Hi, my name is Kim and I am addicted to books. See? I can admit it!!
This is outside my usual realm of reviewing, but definitely NOT outside my personal reading interests. So when I had the opportunity from Penguin to read this, I jumped at the chance.
Like much of the country, I followed the case of the West Memphis 3. I have seen the documentaries produced by HBO (at the time of this writing, all three are currently on HBO Go), watched the movies, and read much about the case. I have to wonder if perhaps the authors and publishers expected that any readers would be fairly familiar with the story because there is almost no background on the story of the crime and case. I think perhaps a bit of background would have been helpful, especially for readers who are not as familiar with the story, or even those of us who do have some knowledge.
This is a collection of letters between Echols and Lorri, the woman who would become his wife. Most of the book, and the heftier bulk of the letters are from the earlier few years of their blossoming relationship, before much of their communication moved to the phone and prison visits. What I found most interesting is the tone of the letters. There were times that they read almost like teenage love. I am fascinated by the psychology of criminology and inmates within the prison system and this had me thinking about the psychology of the two. Damien was imprisoned while he was still a teenager, his social development essentially halted the moment he was incarcerated, stunted before ever entering the system. But Lorri is more than a decade older, educated and a professional. The tone of her letters was often younger than even his, which often gave me pause.
I don't judge love in any form, but there was something almost obsessive about theirs that was somehow both childlike and dark at the same time. I give them both kudos for putting their innermost thoughts out their for the world to see and to judge.
Things to love...
--The inner look at an unlikely love relationship.
Things I wanted more/less of...
--More background on the case itself as it progressed through the years.
--More post-prison life. These are interesting people and I would like to know more about their lives now.
This is definitely not the type of book that has a wide or universal appeal, but it is a fascinating collection of writings. Anyone interested in the WM3, Damien Echols, or the odd relationship one has with an inmate would enjoy this.