The Sun Does
Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row
by Anthony Ray Hardin with Lara Love Hardin
c.2018, St. Martin’s Press
$25.99 / $34.99 Canada
By Terri Schlichenmeyer
The Truth Contributor
You always keep your eyes on the prize.
You’ve given yourself no other options and your
steadfastness is your compass. What you believe will
happen. What you know is truth. Say it enough, and everybody
else will know, too – especially when, as in the new book
The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton with Lara
Love Hardin, the truth is one of innocence.
On a night in the summer of 1985, 29-year-old Ray Hinton
checked in with the security guard at his workplace, just as
he’d been told to always do. He hadn’t been at the job long,
but that had become his routine every night before getting
assignments for his shift, doing work he liked.
Reaching that point hadn’t been easy.
The youngest of 10 children, Hinton was his mother’s “baby”
and he continued to live with her after high school; though
he’d thought about college, there was no money or
scholarship for it. Instead, he found work at an Alabama
coal mine, hating the work, loving the paycheck, still
wanting what he couldn’t afford.
He took a car he never paid for, and it cost him a few
months in jail.
By that evening in the summer of 1985, though, Hinton had
resolved to make his Mama proud. He was again employed,
sober, living on the straight-and-narrow, had checked in
with the guard as he was told, and worked until it was time
to go home.
And that was where he was arrested five days later, accused
of a robbery and murder committed while he was at work,
miles from the crime scene. His trial was short. The jury
was all-white, as were the judge, prosecutor, defense
attorney, and a ballistics “expert” that was no expert.
During the trial, Hinton “knew” he’d be convicted, knew it
in his heart, even though he clearly had an alibi.
He was innocent. And he was sent to Death Row.
Because there’s a book about this, you’ve probably already
figured out that author Anthony Ray Hardin is a free man
now. You already know of his innocence. The shocker is that
that took 30 years for exoneration, and when you read
The Sun Does Shine (with Lara Love Hardin), be
prepared to be shocked some more.
Or maybe you won’t be: at times, Hardin himself seems to
expect many of the things that happened to him, which leads
to a whole host of emotions for a reader. You shouldn’t, in
fact, be at all surprised to feel frustration, sadness,
white-hot anger, and crushing despair – sometimes, from the
same page. And yet, despite that you’ll cringe inside,
Hardin also makes readers’ souls soar with words that reveal
small beauties between horrors, and kindness where you don’t
expect it. That’s like taking an amusement-park ride with no
seat belts: hang on tight, because it might hurt.
What’s left to say, then, about this book? Nothing, except
that you’ll like it for everything it wrings from you.
The Sun Does Shine could be the most impressive book
you’ll lay eyes on.