Clark's Eye on Books

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Song of George – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘Within the same week he is released by the hospital and received by the Hennington County Jail, where he is to be held until his trial. That turns out to
be a period of eleven months. He learns from his court appointed lawyer
that he apparently broke through the glass doors of a Federal Building
and vandalized an office there, miraculously avoiding the law enforcement units
that arrived within five minutes of the building’s alarm call. To top
that off, when he fell into the street the morning following the break
in, there was a four-car collision directly related to his fall. At
his trial the judge makes it clear to him that although he has been
diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, further complicated with symptoms of severe manic depression,
aka bipolar disease (all of which is surprising news to him, he was not
aware of having undergone any psychiatric evaluation) he, being a
danger to society as well as to himself, and for the multiple and
habitual crime of reckless endangerment,
as well as destruction of federal property, will be confined to the
Wade Federal Correctional Institute; specifically to the mental ward of
that institution for a period of five years, the sentence to be
evaluated annually after the completion of the first two years.’

You’ve just met George, the prison’s preacher. George as a preacher, preaching to those willing to listen as he attempts to open our eyes and make us
understand that we are all living in a material world prison. And there
is only one way out, which is through divine intervention. Not
everyone agrees that the world is, in fact, a prison, or that there is
even much wrong with the world, but it is just the age old conflict of
matters of the world vs. matters of the spirit. But George does.

George gets the attention of most of the inmates as he shifts the book
back and forth between his hands, sometimes shaking it in a gesture
reminiscent of the puritan preachers of old. But they love him and they
listen to him. These are facts that Ansel, Jeff and Ozwald learn as
they conduct interviews with the inmates on the psych floors of the Wade Federal Correctional Institution.

They are conducting a study hoping to see what care is really being given to the men and women that are declared criminally and mentally incapable of
living in society as free people. From my readings of the Song of
George, these people are kept mainly in a controlled state of mind which
will most likely continue throughout their lives. If and when they are
released, they usually reenter the same or another facility of the same
design. But, if you look at the incarnation of these men as George
does, isn't that what happens to all of us on the outside too. Are we
kept under control by those who govern our lives? I believe George sees
every move from one job to another, one home to another and even one
car to another as moving from one prison to another. Could he actually
be right?

All Things That Matter Press
235 pages
ISBN# 978-0-9846154-1-4

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at
Stir, Laugh, Repeat

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