Jessica's Reviews > The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton
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it was amazing

An Important And Accessible Book

Most Americans are not aware of the degree to which our justice system is compromised, racist, and increasingly bent to the will of for-profit corporations. The tragic true story of Ray Hinson’s conviction for a crime he didn’t commit and the subsequent 29 years he spent in a 5x7 cell on death row in Alabama before he proved his innocence and won his release, however, will force society’s eyes wide open. And it will be easy to do so, because Hinson tells an easy to follow, compassionate, shocking tale of what happened to him and how. Whether you come to this book with a curiosity about the injustices Hinson suffered or about the grace that he found and the faith that he followed, you’ll come away impressed and transformed. This is a book of suffering, of violence, of broken hearts - and one of resilience, the power of love, and the meaning of faith as well.

That Hinson was able not only to survive 30 years feet from a death chamber, but also thrive and transform many of the men he met during his incarceration speaks to this man’s great good soul and tenacity. He fights not only for his innocence, but also for the reality that he and his peers are people: men of intellect, emotion, vice, and virtue. He unpacks and reframes the narrative of hate that dominates so many of the lives that end up on The Row. He refuses to judge his fellow inmates, and even his guards. His story speaks to multiple narratives: the experiences of young black men in the post-integration era South, the crippling legacies of racial apartheid and hate, the ways in which even the most open and powerful justice system in the world has been corrupted and repurposed for agendas that have nothing to do with justice. There are subtler stories, too - the difference between the southern black experience in 1985 vs 2015, the ways in which education and loved experience has grown flimsier and more brittle in many ways over the last 40 years, the shifting demographics of death row.

There’s anger and injustice in this book, but hilarity and love and hope, too. Despite spending much of his life in a 5x7 cell, Hinson offers his readers both an unfamiliar story and a thoroughly human one. Everyone should read this book. This is America writ small in 2018: a place of shame, hate, grace, complexity - and legacies that have yet to be decided.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
April 9, 2018 – Shelved
April 9, 2018 – Finished Reading

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