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Yours for Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row Hardcover – June 17, 2014

3.9 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Reconstructed from thousands of letters the pair exchanged over 16 years, this tender and unusual narrative offers a rare, courageously intimate view of a love that should never have survived and yet did.”—Kirkus

*Praise for Life After Death by Damien Echols*

A New York Times Bestseller
A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
A USA Today Bestseller
A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
A Kirkus Reviews “Best of 2012” nonfiction selection

 
“Damien Echols spent eighteen years on death row for murders he did not commit. Somehow, in the depths of his unspeakable nightmare, he found the courage and strength not only to survive, but to grow, to create, to forgive, and to understand. Life After Death is a brilliant, haunting, painful, and uplifting narrative of a hopeless childhood, a wrongful conviction, a brutal incarceration, and the beginning of a new life.”
—John Grisham
 
“Wrongfully imprisoned by willfully ignorant cops, prosecutors and judge, Damien Echols draws on all his wits and his unique view of humanity to survive eighteen years on death row. My admiration for him, and the strength of his spirit, increases with every page.”
 —Sir Peter Jackson, Academy Award-winning director, producer and screenwriter
 
“I am in awe of Damien's ability to write so beautifully, with such ease, humor and honesty—this is inspired storytelling, a wonderful book!”
 —Fran Walsh, Academy Award-winning screenwriter, composer and producer
 
“The life of Damien Echols is a journey similar to that of the metal that becomes a samurai’s sword. Heated and pounded until it becomes hardened, it can hold its edge for centuries. It is incredible that Damien endured and survived one of the most tragic miscarriages of American justice, and emerged such a centered, articulate and extraordinary man and writer. Life After Death proves that he paid dearly for his wisdom.”
—Henry Rollins
 
“Exceptional memoir by the most famous of the West Memphis Three. [B]are facts alone would make for an interesting story. However, Echols is at heart a poet and mystic, and he has written not just a quickie one-off book to capitalize on a lurid news story, but rather a work of art that occasionally bears a resemblance to the work of Jean Genet. A voracious reader all his life, Echols vividly tells his story, from his impoverished childhood in a series of shacks and mobile homes to his emergence after half a lifetime behind bars as a psychically scarred man rediscovering freedom in New York City. The author also effectively displays his intelligence and sensitivity, qualities the Arkansas criminal justice system had no interest in recognizing during Echols’ ordeal. Essential reading.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred)
 
“This is a stunning piece of work. Such hope while faced with injustice. Damien teaches us how to live.”
—Eddie Vedder
 
“[Echols’] case garnered worldwide attention, but [his] memoir is about as far away from a publicity-seeking I-was-wronged story as possible. The author opts for a meatier, and certainly more haunting, account of his life behind bars, coupled with flashbacks to his childhood....Echols is a talented writer, and when the book dips into his own spiritual and philosophical beliefs...it achieves the kind of emotional resonance that many similar books lack....A tragic and often disturbing story."
—Booklist
 
"Damien Echols suffered a shocking miscarriage of justice. A nightmare few could endure. An innocent man on death row for more than eighteen years, abused by the very system we all fund. His story will appall, fascinate, and render you feeble with tears and laughter. A brilliant memoir to battle with literary giants of the calibre of Jean Genet, Gregory David Roberts, and Dostoevsky."
—Johnny Depp
 
“[T]his is an eloquent, even bitterly lyrical, portrayal of how an innocent man can slip through the cracks of the legal system and struggle to survive. Compelling and deeply moving, in the tradition of Helen Prejean’s Dead Man Walking and Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song, this memoir will appeal to a wide audience.”
—Library Journal (starred)
 
“In this searing, finely wrought memoir, Echols recalls his poverty-stricken childhood, the trial of the West Memphis 3, and the harsh realities of life on death row … The most affecting sections are Echols’s philosophical musings on all he has lost, his thoughts often influenced by Zen Buddhism. In one journal entry that survived the guards’ purge, Echols contemplates what he misses the most while in prison. The answer is a heart-wrenching and simple commentary on American prison life: ‘In the end it’s not the fruit I miss most... I miss being treated like a human being.’”
—Publisher’s Weekly (starred)
 
“[A] tale of romance, resilience, and the power of the written word.”
—Stephanie Palumbo, O, The Oprah Magazine

“Echols is a writer whose talent is commensurate with the task of telling this story....The man who has emerged from death row at last is not quite a hero, but he’s something far more interesting: an artist—and, most definitely, well worth meeting.”
—Laura Miller, Salon.com

“Gripping…Echols has already lived a remarkable life, one forged in tragedy and all manner of iniquity. That he is able to write so movingly about the many trials he endured speaks volumes about his intellect and character.”
—Jesse Singal, The Boston Globe

 

