Although The Bridge between “Cell Block A” and a “Miracle” Is Psalm 91 is based on the true story of a man who was arrested on a felony murder charge after accidentally killing another man, it is really a book-length prayer of praise and thanksgiving. Author Jackie Carpenter details ten months in the life of her family when her son was arrested and tried for murder. There is no mystery, since the reader knows from the start that her son, Jason, was acquitted.
Most books fit into a classification, which makes it easier for the reviewer since the groundwork has been laid. The Bridge is not so easily classified, for if it were reviewed as a “true crime” story, it would receive very poor reviews. Yet as one woman’s testimony to her faith, the role of God in her life, and how belief in the Bible saw her through one of life’s worst experiences, The Bridge is powerful.
The Bridge is a Christian book, and is unlikely to be read and enjoyed by a large non-Christian readership. Jackie Carpenter is not an accomplished author whose virtuoso style will dazzle all readers. She is a woman who offers a narrative so personal, it is painful. Her writing style is nearly stream-of-consciousness; it’s as if you met with her and she told you her story all at once. What separates her from other storytellers is her unrockable Christian faith.
The Bible and religion are fixed features in Jackie Carpenter’s life and that of her family. The strength she drew from them, she shared with others. This would not work for everyone, since we aren’t always surrounded by like-minded people (no matter what inspiration we want to share). Carpenter’s tale is so subjective, though, it reveals a lack of knowledge about some legal proceedings and an overabundance of faith in human beings to the point of naivete. I, too, would like to believe that people will always do the right thing and that there’s no reason they shouldn’t, but I’m not surprised when they don’t. I’m seldom surprised by the reasons they don’t.