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The Ripple Effect Reviewed By Ruth Ann Hixson of Bookpleasures.com
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Ruth Ann Hixson

Reviewer Ruth Ann Hixson: Ruth has been an avid reader since she first learned to read. When she was forty-two, she went to college to become a journalist. She started out as an assistant editor and reporter and later graduated to Lifestyles Editor. She is now retired and enjoys writing, editing and book reviewing.

 
By Ruth Ann Hixson
Published on April 23, 2012
 

Author: Ken Coleman

ISBN:  978-1-4691-6742-8 (SC)

ISBN: 978-1-4691-6743-5 (EB)




Follow Here To Purchase The Ripple Effect

Author: Ken Coleman

ISBN:  978-1-4691-6742-8 (SC)

ISBN: 978-1-4691-6743-5 (EB)


Ken Coleman's novel The Ripple Effect is a very thought provoking book. Mr. Coleman's writing style leaves a lot to be desired, but once the reader gets used to the missed punctuation, skipped words, present tense and changing points of view, he/she finds a story about what one moment in time can mean when a violent act is committed.

His story of a fifteen-year-old girl who shoots her teacher illustrates how the actions of one person can spread out like the ripples made by dropping a pebble into water to affect the community, the country and possibly the whole of society. Though the story is fiction it explores the whys and wherefores of violent crimes committed by children in which they are tried as adults. He brings up whether a child who has committed murder should be sentenced to death; whether a child has the mindset to understand the seriousness of his/her crime.

Coleman takes the reader through how different people in the story. He shows how Molly's parents, her defense attorney who will be opposing his former wife who is prosecuting the case and a radio talk show host and many others react to the shooting of a favored teacher in the High School.

Molly is an exceptionally bright girl who, once she emerges from the initial shock of her incarceration, begins to affect changes in the prison where she is held. She teaches other inmates to read and write so they can communicate with their families and get G.E.D.s. She is the daughter of the minister of an independent church and begins a ministry in the prison.

When she is found guilty of committing murder with a firearm she gets the mandatory death sentence. Even though she is on death row, she continues her teaching and ministry by mail. She also corresponds with intellectuals around world.

An excerpt from the book; Molly talking to her shrink:

Molly had never talked this much, or ever been this open with him. He didn't know if it was the change of scenery, the rekindling with Sara Lee or the new found relationship with her father, but he was content to let her talk.

"Do you think your relationship with your mother deteriorated because she had an affair?"

"Affairs," Molly corrected. "Plural, numerous, but no, that relationship bit the dust long before. The root of that was our competition for daddy. She couldn't handle that he loved me more than he loved her."

"And you were okay with that?" Li asked.

"That was their drama," Molly replied. "I was an adopted, of course I loved the attention. They had to deal with the consequences. But what her affairs did was allowed me to channel my anger. I needed a target, and it couldn't be my father. I couldn't risk rejection from the only person that had ever shown he wanted me. It couldn't be the church, or I'd be damned to hell. But I could use my mother as a representative of the church, which I hated because it took my father away."

Her world shrinks to a cell with no windows and only the barest necessities of life. She continues her teaching and ministry through the mail. She also enlists her father's help once he has left his own church. He begins a prison ministry for boys and men to help them steer clear of any future involvement in crime. The Ripple Effect isn't just about the bad things that happen but the good that comes out of them.

This book brings the reader face to face with what's broken in the justice and penal systems. It questions why children should have access to guns.

Colman dips into the emotional questions of whether prisoners who can be rehabilitated should be regardless their crimes though it deals mainly with violent crimes committed by children. It isn't until near the end of the book that Molly reveals the real reason she took the gun to school that day.


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