Ian Manuel, Bryan Stevenson

My Time Will Come

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A breathtaking memoir about a teenager sentenced to life without parole, and a searing look at the broken American justice system. With a foreword from Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy.

In 1991, Ian Manuel, then fourteen, was sentenced to life without parole for a non-homicide crime. In a botched mugging attempt with some older boys, he shot a young white mother of two. But as Bryan Stevenson, attorney and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, has insisted, none of us should be judged by only the worst thing we have ever done. The United States is the only country in the world that sentences thirteen- and fourteen-year-old offenders, mostly youth of color, to life in prison without parole, regardless of the scientifically proven singularities of the developing adolescent brain—a heinous wrinkle in the scandal of mass incarceration.

My Time Will Come is Manuel’s powerful testimony of growing up homeless in Central Park Village in Tampa, Florida—a neighborhood riddled with poverty, gang violence, and drug abuse—and of his efforts to rise above his circumstances, only to find himself, partly through his own actions, imprisoned for two-thirds of his life, eighteen years of which were spent in solitary confinement. It is at once the wrenching and inspiring story of how he endured the savagery of the United States prison system, and how his victim, an extraordinary woman, forgave him and bravely advocated for his freedom, which was achieved by a crusade on the part of the Equal Justice Initiative to address the barbarism of our judicial system and bring about “just mercy.” Full of unexpected twists and turns, My Time Will Come is a paean to the capacity of the human will to transcend adversity through determination and art.