I specialize in reviewing Print-On-Demand (POD) published books for my website and Midwest Book Review. Please query for a review by email to hgunther234@hotmail.com.

Monday, June 11, 2007

ARTICLE 5 by Isabelle Assante

Llumina Press
PO Box 772246, Coral Springs, FL
Genre: Social Commentary
Rating: Good
ISBN: 9781595267085, $9.95, 100 pp.

Article 5 is a true story, presented in play form, about Mikey Strenton, a young man on death row. Most of it takes place in a courtroom and includes testimonies from the victim’s mother, the prison chaplain, lawyers, prosecutors, prison guards and other inmates. It also includes the history of the electric chair– how and why it was developed to replace death by hanging. It is a very short story, 50 pages, as the second half is the French version.

Isabelle Assante, a consummate writer, has written many plays which have been produced in Europe, the U.S. and Canada. This little play dramatically conveys the reality of an innocent, young man waiting to die–a sad situation. Yes, the system doesn’t always work, but, then, nothing ‘always’ works. There are sad, unjust things happening all the time...such as young service men and women being blow apart, not to mention innocent civilians, in wars over oil.

Does Isabelle Assante believe there should be no death penalty for those who have violently taken another person’s life? Does she think society should provide comforts–room, board, health care–for such people when many hard-working, tax-paying Americans cannot afford the same? I do not think many homeless people have decent shelter, regular meals, pen pals, computers, books and art supplies. Some institutionalized criminals actually choose prison life because it is harder to survive on the outside. Does Ms. Assante have any positive solutions to the controversial death penalty problem (none mentioned in the book) . . . or just a fascination with death-row prisoners?

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - June 11, 2007