This book is a story of the man Ronald Cotton, accused of Jennifer Thompsons rape. As such, this is the journey of a man seeking justice and reconciliation for a crime he was wrongfully accused of. The testimony of Jennifer is the only thing that caused his conviction. Subsequently, he spent 11 years in jail. In the course of his prison time, he meets the real rapist in the case of Jennifer, and another woman who was his victim. In a turn of events, Ronald is acquitted and the man is charged with the rape of both women, for which he is found guilty. This paper is a review of the book Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption and the story of Ronalds release and reconciliation with the lady whose testimony put him in prison.
Theme of Reconciliation and Biblical Reflection
Chapter by chapter of this book flows between Jennifer and Ronald, both giving their views of the happenings that led to the imprisonment of the latter. As such, one of the most fluid stories of redemption is brought out in the course of the reading. Ronald is tried for a second crime during his appeal. A passionate prayer to God to reveal the miscarriage of justice shows the mans conciliation to his spirituality. The man went on to read the book of Psalms even after being convicted of the second crime that he didnt commit, flipping through the dog-ears of his bible in order to get consolation from his spiritual side. Quotes of bible psalms are engaged in the course of his side of the book, showing the reconciliation of the man to God whom he puts his trust in continually (Thompson, Cotton, & Torrino, 2009).
Reflections on Jennifers end are revealed as she thinks of putting a man in jail for 11 years for a crime he didnt commit. The feelings of guilt consume her as she looks into the faces of happy people and considers that she has denied a man happiness and freedom for eleven years for something he didnt do. She considers that she had chosen the innocent man to go down for a crime he didnt commit. Eleven years that he could possibly be missing his childrens birthdays, first days, first words, and first walk among so many other things simply because she had chosen him to bear the burden. The guilt continually suffocated her (Thompson, Cotton, & Torrino, 2009, p. 237). In the end, Jennifer decides to meet the man that she sent to prison in a bid to make up for all the time that he lost.
In a graceful exchange, Jennifer asked Ronald how life in prison was, how Ronald had survived the long period there. The book of Psalms had been his stronghold, and he was hopeful that the miscarriage in justice would one day be revealed, and he would walk away to freedom. At the end of the conversation, Jennifer embraces him and wonders to herself if indeed she would embrace the man who had, at one time, raped her. The charges are thereafter dropped and the correct culprit is arrested.
The book is a true classic redemption story. The idea to give the side of both accuser and accused gives the book a realistic twist to it. A reflection of the wrongs that entangle our soul is brought out, and the role of the redemptive process that God gives to people is equally brought out. This is a story of the just acts of a good God, able to deliver people.
Thompson, J., Cotton, R., & Torrino, E. (2009). Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption. New York: St. Martin's Press.
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