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Nonfiction Review: A Knock at Midnight: A Story of Hope, Justice, and Freedom by Brittany K. Barnett

Title: A Knock at Midnight: A Story of Hope, Justice, and Freedom
Author: Brittany K. Barnett
Year published: 2021
Category: Adult nonfiction
Pages: 352 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location: (my 2022 Google Reading map)USA (TX)

SummaryBrittany K. Barnett was only a law student when she came across the case that would change her life forever—that of Sharanda Jones, single mother, business owner, and, like Brittany, Black daughter of the rural South. A victim of America’s devastating war on drugs, Sharanda had been torn away from her young daughter and was serving a life sentence without parole—for a first-time drug offense. In Sharanda, Brittany saw haunting echoes of her own life, as the daughter of a formerly incarcerated mother. As she studied this case, a system came into focus in which widespread racial injustice forms the core of America’s addiction to incarceration. Moved by Sharanda’s plight, Brittany set to work to gain her freedom.
This had never been the plan. Bright and ambitious, Brittany was a successful accountant on her way to a high-powered future in corporate law. But Sharanda’s case opened the door to a harrowing journey through the criminal justice system. By day she moved billion-dollar deals, and by night she worked pro bono to free clients in near hopeless legal battles. Ultimately, her path transformed her understanding of injustice in the courts, of genius languishing behind bars, and the very definition of freedom itself.

Brittany’s riveting memoir is at once a coming-of-age story and a powerful evocation of what it takes to bring hope and justice to a system built to resist them both.

Review: Nonfiction November continues! I read this book on my trip to NY, hoping to finish it on the plane home. Well, as I got on the flight from Denver to Santa Barbara, the woman getting on the plane behind me said to the flight attendant, "Someone left this book behind and I think they might be on this flight." Well, I heard book, turned around and saw that it was my book! I didn't even know I'd left it behind. Yay! She said it sounded interesting, so when I finished the book during the flight, I found her and gave it to her to read.

I found this book to be riveting. The first bit is interesting with the author telling her personal story of growing up with a drug-addicted mother. The author described how she escaped both physically and mentally so that she could have a better life, go to college, and escape her east Texas town that was filled with racism and drugs. Barnett managed to go to college, have a career in corporate finance, and then go to law school. While there she got phone calls from folks back home asking her to help them get loved ones out of jail. She couldn't turn her back on them.

What Barnett does is help those who have been incarcerated for life without parole on first time drug charges. I knew our "justice" system was messed up, but this book shows just how unjust it truly is. Especially if you are Black. And male. And poor. Or just Black. Along the way, Barnett worked with Bryan Stephenson (author of Just Mercy), Kim Kardashian (remember seeing her posing with President Trump? That meeting was on behalf of one of Barnett's clients), and P. Diddy (she got his best friend out of prison). She works a lot on clemency, which is an interesting process all its own.

Barnett is a good story teller and she has some good stories to tell.

Challenges for which this counts:
  • Alphabet (Title)--K
  • PopSugar--Onomatopoeia in title "knock"

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