Cover Image: My Time Will Come

My Time Will Come

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Another book that I was inspired to read because of Stevenson's Just Mercy, I continue to applaud Stevenson's efforts of raising awareness to our prison system. Not only was Manuel only 14 when he committed the crime, he was thrown into the prison system - including 18 years in solitary confinement! - and nearly forgotten about. But his victim came to forgive him and even advocated for his release. Reading this story through his own words was powerful and, once again, reiterates how important it is for us to rexamine our prison system!
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Powerful, thought provoking, gut wrenching, terrifying, heart breaking, infuriating. These were my thoughts while I listened to, and read, Ian Manuel’s memoir of his childhood and time in prison.

Did you know that the USA is the only nation that sentences kids under 18 to life in prison without possibility of parole? Ian was sentenced at just 14 years old and spent 18 years (not a typo!) in solitary confinement.

Throughout this memoir Manuel shares the poetry he wrong while in prison. It was amazing! Yes, you read that right, I appreciated poetry for once.

My only wish is that more was written about his time after release from prison. If he goes on to write about that I would read it in a heartbeat.

While I both listened to and read this, I found the last part easier to read because of all the legal information it contained.

Thank you to @pantheonbooks for the complimentary ebook.
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Hard to “like” a book filled with so much injustice, sadness, cruelty, generational trauma, and inhumanity - but this book is wonderful. The author describes his time as a child and then given a life sentence at 13yo - spending the majority of his sentence in solitary confinement. Our penal system is barbaric and illogical. The author is a incredible poet and a fine writer of prose.  I am so grateful I read this and was given the opportunity to do so by Pantheon Books as they sent me a copy. Highly recommend.
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“Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.” -Bryan Stevenson (JUST MERCY)

MY TIME WILL COME is Ian Manuel’s powerful memoir of redemption, forgiveness and small flickers of hope.

Ian suffered from significant childhood trauma that resulted in untreated mental health concerns. Ian is first to admit he made poor decisions culminating in his arrest for armed robbery and attempted murder at the age of 14. The State of Florida sentenced Ian to life without parole and Ian spent 18 consecutive years in solitary confinement. 

Of note, the United Nations considers solitary confinement for more than 15 days torture and the US is the only country to sentence children ages 13 and 14 to die in prison.

Decades into Ian’s prison sentence he was contacted by Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative. The team worked tirelessly to reduce Ian’s sentence and change legislation that prohibits life without parole sentences for non homicidal crimes for children.

What made this memoir so special was Ian’s poetry woven throughout the book. His despair, sorrow, and faith were expressed beautifully through his gift for poetry, inspired by Proverbs. I also loved Ian’s relationship with his shooting victim, Debbie Berkovits, who offered forgiveness and advocated for his release from prison for decades. I highly recommend this memoir!

RATING: 5/5 
PUB DATE: May 4, 2021

A big thank you to Pantheon and NetGalley for providing me with physical and electronic ARCS of this book.
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My Time Will Come is a memoir by Ian Manuel. who was sentenced to life in prison without parole at age fourteen   for a non-homicide crime. Manuel details his childhood and his time while incarcerated. While this is obviously a heavy book that details the many injustices and systemic issues within the criminal "justice" system, it is also a story of forgiveness and humanizing people who have been actively dehumanized by the carceral state This is such an important memoir and a must read if you enjoyed Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (especially since Stevenson's organization, Equal Justice Initiative, represented Manuel in his appeal). 

Thank you so much to Pantheon for the gifted copy!
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When I first started reading this I wasn’t sure what to expect. It starts with Manuel coming out to talk to his Laywer while locked and shackled and having to talk through a hole. At the age of 13 he shot a women while robbing her.  It tells of his life’s story of growing up in a abusive family . And how he reached out to the women he shot. Throughout the book is his writing of his poetry.
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This was such a brilliant and important read. It was the best demonstration of how the law has changed in the US towards child offenders, Ian Manuel live through these developments and was able to benefit from them, but it just felt like it was too late. I was so shocked to understand how children offenders are treated automatically as adults in certain circumstances in the US. As a criminal defence practitioner in the UK and having dealt with youths facing serious allegations, it upsets me hugely that they could have been dealt with as an adult.
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Despite being well written and full of beautiful poetry, this book is incredibly difficult to read, I had to take multiple breaks just to let the severity of the story settle in. I spent the entire time reading it in a horrified stupor.

Manuel's case proves that no one is beyond redemption, and Bryan Stevenson's words once again ring true that no one is equal to the worst thing that they have done. This story details horrific abuse at the hands of relatives, the state, and prison staff, it is not for the faint of heart. 

Ian Manuel's story is unfortunately not that unusual, with over sentencing and vindictive judges running rampant through the court system. I was shocked time and time again by everything that happened during his incarceration. I believe that anyone who claims to care about prison abolishment or criminal justice has to put this book on their list.
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Thank you to Knopf Publishing Group and the author for this book that I wished for and was lucky enough to get through netgalley. 

