Gather Together in My Name
Atria, 2008 (2008)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Barbara Lingens
ow often do we hear of black men on Death Row? In this gritty story set in seamy locales with language to match, author Price-Thompson brings to life a powerful story of one of the condemned and his extremely dysfunctional family.
riplet sons (Shadow, Shug and Shyne) are born to Della, who is totally unprepared for the responsibility and whose husband dies on the spot. Shadow dies early in an accident, and Della blames Shyne, as she has for everything else that is wrong, including her husband's death. All her love and affection is lavished on Shug. As young men, both bear the results of this behavior. Shug has been able to go to college, and is prominent in his city's politics. Shyne is a man of the streets, in and out of jail. Finally, he is convicted of killing a woman and her child and is sent to death row.
he story develops through the first-person accounts of five people who are going to witness Shynes' execution. The harrowing tale builds up to the climax, which is not only the execution itself, but what this set of circumstances has caused in the lives of these people. Author Price-Thompson has provided a powerful lens into a heartbreaking story of people living in the most damaging environment imaginable and what it means to show loyalty to the ones you love despite that background.
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