The Green Mile by Stephen King
On the day of my judgment, when I stand before God, and He asks me why did I kill one of his true miracles, what am I gonna say? That it was my job? My job?
– Stephen King
This is the only book that comes to mind that has made me cry. The Green Mile is about the guards and inmates on death row at Cold Mountain Penitentiary in Georgia, and the arrival of John Coffey on the mile, a hulking black man convicted of raping and murdering two young girls. The strength of this novel comes from the examination of the inmates and their backstories and their relationships with the guards. They sometimes grow close on the mile, and the guards are the people that the inmates spend the last months and years of their lives with. So when it comes the stroke of midnight and the switch must be flipped, what is the impact on the men that kill the prisoners? Would you be able to do the same? What if you knew beyond a doubt that the man you were killing was innocent, and one of God’s special creations?
All is not what it seems with John Coffey, and the book deals with themes of death, God, sin, capital punishment, abuse of power, and old age in a beautiful and powerful novel that has a wonderful screen adaption starring Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan. Please read this book, and you will understand why it has such an impact.