Late last night I began reading Booth by Jason Pellegrini. Almost immediately I became emotionally attached to the characters. It feels odd to say that I can relate to each of them in some obscure way, but there it is. My family was never torn apart. I have never had to face any of the abuses these characters were forced to endure. Yet I see my innocence tarnished by bullies. I’ve seen the evils of alcohol abuse. I’m aware of the permanent damage caused by sexual abuse.

The book starts with the main character, Joseph, on death row eating his last meal – jelly beans. (I wouldn’t call that a spoiler since it’s in the first couple of paragraphs.) As the story unfolds, you learn of the tragic events which led a young man to be executed.

Joseph’s dreams, desires and feelings are expressed in each chapter. He wants to make the right choices. He wants to make his mother proud. Each chapter then informs the reader that no matter how hard Joseph tries to do good, the open wounds of his past won’t allow happiness.

I’m only halfway through. I have been experiencing anger and sadness simultaneously throughout much of the story. I would love to see Joseph walk away after everything is said and done. He has claimed a home in my heart. I just want to give him a hug and tell him that everything will be better now.