Suspended Sentence

A Memoir

Non-Fiction - Memoir
320 Pages
Reviewed on 08/24/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Suspended Sentence by Janice Morgan is a mother's memoir as she attempts to curb the collision course her son Dylan is on and dig deeper to figure out the most effective way to achieve this. Morgan dives right into her story with the immediate effect of Dylan's arrest and three felony charges brought against him, and the 'poor Janice' nods she gets from a conservative Kentucky community. Dylan goes from bad to worse as he's ping-ponged through the system, shifted between juvenile detention, a residential school, a stricter residential school in the Caribbean, jail, Drug Court, rehab—the obstacles seem endless. Through it all, Morgan tries her best to put the puzzle back together, picking up pieces mother and son both dropped, but didn't lose, in order to make them each whole again.

Suspended Sentence is a deeply personal and insightful memoir that struck me in a way I didn't expect. Janice Morgan is funny, which is no simple feat when we're reading about struggles with drugs, weapons, and mental health issues. The narrative is authentic with humanity that shines straight through. Everybody says they would do anything for their children, and Morgan certainly stands among those who walk the walk. Still, as she juggles what she sees as dueling personalities between her professional and personal life, her commitment not just to getting Dylan clean and back on track, but also wanting to do it in a way that keeps him on that track is extraordinary. There's a perfect balance of wit and grit throughout Morgan's tale and I'm so grateful she shared her story with us, but even more so for the commitment only a mother could have for her son.