Customer Review

2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Come and see what Mr Jingles can do!, 7 April 2012
This review is from: The Green Mile (Paperback)
According to the Bureau of Justice of Statistics, by the end of 2005 there were 3,145 black male prison inmates per 100,000 in the United States compared to 471 white male inmates per 100,000. Racism is still inherent to the pursuit of criminality, it seems, in `the land of the free.' This book has horrifying scenes of torture masquerading as the humane disposal of criminals. It portrays the wardens and guards as, mostly, competent and decent men, keen to keep their jobs in the time of the Great Depression in the USA. The narrator, Paul Edgecombe is in charge of the small Death Row at Cold Mountain prison and is the central protagonist of the book. A film was made of this book, and apart from not featuring (to my recollection, though I couldn't swear to it), Mr Jingles, it is faithful to the book.

When John Coffey is admitted to Death Row for the murder and rape of two small girls there is a sense from the beginning that the book is anxious to excuse him of the crime. Later it suggests that - by a huge coincidence - another inmate of Death Row is the actual perpetrator. No one in this book with a touch of the darkness in him is allowed to prosper, be he guard, warden or prisoner. John Coffey is a simple man, almost a child, were it not for his huge body, suggesting a superhuman strength. But Coffey's strengths are otherwise and occult. Here's where the book begins to falter as we are asked to believe that Coffey has supernatural healing powers. In the land of the snake oil merchant, all well and good, perhaps, but reason must be abandoned and one's belief falls apart from the moment that premise is introduced. Sometimes King repeats a couple of paragraphs at the beginning of chapters - a touch of "the story so far..." But it isn't the story so far. We read it a couple of pages ago.

Stephen King isn't satisfied with his name on the cover. Inside he pens an Introduction, a Foreword, and then an Afterword as well as a potted biography. Leaving no opportunity unmet in his vaunting vanity, one might say. The writing is excellent throughout - King has talent. One is drawn in by the writing and tempted to ignore one's strict bull detector. His story does work as an argument against the pitiless savagery of the death penalty, but in relying on the supernatural to back up his instincts for right and wrong, he leaves his readers in limbo.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Apr 2012 11:29:38 BDT
Mr Jingles does appear in the movie. Otherwise excellent review.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Apr 2012 13:33:18 BDT
Eileen Shaw says:
Thanks Aidan - I don't know why I didn't remember him. A sign of encroaching years.
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