Vernon L. Oliver, still a young man, lives in a six-by-ten cell in a Florida prison. He has chosen the needle over the chair, has no desire to smell burned flesh on the day the state snuffs out his life. When his attorney suggests he write an autobiography to generate funds to cover legal fees incurred during the appeals process, Vernon sits down to pencil and paper and begins his narrative.
Miracles, Inc., Forrester's debut novel, tells the story of a charismatic slacker in love with Harley Davidson motorcycles and Rickie Terrell, a beautiful woman who quotes poetry and will not discuss her past. They live in an RV, smoke weed and drink beer, play Scrabble late into the night. His boss, a brilliant businesswoman with a far-reaching vision, offers him the chance to make more money than he ever thought was possible. He buys into the faith-healing scheme without reservation, and so begins the journey that leads to the stunning event that changes his life forever.
Contrary to news reports, I, Vernon L. Oliverbrother of Lucy K. Oliver and son of parents who raised their children on corn and Christianityam not insane. Admittedly, my attorney claimed otherwise in my trial against the great State of Florida. I played along, spewed nonsense to the psychiatrists questions, rolled my eyes and lolled my head in front of judge and jury, but in the end, I bear no ill will against the justice system. I made a series of choices that led to nowhere good and those choices landed me in a six-by-ten cell with concrete walls and a steel frame bed.
At one time, not too long ago, I was revereda man who treated his followers with kindness, with love, a man whose heart was open to all. They still send me letters, pleading in their blindness for my innocence, for they cannot believe I committed so heinous a crime. The letters come in bunches, sometimes a hundred or more a day, and Ive requested that the guard only bring a ...
Forrester's wizardry at creating a truly complex character makes reading this book a thoroughly amusing mental exercise.
(Reviewed by Donna Chavez).
Full Review (1019 words).
Death Row Syndrome
According to Amnesty International's 2009 report, the USA's 37 legal executions in 2008 placed it fourth in the world after China (1718), Iran (346) and Saudi Arabia (102). However, this ranking needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as it does not adjust for population size; and does not take into account additional executions that may have taken place away from the public eye in many of the countries listed. Having said that, it is nonetheless interesting to note that the USA is one of the few so called developed nations to maintain the death penalty in both law and practice, as can be seen by this map.
The European Court of Human Rights has condemned the death penalty as inhumane, most especially that ...
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Infused with the lyricism and take-no-prisoners storytelling for which T.C. Boyle is justly famous, this is a surprisingly rich, allusive, and non-sentimental look at the ideals of the 60's generation and their impact on today's radically transformed world.
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