The Other Side of the Story by Daphine Priscilla Brown-Jack is a non-fictional book that describes the author’s life events in chronological order from 2009 to 2013. Brown-Jack (2015) writes about the wrongful accusation of her husband and how it tormented her family emotionally for the whole five years. It is a story of how Daphine’s family managed to fight without giving up. The author was “at the brink of self-destruction, but with faith and trust in God,” she managed to get through (Brown-Jack, 2015, Preface section, para. 1). Throughout the book, Brown-Jack shows her deep religious belief and how all that has been happening has been the trial of God. Overall, The Other Side of the Story positions itself as an influential book that raises awareness about wrongful convictions and hardships of the accused and their relatives while promoting strong faith in God.
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Although Brown-Jack vividly portrays her distress, some parts of the book remain not as clear. The readers learn about some serious accusations against Daphine’s husband, his arrest, how authorities took Daphine’s children, and how she coped with everything, going from one courtroom to another. However, Brown-Jack vaguely describes the main character of the story, her husband. Ultimately, the reader knows almost nothing of him at the end of the book, and the aggravated felony accusation remains a mystery as well. Brown-Jack (2015) writes: “A shameful allegation … that didn’t fit his character” (Ch. 2, para. 5). Such ambiguity regarding her husband’s charge may seem strange to the reader, but one can understand the author’s logic for doing so. The author’s husband is the main victim of the story, which means he suffered more than anyone mentioned. The author may aim to relieve her husband of any unnecessary worries by omitting shameful or extra details. That, however, makes the book ambiguous, which can result in a rather weak impact on the reader.
The religious theme is the core element that makes the book feel like an influencer, not a victim, has written it. Although Lily Parker (as cited in Brown-Jack, 2015) argues that “this is not a work of coercion but conviction,” the book promotes religion nearly on every page of narration (Foreword section, para. 6). Daphine’s family prays at the beginning of the book, then Brown-Jack cites religious texts, writes about faithfulness, God’s blessings, plan, and trials, prays again and ends on a thankful message to God. While it is inspiring and heart-warming, some people may be offended by the author’s notions.
For example, God loves only faithful people, and all others are not protected by God, which is not directly stated in the book but can be assumed while reading. One of the characters says to Daphine: “You have been faithful to God, and He won’t forget about your faithfulness” (Brown-Jack, 2015, Ch. 7, para. 7). The question of what happens to the unfaithful immediately comes to mind. Brown-Jack (2015) indirectly answers it numerous times, with the first of such answers being the story of Job, who has not died of illness because of his faith. Consequently, Job would have died without faith, and Daphine would have been subjected to shame without her faithfulness (Brown-Jack, 2015). The idea that God is the sole source of success for people in trouble is narrow and discriminating.
Personally speaking, the most interesting part of the book is not religious ideas but the narrative, the story of the other side. Moreover, it is the most agreeable part because, surely, one cannot disagree with the hardships that wrongful accusations bring to people. Regrettably, it is one of many problems that modern society faces daily. The Other Side of the Story is a masterful depiction of what is concealed under a facade of legality with real people who have real problems. Brown-Jack (2015) describes legal proceedings, including ongoing expenses, confusing protocols, and non-stop delays, from the newcomers’ point of view as she experiences it all for the first time. The reader follows her from page to page, intrigued by what comes next. Of course, the reader knows that the story has a happy ending, but the advancement to that ending is insightful and shocking. It makes one wonder if the law really represents and protects its citizens in such situations or simply tries to force a plea bargain on the accused.
The Other Side of the Story by Brown-Jack conveys various ideas and messages regarding accusations, legal processes entailing these accusations, and faith in God. The book teaches to fight till the end if one knows that he is innocent and states that God always helps believers in need. While religious notions can conflict with some readers, they help show how belief can support a person’s psyche and how people turn to religion for moral fortitude. Additionally, a somewhat ambiguous description of Daphine’s husband and his case may weaken the plot and even disappoint people who read for the delicate details. Nevertheless, Brown-Jack successfully raises the reader’s attention to the problem and its supporting issues by making the book’s narrative intriguing and emotional. Personally, The Other Side of the Story helped my critical thinking skills and further shaped my view on the topic of wrongful convictions, notably about the legal system.
Brown-Jack, D. P. (2015). The other side of the story. Abbott Press.
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