I decided to start this book even though I was reading other books and WOW, I immediately dropped every book I was reading and devoured this one. Ian Manuel shot a woman in the face when he was just 13 years old and received life in prison as a child. Ian described his childhood which was traumatic to say the least and how he ended up where he was in prison and this book follows Ian’s life in prison and subsequent release with the help of Bryan Stevenson’s organization called the “Equal Justice Initiative.” Ian’s words are powerful and throughout the book are his poems which were my favorite parts of the book. Ian describes his life in a raw, truthful way and it’s heart-breaking throughout, but it’s also uplifting and filled with hope. In reading Bryan Stevenson’s prologue for this book, I can totally understand why he was proud of Ian Manuel because after finishing this story, I felt that same sense of pride and happiness for Ian and his triumph of getting out of a broken justice system that harms black and brown people at a disproportionate rate. Although Ian’s story isn’t the first or last we will all hear about this system, it’s definitely eye-opening and hopeful to make a change. 5 stars!
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A truly heartbreaking look at the consequences of our flawed criminal justice system. Ian Manual was sentenced to life in an adult prison as a 13-year old and spent nearly 20 years in solitary confinement because they didn’t know how to handle such a young prisoner. He struggled with mental health and self harm, saw virtually all of his family pass away over the course of his term, and experienced brutally unfair treatment by some prison staff. But he remained hopeful of eventual freedom and found poetry to express himself. His memoir is an eye opening perspective on his experiences cycling through various prisons, courts, appeals, and his eventual release thanks to the efforts of Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative. If you’ve read Stevenson’s book #JustMercy this is a great follow up with a more in depth look at a single experience.
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If you’ve read Just Mercy, you’ve heard a little about Ian Manuel’s story. (If you haven’t read Just Mercy you really should.) Ian was sentenced to life in prison without parole for a non-homicide crime committed when he was 13 years old. Thirteen. This is Ian’s memoir, and it’s every bit as painful to read as you expect, as we follow a child into a very broken adult criminal justice system, where he spent YEARS in solitary confinement. Well-written and thoughtful, with the addition of some of the author’s poetry. 

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I was very late to the game, but I learned about Ian Manuel after reading Just Mercy Last month. The second I saw it as an ARC choice from Double Day, I knew I had to read it.

Before I read the book, I learned that Manuel narrates his story, and luckily the audiobook was available at my library. I highly recommend reading while listening because it adds so much more to the story hearing it come Manuel. 

It was a difficult, but necessary memoir to read. His experience in jail is nothing short of okay, and it’s absolute heart-breaking hearing him relive his story. Manuel proves time and time again, that rehabilitation over retribution can do absolute wonders for our country. We need so much change from sentencing laws to treatment and conditions, and so much more.

Beyond the heartbreak and horrifying details, readers witness Manuel growing as a person, despite all the hate around him. Although it wasn’t expressed a lot, I’m sure there was anger inside him, but how he projected himself as a while incarcerated was truly mind-blowing.

Through it all, I had so much respect for Debbie, the woman Manuel shot. Their relationship over the years proves how kindness, forgiveness, and how giving someone a second chance can go a long way.

Come for Manuel’s story, stay for his amazing poems he wrote while in jail.

Content warnings: abuse, mugging, shooting, molestation, death.
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I first read about Ian Manuel a few months ago when I read Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, so when the publisher reached out, I was definitely interested. I'm so glad to
have had the opportunity to read Ian's story.

His experience in the criminal "justice" system was heartbreaking; no child should be sentenced to die in prison with no hope of rehabilitation or a hopeful future. It's evident from Ian's poetry that he's a bright man and it's unconscionable that his potential was dampened for 2/3 of his life. That he spent much of that time in solitary confinement is further evidence of the strength he has. While the crime he committed as a young teenager wasn’t victimless, the circumstances of Ian’s childhood and incarceration show that he was always struggling uphill. As a society, we need to do better by our youth. We need to throw this broken system out and build something new. 

Ian was released from prison with the help of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) and this memoir
ends as he heads to Alabama to begin his life outside of the Florida prison system. I would love to see a second volume of his story. 

Thank you to Knopf Books for providing a ARC for review
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This memoir of autobiographical accounts and poetry is powerful beyond describing. If you've read Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy, this book is an excellent companion read because it gives a close-up view to the experiences of going through inhumane prison treatment.

