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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2012
This memoir is, hands down, an entirely splendid reading experience. Shon and Annie have much to disclose on the human condition--covering the topics of multiple bank robberies, a 10 yr stint in federal prison during which he discovered a passion for law and brought cases to the supreme court, death, anorexia, spiritual redemption, and rebirth into love, freedom, family, and law school. If you are human, alive, flawed, and have ever made a mistake, here's your summer read.
And yes, there is a fair amount of Christian sentiment--to those who are not like-minded, I was not put off. This review is coming from someone who is culturally Jewish and somewhat wary of much of the born again rhetoric. This book is for everyone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2013
After graduating from high school, aimless and broke, Shon Hopwood plans several armed bank robberies across Nebraska with an accomplice. He is arrested and sentenced to more than 10 years in federal prison. This memoir focuses on Hopwood's time there as he learns to navigate an entirely new social hierarchy and reflects on his past mistakes ("There is a strength in the union even of very sorry men," he paraphrases Homer to describe his criminal partnership). Most important of all, he begins to find purpose in the thick legal texts housed in the prison law library.

Hopwood works on other inmates' cases, honing his ability to understand the legalese and court opinions. Ultimately, Hopwood becomes involved in several landmark cases while still in prison. He describes them in clear, unadorned prose, comprehensible to anyone regardless of his or her background. Today, he has finished his sentence and attends law school in Washington state: a classic story of redemption.

He also chronicles his developing romance with a former high school classmate. Like Hopwood, she is battling her own confining demons, but they come in the form of a severe eating disorder rather than metal bars. I was pleasantly surprised by the sensitive treatment of this issue and how much heart the story had.

Pick this one up from the library. It's worth an evening or two to read if you have an interest in personal narratives about the criminal justice system.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2012
I was looking forward to reading this book for several reasons. Mainly, I came to "meet" Shon Hopwood after he got out of prison and was working for Cockle and our firm had occasion to use their services. When he first told me he had robbed banks, served time and was writing a book, I couldn't wait for it to come out as I was admittedly very curious to read "his story." I found the book to be extremely compelling and read it in one sitting. Does it talk about his past and the bad decisions he made despite growing up in what appeared to be a supportive, loving family? Yes. Does it talk about prison life and what it was like being in the system and surviving? Absolutely. But the most impressive part to me was reading about a young man who not only learned from his mistakes, but somehow ended up on a road to helping others in prison with their appeals. This is the story of someone who decided that his past unfortunate choices were not going to define him and turn him into a person spending a lifetime of being in and out of prison. Instead, he immersed himself in legal books and studied the law, so he could help those around him who needed help with their appeals and, in turn, helped him get through his sentence. He took that knowledge to work in the legal field, and is now on a path toward law school.

With Shon's willingness to make amends to his family and the surprising support of his community, he learned that his life could get back on a better track. Shon does a great job showing the present time and then flashing back to discuss his past. The relationship with Annie and coming to grips with his own faith is expertly woven throughout the book as well. In short, I found this book to be an inspiring reminder that it's never too late to start over in life. We can all have a second chance if we will just make the decisions we know to be right.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2012
This book is a must read! I found myself pulling for Hopwood through the various trials in his life. It ran the gamut of emotions and I could not put it down. Excellent!!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2012
Law Man is a well written memoir that you can't put down! Shon and Ann Marie share their amazing stories of overcoming the demons of their youth and following their dreams. God's undending love and guidance allowed Shon to be a successful "law man" in the most unlikely place... federal prison. His incredible... almost unbelievable journey makes this book both entertaining and inspiring. A must read for all audiences. I highly recommend it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2012
Whether you believe that God answers prayer, or that the Universe places opportunities in your path, or that life is a bunch of coincidences, this book is a classic. The writing is straight-forward and low-key, with a subtle sense of irony and humor -- as hard-boiled as a detective story and as charming as a fairy tale.

If you agree with the idea that we should find our purpose in life and live accordingly, this book is for you. Shon's purpose was not to be a criminal, but without the crime and the time, it is unlikely that Shon would have discovered his gifts of legal insight, writing and advocacy. He found his purpose in life through hardship.

As a bonus, this story is really about two purposeful lives. Annie also found her purpose through hardship. And the love story is a touching counterpoint to the roughness of prison.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2013
Hopwood's book is skillfully written, tightly edited, and moves so briskly it's hard to imagine how interminable ten years must have seemed in reality. That he survived and emerged intact is a testament not only to his own strength, but to that of his family and friends. As Anthony Hopkins said in the movie "The Edge," "What one man can do, another man can do." If there is one Shon Hopwood, there are others who have the same potential. Failing to identify and salvage them is a tragic, unacceptable failure of our current system of justice. Convicted felons and their families need the perspective, hope and encouragement Shon's story offers. I will be following his progress and looking forward to knowing "the rest of the story."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2012
What happens when you grow up with loving parents, then turn into a bank robber and get sent to jail?
I thought I wasn't interested in law, bureaucracy or ex-jailbirds. This book proved me wrong. The « law » part was well done, and far from dry. Before I knew it, I had grasped it. Even more surprising, I found it intriguing.
By the end of the book, I had pulled out a few handkerchiefs. Shon does some incredible deeds. I won't say more, not wanting to spoil it. Personally, I skipped the religious aspect. Otherwise, I totally recommend. Well written. Thought provoking. Authors did a great job.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2012
This is sure to be a bestseller! A heartfelt true story that sounds like it was made for the movies! It is filled with every emotion from guilt, sorrow & remorse to redemption, love and inspiration. A unique way of understanding God's plan for all of us, listening to him when he speaks to us, and trusting in him without always knowing the outcome. A reminder about the good people in our lives who are put there for a purpose. Very thought provoking and enjoyable! I and a family member both finished the book in one setting because you just couldn't put it down!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2012
Like others who have written comments I know Shon and Annie personally. My son John is the supreme court case Shon won. The short sentence style made it a quick easy read. Shon's writing style matched the subject matter. Lawman was a factual true to live read. Readers will come to know through reading this book that all persons who have experienced the prison system are not horrible creatures that are scarred for life. There is just the right amount of fundamental faith running through this read.
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