The Confession by John Grisham


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I finished this book in less than two days.  It was that good.  I am a Grisham fan, but I think this may be his best book to date.  It’s possible I feel that way because I have such strong feelings about the subject matter of the book.  That subject is the death penalty.  Yes, this is controversial.   Many people have strong opinions, both proponents and opponents.  I’m no different.  My belief that the death penalty should be abolished isn’t based on any kind of religious views (although, if “thou shalt not kill” applies to people, it should also apply to our government), not because of any sympathy for murderers or rapists, but instead, it’s based on the simple question, “What if you’re wrong?  What if this person is innocent and you execute an innocent person?  How do you remedy that?”

The Confession actually had me in tears.  The story is about a young man wrongly accused and convicted of murdering a female classmate.  From the beginning, the reader understands that the young man did not commit the crime.  I think that made his suffering, sitting on death row awaiting his execution, all the more poignant.  Imagine knowing you were innocent and not being able to get anyone to believe you.  Seeing all of your appeals run their course, knowing that your execution date is getting closer and closer, and not being able to do anything to stop it.

I won’t divulge the entire story, but I will say that this book raises a lot of questions about the death penalty in our country, particularly in Texas, where they sort of have assembly line executions…very few people on death row (and face it, most of the people who are on death row are poor minorities..when was the last time you saw a wealthy white man executed anywhere?) are ever granted a stay of execution. 

The book also raised the question of why so many Christians are in favor of the death penalty.  That’s a question I’ve often asked myself, along with what would Jesus do in regards to the death penalty?  I find it difficult to believe that he would be in favor of it.  Don’t let that stop you from reading it, it’s not overly religious, but it does make you think.

I would hope that thousands upon thousands of people will read this book and question their beliefs about the death penalty, along with the really big question…what if you’re wrong, what if you execute an innocent man?



12 Responses

  1. I don’t think I’ve read any of his books. Thanks for your input on it. I’m cancelling some of my magazine subscriptions to make more time for book reading. I tend to read about the creative things I like to do, and never get around to doing them. Going to change that!

    • I have this huge pile of magazines I need to read and then get rid of…I usually read one while riding the exercise bike…then I take it to work…those people love something to read in the break room.

  2. Personally, although I am Independent politically, I am in favor of the death penalty. It may seem harsh but will criminals murder people if, instead of knowing they’ll get a cushy cell in “jail,” they’ll lose their life? Probably not nearly as many would commit such horrid crimes I believe.

    As we know from every day life, most often, the anticipation is what kills us. Well, in this case, the anticipation would be what DOESN’T kill them.

    If they’re afraid to commit crimes, we’ve done our duty, and that’s that.

    • I don’t really believe the death penalty deters prospective murderers from committing those crimes…don’t you think that most criminals think they won’t get caught? (If they think about it at all) Look at people like Ted Bundy…the death penalty certainly didn’t stop him (well, until he was caught and killed)…but my point is, he thought he was smarter than everyone else…didn’t think anyone could figure out that he was the one murdering all of those women…yes, killing him stopped his crime spree, but life in prison with no possibility of parole would have done the same. I’m all for not giving these people cushy cells…I have no objection to solitary confinement…

      • At least we’re discussing it rationally. That’s more than can be said for basically nine-tenths of the population of the U.S.

      • One of the things I’ve figured out is that it does no good to loudly proclaim your beliefs while denigrating people who have different beliefs…you’ll never change someone’s beliefs that way…one of my brothers (don’t worry, he doesn’t read anything I write) goes so far as to tell me I’m stupid for not seeing things the way he does (ultra right wing conservative)…has that converted me? Not a chance, simply reminds me of why I believe the way I do…

      • Precisely. Well said. I know way too many people on both sides of the aisle who behave just like him…

  3. I think percentage wise, there are no more Christians that believe in the death penalty than any other group of people. I have mixed feelings about it. I think there has to be definite proof via pictures, videos, physical evidence, etc. that leaves no doubt in the minds of the jurors and judge. The final judgement will be made by God, not jurors or a judge.

    • I don’t know Margaret, my view of law enforcement and lawyers is that they aren’t really interested in the guilt or innocence of a person, they just want a conviction (or a not guilty verdict, in the case of defense lawyers)…and they will often break the law to get the verdict they want…I’m not a very trusting person, am I? I keep going back to the fact that you have no way to correct the errors if you’ve executed someone.

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