My Time Will Come: A Memoir of Crime, Punishment, Hope, and Redemption

Ian Manuel. Pantheon, $25.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-524-74852-4
An ex-con reflects on the shocking crime and even more shocking sentence that blighted his life in this heart-wrenching debut. In 1990, the then 13-year-old Manuel shot young mother Debbie Baigrie during a street robbery in Tampa, Fla. Baigrie recovered, but Manuel was sentenced to life without parole. “That would be the last day my mother and I would touch,” he writes. What followed was a harrowing, decades-long journey through Florida’s prisons, where beatings and sprayings with irritant gases were routine. The situation deteriorated drastically after he was repeatedly placed in solitary confinement for infractions as minor as asking for clean sheets, and ended up being kept there for 18 years—a deranging ordeal that prompted him to cut and burn himself. But his story took an unlikely turn after a judicial rights group took up his case. He reconciled with Baigrie, leading to his release from prison in 2016. Manuel’s account, told in prose and poetry, is gritty and unflinching (“I hear coughs and gaspings/ from multiple gassings./ And boots and fist against flesh”), and poignant throughout. The result is a gripping narrative about a man’s struggle to prove his discarded existence still has meaning. This is a stunner. (May)
Reviewed on : 04/07/2021
Release date: 04/06/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 307 pages - 978-0-593-39652-0
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