lady_curmudgeon: (books)
( Jan. 8th, 2015 02:05 pm)
Life After Death, Damien Echols (hardcover) 4 out of 5 stars.

From Amazon:

"In 1993, teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr.—who have come to be known as the West Memphis Three—were arrested for the murders of three eight-year-old boys in Arkansas. The ensuing trial was marked by tampered evidence, false testimony, and public hysteria. Baldwin and Misskelley were sentenced to life in prison; while eighteen-year-old Echols, deemed the “ringleader,” was sentenced to death. Over the next two decades, the WM3 became known worldwide as a symbol of wrongful conviction and imprisonment, with thousands of supporters and many notable celebrities who called for a new trial. In a shocking turn of events, all three men were released in August 2011.

Now Echols shares his story in full—from abuse by prison guards and wardens, to portraits of fellow inmates and deplorable living conditions, to the incredible reserves of patience, spirituality, and perseverance that kept him alive and sane while incarcerated for nearly two decades.

In these pages, Echols reveals himself a brilliant writer, infusing his narrative with tragedy and irony in equal measure: he describes the terrors he experienced every day and his outrage toward the American justice system, and offers a firsthand account of living on Death Row in heartbreaking, agonizing detail. Life After Death is destined to be a riveting, explosive classic of prison literature."
I've followed the WM3 since the case first made national attention back in '93. I was especially fascinated by Echols, whom I thought got the rawest and most wrong deal of the three defendants. This book is a fascinating combination of writings he was able to retain from his captivity (most of his writings were confiscated by guards and destroyed) and of his recollections from when things happened. It's a bit rambling and incoherent at times to read, but hard time in prison will do that to a person's recollections, one would think. Regardless of that, it was a fascinating and captivating read. I want to go back and read more about the WM3 from that very wrong time in history, to relive how things went Horribly Wrong for those three misfit teens. Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three by Mara Leveritt is on my To Read list for the year; I'll either find my paperback copy of it on my shelf or go the simple route and purchase the Kindle copy of it when I'm ready to read it.
Brookville Animal Hospital sent a sympathy card that arrived yesterday. It was hand written, very heart felt, and signed by both vets. We somewhat expected one, but not with such swiftness or with such feelings behind the words within. It really touched our hearts.

Then this morning around 1100 I got a call from them: I expected it was a call to check on us to see how we all were faring, but it was that Ra's cremains were back from the crematory. WOW! Either that was REALLY FAST or Diva's and Jazz's were on the slow end at two weeks and 2 1/2 weeks respectively. J picked them up after work. J hasn't even started looking for an urn yet, largely I think because he thought he'd have a bit of time to do so. The search will start soon--the crematory sent Ra home in nice metal tin that'll serve its purpose until we can find a permanent home for him to rest in. The clay footprint did us both in--it's absolutely perfect! I wish I would've had that option for my girls when they crossed over, but alas I didn't. That leaves me a little bit sad, but what to do about it now anyway?

Ra take his earthly rest somewhere on J's bookshelf, as my girls have taken have taken their rest atop my bookshelf. We both love our cats and our books, so it's a great resting place for him. <3

Ever so glad he's back home where he belongs...

Sigh...Poor, sweet fella...


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