The Innocent Man

February 7, 2009
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In John Grisham's, The Innocent Man, the flaws in the justice system become exploited. Ron Williamson, a washed up pro-baseball star falsely accused and convicted for a horrendous murder, landed on death row for over a decade until he was exonerated due to DNA testing. Grisham's technique, however, was not as top notch as expected. With the abundant amount of detail chapter to chapter, and the story excruciatingly making its way towards being wrapped up, Grisham struggles to keep the audience stirring with suspense.

The heartbreaking aspect of The Innocent Man is the fact that the entire story is factual. There really was a man, suffering from many different mental illnesses, being framed and falsely found guilty of a graphic rape-murder case that was regrettably not thoroughly investigated. He was conveniently their scapegoat. Not only does Grisham meticulously represent how ineffective the justice system can be, with its cutting corners and corrupted law enforcement, he embraces and illustrates the realities of this one man's intense story happening everyday to other innocent people. The award-winning author also provides enough detail throughout the novel to give the reader a visual of exactly what is occurring at specific times. However, with the different people introduced, each followed by in depth backgrounds, it becomes extremely complicated to remember each individual and their part in Ron Williamson's life, case, and tragic story itself.

The Innocent Man, excessive detail and all, is still a compelling and emotional chronicle of Ron Williamson's spiraling life. Not only does the novel give a harsh look at the inadequacy of the justice system but also society's ability to allow such a reality. Williamson had a dream and a diminishing mental status. The dream was broken and lost, but not the illness. He was the perfect victim to the worst crime; a corrupted system of governing law. Despite that this man suffered greatly and has passed, Grisham is able to keep Williamson's story and struggle alive in a powerful and gripping novel that will always speak the truth even when the truth is not accepted.





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