Book Review: After Life: My Journey from Incarceration to Freedom by Alice Marie Johnson

My Thoughts

This might be one of the most unexpectedly touching stories that I’ve read in awhile, seriously. I won this early copy in a sweepstakes held by Harper Collins Publishing Company back in May and finally took the time necessary to read and properly digest the story. I felt bad for months every time I passed by the book, staring at me from my dresser, knowing that it deserved greater respect.

Well…I firmly believe that I re-opened this gift at exactly the right time and I’m grateful that I did. I don’t believe in coincidences and the faithful conviction expressed in Alice’s story is something that I cannot describe accurately. There’s a point while she is imprisoned, on her knees praying, and the question, “Master, can you still use me?” comes to her. It’s a pivotal point in her story and one that resonated with me deeply on many levels.

In fact, it brought me to my knees.

Twenty-one years, seven months, and six days—marks the amount of life that Alice Marie Johnson lost while imprisoned on non-violent drug trafficking charges. Her story is a true testament to the mercy and favor of God in the darkest of places.

Raised by a mother and father both revered in their community and the church, Alice Marie Johnson was born sixth of nine children. Pregnant at 14 years old and married with a child by age 15, Alice would struggle to find her footing in early adulthood amidst significant life struggles. Later, after finding success in her professional career, she would make a decision that forever altered her life as she’d known it.

Deeply moving and inspirational, this story is a must-read for anyone who has ever found themselves questioning the merit of a fickle justice system and the power of faith.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)