Monday, January 19, 2009

Finding Freedom: Writings from Death Row by Jarvis Jay Masters

It's time to get caught up on my posts. This is the first of two books I recently finished.

I discovered there was an Amnesty International book club at a bookstore not too far from home, but still a bit of a drive. I was so intrigued that I inquired on what the club was reading for January. I was informed Finding Freedom was the title. When I read the subtitle, Writings from Death Row, I was not sure I would proceed on. Should I wait to see what the group is reading in February? I decided to go ahead and try to read the January book.

Finding Freedom is a collection of short pieces Masters wrote and were compiled together. The copy I purchased is actually the fifth printing. Masters, who is on death row at San Quentin, is a practising Buddhist. Much of the book deals with life in San Quentin, but the final section is specifically about his interest and devotion to Buddhism.

Overall, the book is, believe it or not, an easy read that can be quite enjoyable at times. Many details, including Masters' troubled upbringing, are revealed, but not touched on in great detail. I do not know if I would recommend the book to just anyone, but it does show how someone can find hope in the most horrible of places.


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