in terms of everyday experiences. Also, including the detail that he read about Ron Williams from a New York Times obituary, made the book seem even realer to the reader. However, the author was sometimes so detailed that he occasionally lost the reader's interest.
Ultimately, the author fulfilled his argument. He passed his message through a sad true tale; a message that depicts the cruelty of the American justice system. He let the public know that there are many victims just like Ron Williams, helplessly trapped behind bars for a crime they did not commit, regretting their existence like Ron did: 'I asked myself what was the reason for my birth when I was on death row, if I was going to have to go through all that, what was even the reason for my birth? I almost cursed my mother and dad-it was so bad (Grisham 351)'.
With almost all aspects of authoring tackled with obvious professionalism, The Innocent Man was described by Entertainment Weekly as John Grisham's 'strongest legal thriller yet'.

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