ARC Review: The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton with Lara Love Hardin


TheSunDoesShineCoverOfficial Synopsis from Goodreads: A powerful, revealing story of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading by a man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free. But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution. He spent his first three years on Death Row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence—full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty-seven years he was a beacon—transforming not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates, fifty-four of whom were executed mere feet from his cell. With the help of civil rights attorney and bestselling author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015.

With a foreword by Stevenson, The Sun Does Shine is an extraordinary testament to the power of hope sustained through the darkest times. Destined to be a classic memoir of wrongful imprisonment and freedom won, Hinton’s memoir tells his dramatic thirty-year journey and shows how you can take away a man’s freedom, but you can’t take away his imagination, humor, or joy.

Genre: Memoir, Non fiction
Setting: Alabama, from approx 1974 to 2015

***I received an eARC copy of The Sun Does Shine from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, via NetGalley***

*** this post contains affiliate links ***

Review: What a read! The Sun Does Shine is a book that everyone should read. It will fill you with anger, sadness, hope, and gratitude. Telling the story of Anthony Ray Hinton, who was wrongly imprisoned on Death Row for thirty years (!!!), The Sun Does Shine does not shy away from making you think about prison reform and the death penalty. I got interested in reading books like this after I read Just Mercy last year, and when I saw a NetGalley email that this book was available to read, I jumped at the chance to read Hinton’s story. And what a tale it is! I knew from the synopsis that he was eventually released, but my word, I was filled with sadness and despair for Hinton (and his friends and family), and was on the edge of my seat the entire read. Once I started this, I could not put it down, and Hinton does an excellent job of telling his story and making you feel not only his pain, but also his hopefulness.

The inadequacy of the legal system will shock and anger you. No, not just anger you, but outrage you. And it should! Hinton strives and succeeds here in bringing forth the humanity of the inmates, and even though many of them here are guilty of their terrible crimes, Hinton really makes the reader think about a lot of issues.

I loved the scenes between Hinton and his mother, and also Hinton and his best friend Lester. I enjoyed the scenes where Hinton decides to create a book club for a few inmates on Death Row, and hearing them all discuss various reads was enlightening. There are also a lot of very intense and emotional scenes, as many are executed throughout the years.

When I read, I write notes on my phone, and when I started this book my phone typed out The Sun DOES Shine as the title, and I think that is such a fitting statement here. This book will break your heart, heal it again, and make you think. It’s a must read, and so far it’s my favorite read of the year.

Bottom Line: Stunning. Such a powerful read! A must read for everyone!

LINKS ***the Amazon link is an affiliate link which means I receive a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase***

Does this sound like a book you are interested in reading?


9 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton with Lara Love Hardin

  1. I really wanted to read this one, but I still haven’t gotten to Just Mercy yet, and that one seems kind of like a prerequisite for reading this one. Excellent review, this sounds like such an enlightening and informative read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, Just Mercy is a great book to start at! But The Sun Does Shine does mention a few of the same points that Just Mercy does, so you could read this one first if you wanted to. It doesn’t have as many statistics and legal jargon that Just Mercy has, as it really just focuses on Anthony Ray Hinton’s story. They are both excellent books and well worth the read !


  2. I think I was telling you that I started Just Mercy on audio, but it was automatically sent back to the library after 14 days, and someone else had s hold on it! Now I’ll never know what happens to Walter. This story has a happy ending, but how happy? After 27 years, a person can’t just pick up where he left off.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Uggh. How frustrating!! Yeah, how happy can it be, really? Just think of all that time that he lost. But, he has touched so many lives already, and with this book being published, he’s going to touch so many more, and hopefully some change in our justice system will happen. His story is truly remarkable, and how he can have the kind, generous spirit that he has after everything that has happened to him is astounding. This book is more “readable” than Just Mercy. More about the story, and Anthony Ray Hinton than about facts and legal speak, but I loved both books!


  3. I just finished The Sun Does Shine and there were parts of it that angered my soul. I can’t believe we continue to treat people like this, especially the innocent. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! It’s so terrible. Something really needs to change.
      And even though Anthony Ray Hinton went through so much that he should not have had to go through, he still retains his belief and his hope. He is truly an amazing person!

      Liked by 1 person

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