Blog Book Review

Book Review: Just Mercy & Black Privilege

Just Mercy By Bryan Stevenson

Wow! When I finished reading Just Mercy and all I could say was wow – because I was truly mind-blown!

This book is about Attorney Bryan Stevenson’s work in trying to release wrongfully convicted prisoners from Death Row in Alabama. His work started in Alabama but eventually expanded to other states as he began to take cases of children who were sentenced as adults and were also placed on Death Row.

The stories were hard to read because of how heartbreaking they were, especially the children’s stories. So much so that I almost stopped reading the book, but I’m glad I finished.

The story of Charlie stood out to me. He was a 14-year-old boy who went to prison for shooting his mom’s abusive boyfriend after he punched his mom so hard that she went unconscious and started bleeding from the back of her head. Charlie was sent to an adult prison since he was charged with murder, and in prison, he was rapped and sexually abused daily. 🙁

Bryan’s job was hard; he was working against the abuse of power that was/is in the justice system, and there were threats made to his and his teams’ lives.

Most of his clients were innocent, but the evidence of innocence was not presented in the initial trials, and they were placed on Death Row immediately. It was like since lynching became illegal, the death penalty was the new way of lynching.

Reading this book, I learned about Confederate Memorial Day. This is a state holiday that honors the Confederate soldiers who died fighting in the Civil War. This holiday is still celebrated today in a few southern states.

I recommend this book to everyone. And if you haven’t seen the movie – read the book first and then watch the movie.

Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It by Charlamagne Tha God

I listen to the New York City morning radio show called “The Breakfast Club” and one of the co-hosts is Charlamagne Tha God, which is why I was interested in reading this book. He is unapologetically himself and he always speaks his mind, which sometimes causes me to question the things that comes out of his mouth, but he always stands by his words. I find him funny sometimes but other times I’m just like, “what did he just say?” And that makes an entertaining morning show.

 He has another book called, “Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me. That is also on my reading list.

This book is about his upbringing and the eight principles by which he lives his life. He shares the life experiences that caused him to live by these principles.

While listening to this book, I like how he mentioned the hunger for reading was a motivation for him. This sparked a love for history, as so did hip-hop. His mom, being an English teacher, always encouraged him to read.

I can relate to him in that aspect; I love reading and history.

Reading books is so fundamental and good for us. We should all feed our brains with books.
Open your mind to the world of reading. It can take you places you would never imagine.

Another aspect in which we relate is we think the same about having our kids believe in Santa Clause, the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, etc. I’ve told my daughter they are not real because I don’t want my kids to be confused about God being real when the others are not.

Charla grew up Jehovah’s Witness, and they don’t celebrate any holidays, so he said to this day he’s not a fan of them (Santa Clause, the tooth fairy, etc.). In our home, we do celebrate holidays, just not Halloween.

He talks about working for free to get exposure, which I can relate to with my writing. I’m currently not making money from my blog, but I made it a goal to start bringing income from it this year.

After 13 years since his first internship at a radio station and after being fired four times, he landed his gig on the breakfast club. He continued to put in the work even after being fired so many times, and it worked off because he is a co-host on one of the most popular morning shows in the country.

I am motivated to continue blogging and writing because I know it will pay off. It is a hobby of mine, and I enjoy doing it, don’t get me wrong. But it would be nice if it lands me a published book or writing for a brand or magazine or something, you know.

There is a part of the book that I really liked – where he says to live your truths. If you live your truths, no one can use it against you. If you are vulnerable and honest with yourself and others, no one will be able to embarrass you for anything. I feel like I do that with my blog when I share my personal experiences. I share them to show how God has helped me in certain situations.

He mentioned that his grandmother said this, “Manners will take you where money won’t.”

Which he lives by to this day because he shared that he makes it a point when he walks into a room; he looks at everyone in the eye and introduces himself. He used the example of when he was talking to Jay-Z and Beyonce walked in and said hi to everyone, including him. He understood at that moment why she was so successful.

He finishes the book by saying that everyone has privilege and that God has a plan and purpose for everyone. You cannot let anyone stand in the way of what God has for you. And I completely agree.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to the book and learning about him growing up; although he definitely didn’t make the wisest decisions sometimes, but it’s got him to where he’s at today.

Have you read any of these books? If not, what is on your reading list? Let me know in the comments.

With Love, Heidy

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