In March, rounding out the year’s TV & film awards season, we read a book adapted for the screen. But first, we should mention that this awards season is discouraging. The lack of diversity hit a 3-year low. Usually I enjoy watching the Oscars, but watching the same characters award each other for another formulaic Tarantino or Scorsese film sounds like a snooze fest.
In contrast, we’re reading the New York Times Bestseller titled Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson. I first heard about this book during a fundraising event. The keynote speaker, a peer of Stevenson’s, spoke highly of his friend’s new book Just Mercy. I can’t recall his exact description of the book, but I do remember immediately adding it to my Goodreads. And that was four years ago, so it’s about time I read this one!
Stevenson is a brilliant and accomplished lawyer devoted to defending the disenfranchised, wrongfully convicted, and those trapped by a corrupt justice system. Just Mercy is the true story of Stevenson as a young attorney. It was early in his career when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative; an organization challenging racial and economic injustice and mass incarceration in protection of basic human rights. One of Stevenson’s first cases was Walter McMillian; a man sentenced to die for a murder he didn’t commit. Defending McMillian wrapped Stevenson up in layers of conspiracy and corruption that forever transformed his appreciation of mercy and justice. And that transformative knowledge and experience is bound in the pages of this book.
As of December 2019 the story of Just Mercy was released as a feature film adaptation starring Michael B. Jordan as Stevenson.
Both the book and movie seem fantastic. But like the true book lovers we are, we have to read the book first. And we hope you’ll read with us!