Snapshots - #35: Marshall, American Made, The Glass Castle

The movies…
Marshall (♦♦♦♦): Black lawyer Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) is entrusted by the NCAAP to defend a black chauffeur (Sterling K. Brown) in Greenwich, CT, who has been accused of rape by his white employer. As Marshall is not allowed by the judge as legal counsel because he doesn't hold a CT license, he engages, reluctantly on both sides, the service of Jewish insurance lawyer Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), whom, with Marshall's help, will have to acquire criminal defense experience in a matter of months. But as the case is tried in court, it becomes evident that it is anything but cut and dry. Powerfully acted by Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, and Sterling K. Brown in the leading roles, Marshall treads a fine line between inspiring legal thriller and drama. On both counts it delivers in spades. Based on a true story, with race and bigotry fueling public opinion, before the apogee of the Civil Rights Movement, this accused black man is doomed from the start. A full century…

I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman (♦♦♦)

This book is an “easy” read in the sense that it is easy to follow and understand. The plot, however, is as cold as it is enthralling. Despite being a book of fiction the story lingers, unfolding seamlessly like a parent’s worst nightmare. The narrative develops in flashbacks between the year 1985 and the present.

When she was only fifteen, Elizabeth Lerner was kidnapped for almost six weeks by Walter Bowman, a young man whom she caught in a state park land near a creek, burying the body of his latest victim. Walter decided not kill Elizabeth in that moment, and drove along the highway with her in tow, pretending they were siblings. Elizabeth, a pliable girl at home, learned to live with the man, ultimately deciding to endure whatever happened in order to stay alive.

Twenty two years after those events, already married and with two children of her own, after living in England for several years, Elizabeth Lerner, now Eliza Benedict, comes back to live in Maryland, where she receives a letter from her former captor. Walter, now in death row for the rape and murder of two other teenage girls, has seen a photograph of her at a social function and recognizes her immediately. The dreaded phrase “I’d know you anywhere” leaves her breathless. Those long gone painful days that her mind has suppressed rush to the surface and this time she has to confront them.

This story had so many possibilities…It was a great premise that, in my opinion, didn’t quite deliver. The author spent too much time humanizing both victim and captor, and everyone in between. Another thing that I didn’t like about this book was that several characters had different stances toward the death penalty, as if the author had not been brave enough to venture her opinion for fear of alienating her readers.


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