About the Author

DAMIEN ECHOLS and LORRI DAVIS met in 1996, and were married in a Buddhist ceremony at Tucker Maximum Security Unit in Arkansas in 1999. Echols spent nearly eighteen years on death row until his release in 2011. He is the author of the New York Times–bestselling memoir Life After Death. For more than a decade, Davis spearheaded a full-time effort toward her husband’s release from prison, which encompassed all aspects of the legal case and forensic investigation. She and Echols, who together produced the documentary West of Memphis, live in New York.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Rider Press (June 17, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039916619X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399166198
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are tired of tales of jaded infidelity and sarcastic and shallow views of love, this is the book for you. In the most unlikely places two souls have connected with a sweetness, innocence, depth and loyalty that is inspiring. The tale of the West Memphis Three is told in many other places. This is the story of two amazing people kept apart by the cruelest and most unjust circumstances who patiently held each other together until they could actually hold each other. Their different styles of letter writing make the story vivid and fascinating. I can't recommend it enough
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Format: Kindle Edition
"Art will be the horse I ride to freedom..." ~ Damien Echols
"Yours For Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row" is a incredible compilation of letters with thoughtful commentary exchanged between authors Damien Echols and Lorri Davis. The couple exchanged thousands of letters between 1996-2011. Prior knowledge of the WM3 case is recommended.

In 1996 Lorri Davis attended the premier showing of "Paradise Lost" a documentary of the WM3 slayings. Davis was empathetic to many social issues and was profoundly emotionally moved/affected by the injustice of the WM3 case. Unable to forget it, she feared she was losing her mind. Not knowing what to expect in writing to a prison inmate, she wrote a letter of support to Damien Echols.

Davis would discover when Echols answered her letter; was an articulate, sensitive, creative, highly intelligent man. As they corresponded they both discovered in friendship an openness they hadn't experienced with anyone else. It was joyous to see their relationship unfold, as they discussed their backgrounds, past experiences, families, friends, beliefs, emotions/ideas etc. They fell in love through letters and phone calls. Davis readily admitted she wouldn't suggest a woman write to an inmate, and kept their relationship secret from her family and employer for four years. Echols kept his hard core prison abuse/torture from Davis, not wanting to burden her with the knowledge, or any part of it to touch their relationship. High phone bills, dealing with anxieties, jealousies, some "sex letters" were included as a genuine account of issues they faced as a couple.

This is such a rare and unusual story of love and marriage, rising powerfully from the ashes left by tragedy and despair.
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Format: Hardcover
I was expecting a more interesting story, but instead it was more like obsessive ramblings with chunks of details missing. No explanations of their phone calls, although they constantly referenced talking on the phone. Like someone else said, love letters are never as interesting to other people. I took one thing away from this book...there's a fine line between obsessive idol worship and love.
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Format: Hardcover
First off,let me say that this book pretty much requires the reader to be familiar with Damien's case abd the West Memphis 3. But dont fret! There is plenty of material out there for you--i recommend it all. The fantastic Paradise Lost Trilogy, or if you dont want to watch three films, I recommend the equally powerful West of Memphis. There was also an episode of CBS' s 48 Hours devoted to the case a few years ago. You need to have the details of the case, because this book isn't really supposed to be about a case study. You can write a whole book on just that alone. (In fact, someone did. It's called 'Devil's Knot' by Mara Leveritt). Also you can go to wm3.org but I recommend the films. That way, you're more invested emotionally in this book as a reader. What the state of Arkansas did to these 6 boys (knowingly letting 3 innocent boys rot in jail, and letting the real murderer of 3 little boys roam free) is nothing short of criminal. I have been following the case for over 10 years, and both Damien and Lorri are an inspiration and two strong, admirable people. Damien's book Life After Death showed us how eloquent of a writer and storyteller Damien is, and I'm happy to finally get some insight into Lorri's heart as well. She saved his life, and devoted her life to exoneration of the West Memphis Three. It's a phenomenal story, one I will continue to admire for years. I'm so glad that they finally have a happy life together after their long, nightmarish road through the bowels of the Arkansas justice system. Now, we all need to continue pushing the state of Arkansas to do what needs to be done-exonerate damien, Jason, and Jessie and bring the real killer to justice. They already know what direction to look in
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Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed reading about how these two "misfits" met, fell in love, and stayed together under incredible circumstances. The book is not a narrative, but rather, a compilation of letters (over the course of about 9 years) between Damien Echols and his wife, Lorri Davis. While it was interesting to see how their relationship started out, many readers may be disappointed that the bulk of the book spans from 1996 to about 1999. After Davis moved to Arkansas in 1998, the letter-writing tapered off. The book does not include any letters after 2005, which is about the time that the case really started to garner national attention. The letters and responses after about 1997 are a bit schizophrenic; some of the letters reference phone conversations, face-to-face meetings, or other letters (which were either excluded, redacted, or otherwise condensed).

Because the letters tended to be "all over the place," especially after Echols and Davis started communicating by phone, it would have been helpful if the book included more commentary from the couple. Clearly, there were some things the couple wanted to keep private, like Echols relationship with his son. However, when there is an off-hand reference to a particular conversation or event, some context is necessary. There are some footnotes and postscripts included in the book, but not nearly enough to keep readers apprised of what is going on in Echols and Davis' lives at that particular point in time. The book would have worked just as well, if they had ended it when the letter writing started to slow (1998) and included more narratives from the couple. The scant amount of letters from 2000-2005 did not really do much for the book as a whole.
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