Almost Home: My Life Story by Damien Echols
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I have long known the story of the West Memphis Three. One of my friends was deeply into the cause, and, some years ago, ran a film night at Adelaide’s Mercury Cinemas, to raise money to help their legal battles. She did a fantastic job; but more to the point, that was the first time I had ever seen anything much about the story.
This book is a simple, passionate, peaceful autobiography by Damien Echols, writing about his version of events. It details his life up to the point where he was arrested, and after that only covers the aspects of his life that he wished to bring to the world. As he pointed out in the book, the story of the WM3 had already been more than ably covered by other books and documentaries.
The beauty of this novel lies in its simplicity. It reads like a letter, which in many ways is how it was written. You come to know Damien very personally, and as far as much autobiography goes, is devoid of ego. It is rare to read a text like this, and I suspect it has something to do with his perspective on the world after devoting himself to studies such as Buddhism, Zen, and many other philosophies. I won’t go into the detail, but it was this section of the work in which much of the story really drew me in. I’m a sucker for that stuff.
Downside? As always, the errors, man, the textual, unnecessary errors!! Fuuck me drunk, I fear I will never read another beautifully edited book in my life. I hope I’m wrong.