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Alex Mar | Seventy Times Seven

Bedford Square

Alex Mar | Seventy Times Seven





368 pages

A masterful, revelatory work of literary non-fiction about a teenage girl’s shocking crime — and its extraordinary aftermath.

‘An absorbing work of social history and a story about the mystery and miracle of forgiveness…it deserves to be read with attention.’ Hilary Mantel, Booker Prize–winning author of the Wolf Hall trilogy

On a spring afternoon in 1985 in Gary, Indiana, a fifteen-year-old black girl kills a white elderly bible teacher in a violent home invasion. In a city with a history of racial tension the press swoops in.

When Paula is sentenced to death, no one decries the impending execution of a tenth grader. But the tide begins to shift when the victim’s grandson Bill forgives the girl, against the wishes of his family, and campaigns to spare her life. This tragedy in a midwestern steel town soon reverberates across the United States and around the world — reaching as far away as the Vatican — as newspapers cover the story on their front pages and millions sign petitions in support of Paula.

As Paula waits on death row, her fate sparks a debate that not only animates legal circles but raises vital questions about the value of human life. This story asks us to consider the nature of justice, and what radical acts of empathy we might be capable of.

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