Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Review: Welcome to the Brier Patch

Title: Welcome to the Brier Patch
Author: Darrell McMann
Grade: B

Synopsis from the book
Darrell McMann didn't know what to expect when he became a white police officer in the predominantly black areas of Mobile, Alabama. His success came largely from training, luck, improvisation, an indefatigable attitude, and the constant support of his fellow officers. Welcome to the Briar Patch is his true story, a gripping, no-holds-barred journey into the everyday life of a police officer in one of the most racially polarized regions of the country. Exciting, thought-provoking, and with an unflappable sense of humor, McMann guides us into a world that is at once recognizable and completely foreign.

I have always enjoyed memoirs of people's jobs. It is almost like being able to live in someone else s shoes for a few days. Welcome to the Brier Patch was a way to become a policeman. It was very interesting to read about the different people McMann came into contact with during his career. Some of the situations McMann faced were crazy!  He dealt with everyone from drug dealers, to angry gangs. The book also is very much based on the racism that was very real in Mobile. As a white police officer in a predominantly black area, McMann had to add even more to his overflowing plate. He does a very good job trying to get rid of the racial boundaries by making it obvious that race is not an issue in his arrest and by becoming "friends so to speak" with the gangs. He becomes very respected by many of the people in his area and works very hard at what he does.

One of the things I had trouble understanding was the connection between the different sections of the book. The book was obviously written in chronological order, but I had a hard time connecting each section with the one before. The different parts were usually very interesting, they just didn't seem to always go together. It was also a very slow read. As fascinating as the book was, it seemed to take me forever to finish it. I felt like I read forever, and I really only read 4 pages. 

Anyone interested in the criminal justice field would really enjoy this book! It is a way to become a police man for a day!

Happy Reading!

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