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Almost Home: My Life Story Vol 1 Paperback – June 3, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (June 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595357016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595357017
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #942,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A prolific and accomplished writer, poet, and visual artist, Damien Echols has found unexpected inspiration in his grim situation. He currently resides on death row in an Arkansas prison. Innocent of the crime for which he was convicted, Damien continues his fight for freedom.

Customer Reviews

In that sense, the book is well worth reading.
Tragiclaura
This is a book everyone should read becuase it lets you know that it really could be you.
Zach
Damien is an excellent writer with a great sense of humour.
Megan Caffery

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Keekles on February 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
First off, let me preface by saying I'm exactly the same age as Damien Echols and I remember being 18 and watching his trial on TV. I was a "goth chick" in Canada at the time and I had incredibly ambivalent feelings about it. On the one hand, I figured the cops must know what they're doing and, therefore, have the correct suspects. But on the other hand, he (and the other 2) just didn't seem like Satanic killers - and this scared me. I was used to be persecuted all the time in my own little world, so when the documentaries Paradise Lost 1 & 2 came out, I jumped on the "Free the WM3" Bandwagon hard! After reading Devil's Knot, I was completely addicted to this case.

Having said that, this book was not as satisfying to me as the Paradise Lost docs and Devil's Knot. There are a number of reasons why this book bugged me.

1) It was too short and not detailed enough, particularly about his childhood. Now, I know it's difficult to remember every insignificant detail that happens, but I would have liked some more depth to the description of his relationships - especially with his mother. I just felt like he focused a great deal on his poverty and how much he hated Jack, and there was little else substance.

2) The prose was extremely imitative. I got a good chuck of a way through the book with this nagging feeling that I have read this "voice" before and it was not until I got about until the point where he moved into the tin roof hut that I realized this was the style that Stephen King used in his memoir "On Writing." I know Damien Echols is a big fan of Stephen King and all, but I just couldn't help feel that right before writing this memoir he read "On Writing" and tried his best to emulate it. It came across as contrived and empty.
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98 of 119 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn Bakken on June 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
Amazingly intimate and personal reflections of Damien Echols, an innocent man currently enduring a deathrow prison sentence (Jason Baldwin and Jessie Miskelley were also convicted and got life sentences). While the West Memphis case has been under a magnifying glass -- two HBO documentaries, two books written about the case and the clearinghouse for all legal information, the wm3.org website -- not much is known about who he was before the murders that resulted in his unjust conviction. And he does not disappoint. The bulk of the book concerns his growing up poor mostly in the repressed south. Fascinating and a must read for anyone who has taken an interest in the West Memphis Three case.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Holland on January 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
This was written from death row...and it allows you to come on in and meet Damien personally. We know where he is and with this you can find out from where he comes.
I've been following this story from the start..my kids were small in fact. I had family members that couldn't believe my stance on this.
These three are innocent of the crime they have been accused of..period. Since my stance has not changed and my children are now grown, my family thinks I may have a point.
I'm an 80's child and we all wore hideous clothes back then and it scares me to think just what can happen to someone based on appearance and lack of monetary funds to fight with.
The state of Arkansas and the powers that be need to retrial. It's ok to make a mistake..but for God's sake correct it! Good read! Get it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ghidarcea Loredana on January 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
Up to the age of 18, Damien Echols had never flown anywhere, he didn't even have a driving licence. He lived in a small town in Arkansas and, as he tells us in this book, even the definitive act of teenage rebellion - "sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night" - didn't result in anything spectacular such as: getting drunk in a club, for example, since every establishment was closed after 10 PM. He spent most of his life looking for snakes and perfecting his skate board technique.

Then in a town where "nothing happened", something happened to Damien Echols. He was sentenced to death for the murder of three 8 year old boys. This resulted in Damien spending the next half of his life on death row, 10 of which were spent in isolation. To say he has had a very limited experience of the world is somewhat of an understatement.

If you've reached this page, you probably know all listed above. Also if you're here, you probably already picked a side on whether or not Damien Echols is a murder or an innocent men who lost half of his life at the hands of an unrelenting system of justice. For clarification purposes, I will openly state that I believe Damien Echols is innocent. That is not to say, you should not read this book if you believe him guilty of the crime.

This book will not give you any answers that might shed light on the accusations. It is simply a story of a man's life. What will add or detract from your enjoyment of the book is whether or not you like Damien Echols as a person. So if you haven't done so before, maybe listen to a few interviews before investing. I like him. I liked him before reading the book and like him even more now.

I'd like to address a few of the criticisms this book has received. First, that the narrator is self absorbed.
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63 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Bill on July 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
The case of the West Memphis Three is an important example of how the poor suffer in our "justice" system. It is horrible when any innocent person is convicted; it is particularly so when the innocent is set to be executed by the state -- the same state that provided him with ineffective and inexperienced counsel, and put him (several times) into the courtroom of a corrupt judge.

The tragedy is furthered when that innocent man on death row is an intelligent and moral person like Damien Echols. He is beyond brave and his courage to stay positive and sane for over a decade in barbaric circumstances is evidence of his character.

This fascinating book is a valued insight into a deep and thoughtful man, someone I have come to admire greatly over the years.
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