Heartbreaking but incredibly important, this book is a must read for anyone looking for literature on prisons and why they are, as Angela Davis puts it, completely obsolete.
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I could not put this book down. This time last year I had picked up Just Mercy and was so moved by Bryan Stevenson's work at the EJI. MY TIME WILL COME is the other side of the coin. Following Ian Manuel through his trial as an adult at the age of thirteen for a shooting that ended in no deaths, we see the cyclical abuse of prison systems and the unfair treatment of those we call criminals. This is an amazing story of resilience and a strong reminder that there can be good in all, and rehabilitation can be possible if someone is given the right opportunity. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is curious about the prison system and wants a first-hand look at the ways we fail our youth.
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| My Time Will Come: A Memoir of Crime, Punishment, Hope, and Redemption | Ian Manuel

In this unsparing memoir, Ian Manuel describes his experience as a juvenile prisoner who was sentenced to life in prison without parole at the age of 14. Manuel goes on to describes how he was blinded by his pain and how he was pressured into committing a crime by older boys. I’ve heard and read many, many stories like this, Black girls and boys who are sentenced to life in prison for nonhomicide crimes at a very young age and the whole thing just blows my mind on how the judicial system works. 

Throughout this memoir and describing his experience through poetry, Manual criticizes the prison system for its use of excessive punishment. With the help of Bryan Stevenson’s organization ‘Equal Justice Initiative’, Stevenson, and his team, argued that the use of extreme punishment was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court agreed, leading to Manuel’s release in 2016. I felt that Manuel had so much more to say, but overall this story is both uplifting and heart-wrenching. 

Thank you, @Pantheon for this gifted copy.
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This story of a 14 year old boy sentenced to life without parole for a non-homicidal crime is incredibly moving.  Manuel shares his story - explaining the childhood that led him to firing a gun at 14 years old and sharing us how facing a life in prison with adults changes a 14 year old. My pages were painful to read. Manuel's childhood was not one that we would wish for any child. What impressed me most was Manuel's willingness to not just lay bare his history, but to also take blame for what he did as a child. He realizes and acknowledges that it was the decisions of a lot of adults and older peers that led him to the moment that resulted in his sentencing.  However, he also takes personal responsibility for not only that action, but the decisions he made in prison. This book also gives us a glimpse into the impact that years upon years of solitary confinement (especially of a minor) can have on someone.
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Wow. This is a story that will never leave me. At 13 you are not who you will be, yet our systems treated Ian Manuel like he would forever be the worst thing he did. This was heartbreaking to read. Just absolutely heartbreaking. But it's an essential read. Fans of Just Mercy will love this, and if you haven't read either, what are you waiting for?
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I was absolutely astonished while reading this book. Speechless. 

This is the true story of Ian Manuel, and his case.  Manuel discusses the crime he committed as a 13 year old child, the environment that molded and shaped him, and how the US penal system swallows up our Black boys and men with a vengeance; hoping that they are no longer apart of society, forever.  This book should not only enlighten you to Ian Manuel’s plight, but this book should open your eyes to the severity of treatment that is being handed down in prisons towards minors, minorities; particularly, Black males. 

In 1990, the state of Florida sentenced Ian Manuel to “natural life,” life without parole, 15 years, and life probation when he was 13 years old. The state of Florida deemed that a 13 year old Black boy would never be redeemable as a human being in his entire life and deserved to die in prison. On top of this harsh and cruel punishment, Manuel was constantly assigned to solitary confinement for 18 years, from the age of 15 years old. The decompensation, the deterioration, and emotional and inner turmoil that he went through for the 26 years he spent in prison, was hard to read and process through emotionally. 

What the US has done to children in this country is beyond comprehension. Although, Manuel was able to survive prison and the cycle of abuse that he had to endure, the system needs to be dismantled. If anyone doubts how systemic racism has constructed the pipeline to prison for Black boys, you should read this book. 

Prison abolition has also been shouted into the halls of justice for decades. Mass incarceration of our Black youth has reached levels of insurmountable damage that is damn near impossible to correct. Prison advocates, private prison industry, state and city legislation that allows for the genocide of our people all have blood on their hands. This book showcases the affects of poverty, poor quality education, systemic racism, and over-policing in Black communities that lead to a demise in some of our Black youth. There is no way that a 13 year old Black boy would be irredeemable, beyond repair and rehabilitated, sentenced to die in prison. As Bryan Stevenson has stated, “Each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done.”  The racism and prejudice that exists in prisons need to be eradicated. Prison abolition is our answer. 

I am utterly mesmerized by Ian’s life, and how he is adjusting to his life post-prison. He incurred some serious trauma in his life, and I just pray for his soul, his vulnerability, and his ability to discern what is in the best interest for his life. 

Thank you to Netgalley, Ian Manuel, and Pantheon Books for this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. Full review, link in bio. 

Companion reads with this book:
· Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson 
· The Sun does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton 
· Heavy by Kiese Laymon
· Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 
· Bird Uncaged by Marlon Peterson
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If you’re like me and were moved by Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, Ian Manuel’s story will serve as another beautiful reminder that “each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.” 
Alongside his original poetry, Ian Manuel tells his story of being sentenced to life without parole for a crime he committed at 13 years old, and what followed. This book will shed light on some of the major changes that still need to be made in the American judicial system, but it also speaks of hope, forgiveness, and the resilience of the human spirit.
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