BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver
The Execution of Noa P. Singleton
by Elizabeth L. Silver
THE EXECUTION OF NOA P. SINGLETON begins with Noa’s imminent death in a Pennsylvania penitentiary. Incarcerated at the age of twenty-five for the murder of Sarah Dixon and having served ten years with little hope for appeal, Noa Singleton (prisoner No. 10271978) is ready to die. Yet, six months before her execution date, she has an unexpected visitor, high-powered attorney Marlene Dixon. Marlene, the mother of Noa’s victim, has initiated a clemency petition on Noa’s behalf. But why would Marlene change her mind, and what does she want from Noa? As Noa’s prison memoir unfolds, we learn about the events leading up to Sarah’s murder, as well as the links binding Noa, Sarah, and Marlene’s fates. Interspersed throughout the novel are Marlene’s confessional letters to her daughter that reveal clues exposing a past filled with love, anguish, and deception. But which story is sincere? As Noa’s execution date looms large, we are faced with truths just as sinister as the crime of which she has been accused.
MY THOUGHTS: 3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
I really had to sit and think about how I would rate this book for a good hour before I even attempted to start my review. I’m angry..at the characters in the book, at the ending of the book itself, and I guess how the legal system can be manipulated by those who know how to manipulate it.
Noa Singleton is acerbic, sarcastic, and more than a bit jaded. The ten years she’s been in prison didn’t cause that, however, she’s been that way her whole life. With just a few months left to live on death row, the person she least expects to see in the world visits her and begins to fill her mind with thoughts of clemency. The reader is transported back to the events that led to Noa’s incarceration, through flashbacks and letters.
The book’s blurb gives you the impression that maybe you (as the reader) shouldn’t necessarily be believing every part of Noa’s tale. But I don’t know. I guess I’m an optimistic reader, and I didn’t feel that anything she said was less than truthful. Did she have it in her to lie? Absolutely; after sharing parts of her childhood and her relationship with her mother, it was definitely not something I would put past her. But why would she lie with only months left to live? Again, I don’t know…there were parts where Noa did certain things contrarily just to get a rise out of people, so I guess I’ll be going back and forth on this for a while.
Nearly every character had something to hide, and every character evoked a strong emotion for me. I could have slapped Noa myself for making such stupid decisions, and just basically not speaking up in her own defense. Maybe she had given up a long time before…this was certainly insinuated in the final pages of the novel. Even though the reader is told so much of Noa’s life, we never get a full peek into her psyche, and as a matter of fact no one ever did in her short life.
While I appreciate the author’s vivid imagery, I felt some of the text itself was too filled with metaphors and just kind of pretentious. Probably 30-50 pages could have been cut, containing little non sequiturs about things of little to no importance. I had the tendency to let my eyes glaze over these portions and pay attention when the meat of the story was being told.
I will for sure be thinking about this book for a while to come, and I congratulate the author on a solid debut.
About the Author
Silver, a writer, attorney, and former English teacher, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, the MA Program in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia in England, and Temple University Beasley School of Law. She studied capital punishment with some of the nation’s leading anti-death penalty attorneys at the University of Texas School of Law at Austin, where she worked on a clemency petition, and later worked as a Judicial Clerk for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. As part of the clemency investigation, she visited death row, interviewed inmates and met with victim family members. While exploring the provocative and polarizing issues of the death penalty, Silver wanted to present both sides of the issue, and thus her novel was born. Silver’s taut writing, which has brought recognition from Glimmer Train, funding from the NEA, and writing residencies in Spain and France, carries the reader forward to the story’s shocking end.
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