Idea: Herrig's narrative of her personal and professional struggles is compelling and keeps the reader riveted from the memoir's start to its finish. Though the work at times veers into overly technical descriptions of judicial matters, readers will remain invested in her turbulent adolescence through the aftermath of her criminal case.
Prose: Herrig's prose is conversational, funny, direct, and engaging--perfect for a memoir. Her voice shines through the stories, making readers both sympathetic and critical of her experiences and actions. One quibble: a run-through by a copyeditor would help to fix grammatical errors and typos.
Originality: This memoir is a roller coaster ride of emotional, legal, and personal struggles openly and honestly portrayed. Elements of seemingly sincere contrition and emotional resonance elevate the narrative, creating a complex and complete personal story.
Character/Execution: Herrig writes about her legal issues and her path toward spiritual and emotional growth in an authentic manner. She confesses her shortcomings with refreshing candor, presenting a nuanced self-portrait. Her depictions of supporting characters--her father, friends, family, and legal associates--are sufficient, yet would benefit from further development.
Date Submitted: October 08, 2020
Herrig’s memoir is a perceptive portrait of someone who’s learned that “greed itself can be addicting.” Humble sometimes to the point of self-deprecation, she accepts full blame for every mistake she’s made while giving God all the credit for everything that went right. Though she acknowledges that her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment were devastating, she counts the cancer as a blessing because it delayed her trial and gave her time to bring on better attorneys. At times this relentless positive attitude is grating, though it’s unquestionably sincere. Balancing it are direct critiques of the aggressive prosecution.
Herrig is still in “survivor mode,” but she has come to the realization that “our strength is not defined by what we have but rather by who we are – the decisions we make, how we treat others, and how we live our lives.” A feel-good, faith-based memoir about being prosecuted for selling herbal incense seems implausible, but Herrig makes it work, and readers looking to immerse themselves in positivity will enjoy her story of finding “the rainbow” that follows the years of storms.
Takeaway: This frank and moving memoir about choices and regrets will especially appeal to Christian readers looking for a feel-good, faith-based story.
Great for fans of Kevin McCarthy’s Blindspots: Why Good People Make Bad Choices, Edward Snowden’s Permanent Record.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B