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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review: ‘The Bridge: Between ‘Cell Block A’ and A ‘Miracle’ is Psalm 91’ by Jackie Carpenter


Title: ‘The Bridge: Between ‘Cell Block A’ and A ‘Miracle’ is Psalm 91’
Author: Jackie Carpenter
No. of Pages: 115
ISBN: 978-1-61579-685-4

* This is a complimentary copy sent by the author and BookPleasures and is NOT a purchased copy.

Jackie Carpenter’s book ‘The Bridge: Between ‘Cell Block A’ and A ‘Miracle’ is Psalm 91’ is based on the true story of her son Jason Veitch, who was arrested and charged with felony murder in 2008 in the small town of Georgia. Jason, a preacher and homebuilder, was arrested in the accidental death of a suspected burglar at one of his construction sites.

As Jackie Carpenter herself mentions in many parts of the book: ‘This book is totally inspired by God. I am not a writer, but God wrote a Best Seller.’

The book says based on a true story, so we can try and categorise it under non-fiction, or maybe crime non-fiction, but from the very first page, in fact from the cover of the book itself, it is very very clear that the book is more of a preacher and a personal way of saying thanks to the super-power that the author believes saved her son in the end.

A mere 115 pages, that too in very large print and some pages fully taken up with personal pictures of the family, the book is at most a one-hour read, much less so if you are a voracious reader.

The book is a personal testimony to a family’s faith in its God, more so the belief of a mother, in this case the author herself, who continues to keep her faith intact and believes that no matter what, God will take care and protect her son. She is a strong believer in chapter 91 of the book of Psalm and throughout the devastating incidents that follow her son’s arrest, she never once wavers from her faith.

There is a spate of burglary in many of the construction sites that Jason has, and under the advice of officials, Jason sets out one night to catch the thieves red-handed and end the crisis then and there. He is advised that a police patrol team will be nearby to attend to his call the moment he sees something suspicious, and is assured that official help will be near at hand the moment he manages to confront any of the suspects. He waits outside the woods near the construction site, nervous, scared, praying that no one sees him and that help arrives soon. But no matter how much he sits and prays, a sudden turn of events leads to an accidental shooting, one that sees Jason charged with one count of felony murder, three counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of possession of a firearm during commission of a felony. As the charges are being read out, it is clear that Jason will be led away to prison, as his family, young wife and toddler son wait for him with tears.

Jackie Carpenter’s writing is more of a chronology of the events that happened in the exact order. The book is intended to tell her personal story and that is what it does, nowhere in the story do you feel it is made up, in fact it comes out as too personal, the story of a family brought closer in times of a tragedy.

This book, though well-written and with the ability to tug at your heartstrings, may not appeal to everyone, as it constantly talks about God, the Bible, the Psalm and other chapters. It will especially be difficult to relate to the same if you are a non-Christian like me, more so an atheist like me. But I chose to read the book as a personal testament of a woman whose son is being taken away to prison, and the courage she shows in the face of this horrific tragedy. Read this book as a personal journal, and if you feel the God-words are too over-powering and overwhelming, try and focus on the story instead. It’s a good story that will appeal to all, just a little toning down of the God-element would have worked a little better is all I can say.

* Debolina Raja Gupta is an international book reviewer with BookPleasures


- Debolina Raja Gupta