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I found this dragged on and on it could have been half the length and told the story.
It was also very one sided I felt as though I was being pummeled into being sympathetic towards Velma Barfield by the repetition of excuses for her behavior when in truth nothing exceptional ever happened. Her life maybe was not perfect but whose truly is? She made bad choices it should be remembered gave her victims no choice.
Narration was nasal and I guess not much to be done with this book but to plain read it which is what Kevin Stillwell did.
14 hours 43 minutes where 4 hours would have been enough.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
The trouble with true stories is that the writer is given his plot, for good or bad, as it happened. The history of Velma Barfield's life may simply not lend itself to a satisfying story. If every good tale needs a villain, we would expect Velma, the serial killer of this true story, to take on that role. And what we expect is for the villain to come to a satisfying defeat, bringing closure to the book. In the case of Death Sentence that all starts getting muddled up about halfway through: Velma is arrested, tried and sentenced to the capital punishment. We have reason to feel justice, resolution and closure. But, yet... the writer carries on. We have dozens of chapters to go in which our "villain" is now humanized, made to seem pitiful, pious and even noble. As the book closes we are left with a decidedly mixed feeling. Should we sympathise with a woman who poisoned her own mother (among many others)? Or should we feel vindication that a woman who becomes a paragon of caring whilst in prison, is herself then poisoned by the State? I spent the days after finishing this story wondering what to think. Ultimately it was muddied story, with no clear hero, and only a feeling of disappointment with the state of humankind in general at the end.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes and no. Yes because I simply cannot believe how Velma Barfield so manipulated everyone whilst incarcerated that the victims became almost by-products! Unbelievable! No because if you are not a religious person, you will feel as rankled as I.
What could Jerry Bledsoe have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
He could have lightened up on the "sainthood" of this murderer.
What does Kevin Stillwell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
The reading was fine.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
If it moved me, it moved me in a direction not intended by the author. It was the near vilification of the victims and their families!
Any additional comments?
By book's end the reader was supposed to be convinced that Velma was a saint. The horrible deaths she inflicted upon those she supposedly loved, all the while being righteous, was...really not important. What seemed important to the author was that she had "gotten religion" ... who on death row does not?To tell the truth I was outraged on behalf of the victims and their families. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. This woman was such a manipulator that she had sold even the defense attorneys on her sainthood. But since there were no drugs to be had, and no one to murder while in prison, what choice did she have? The only viable point is the knot on her head...studies are being done still, to this day, to prove that that area of the brain can cause this type of behavior. But the knot on her head was still there when she was in prison. I think the sickening amount of religious propaganda and the lack of attempting to be in the shoes of the victims and their families...well, I'd have to think 10 times before reading another book by this author. The writing was just fine, but it was not...by any means, without prejudice, in my opinion.What I did get from the book was that this woman was the master manipulator of all time.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
I cannot think of anyone who would enjoy this book. It was completely devoid of any suspense or substance. The plot, if there was one, was weak at best. It went on and on, saying the same thing over and over. It was like watching paint dry.
Would you ever listen to anything by Jerry Bledsoe again?
Would you be willing to try another one of Kevin Stillwell’s performances?
Kevin Stillwell reminded me of Mr Rogers, as though he was reading to 8 year olds.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
This book had no redeeming qualities. For the few chapters it seemed like something of interest might happen, but it took eight or so chapters for it to pick up slightly, and then quickly fell right back down to yet more humdrum. It was a total waste of time. Of course, I did not finish this book.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful