Our book club at the local library just finished reading The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver and as always I like to share our review and thoughts with you.
About the Author
Elizabeth Silver 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/ Elizabeth has taught English as a second language in Costa Rica, writing and literature at Drexel University and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia , and worked as an attorney in California and Texas. Born and raised in New Orleans and Dallas, she currently lives in Los Angeles with her family.
The Synopsis of The Execution of Noa P. Singleton
Noa P. Singleton never spoke a word in her own defense throughout a brief trial that ended with a jury finding her guilty of first-degree murder. Ten years later, having accepted her fate, she sits on death row in a maximum-security penitentiary, just six months away from her execution date.
Meanwhile, Marlene Dixon, a high-powered Philadelphia attorney who is also the mother of the woman Noa was imprisoned for killing. She claims to have changed her mind about the death penalty and will do everything in her considerable power to convince the governor to commute Noa’s sentence to life in prison, in return for the one thing Noa can trade: her story. Marlene desperately wants to understand the events that led to her daughter’s death events that only Noa knows of and has never shared. Inextricably linked by murder but with very different goals, Noa and Marlene wrestle with the sentences life itself can impose while they confront the best and worst of what makes us human.
We all had mixed feelings about this book, and I will try to include them all in this review. When we are first introduced to Noa, she comes across as a rude, obnoxious woman, which personally I didn’t like. But as you read through the story, you realize that she has been incarcerated for over ten years and sitting on death row. Unstandbly, she had to grow a tough skin and that is what we see.
Surprisingly, we learn that she is extremely smart and attended University. We see the softer side of her as the story progresses and our opinions of her dramatically change from hating her to liking her and feeling sorry for her. Was she wrongly accused and unjustly sentenced to death? Is a question we found our selves asking as the story unfolded and it really made us think about the death penalty.
We’re not going to say whether Noa is put to death or not because we don’t want to give away any spoilers. The whole context of the book is a deep dark subject that quite honestly, a majority of the public don’t know much about. This opened our eyes and we all agreed; when we had finished the book, a dark cloud hung over us. Leaving us kind of sad.
Marlene, the high powered attorney was an unlikable character which none of us liked. She was annoying, pushy and used her status to blackmail others to get what she wants. No doubt, she probably rose to the top in her career by doing the exact same thing to others throughout her life. This was not new behavior for her. She was obviously a natural.
The ending was a surprise and rather disappointing. We struggled through the book because of the subject matter, but for a first novel, the author did okay.
Our Overall Rating
COVER DESIGN – 1 STAR – The book we read had a different cover with Noa’s name crossed out. We all agreed that the cover didn’t make any sense. Why her name was crossed out and replaced with the word Novel, confused the heck out of us. There was no face on the cover like this one and color and font choices were pretty bland. I tried to find an image of the cover but was unsuccessful.
CHARACTERIZATION – 4 STARS – The characters were well developed but sometimes their actions and reasonings were unclear and no explanations were given.
STORY & PLOT 3 STARS – It was difficult to stay captivated and many parts of it didn’t make sense. The subject matter was dark and depressing.
OVERALL RATING – 3 STARS – We didn’t love this book and unforchantly we all felt somewhat disappointed by the end.
Questions to ask at your book club
1 – Who was your favorite character and why?
2 – Who was your least favorite character. Explain why.
3 – Why do you think Noa, didn’t testify at her trial. Do you think that was a good choice?
4 – Do you believe in the death penalty. Explain your answer.
5 – If you were on death row, what would you miss the most. What would be your last meal? Would you have any last words?
6 – Did your opinions of Noa change through the book. If so when and were you rooting for her?
7 – What did you learn from this book.
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