Goodreads: All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook
Eleven-year-old Perry Cook has lived his whole life in Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility, where his mom was sentenced for fifteen years. Just as she is coming up for parole, however, a new DA decides that Perry should not be living with his mom and, worse, that Perry’s presence in the prison means that his mother did not serve out her full time.
All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook is a bright and heartwarming book about the definition of family and of home. It tells the unusual story of a boy who grows up inside a prison in order to be near his mother, who is an inmate in the nonviolent crimes section. However, outside forces decide that Perry’s unusual upbringing is wrong and must have made him unhappy, and thus promptly remove him from his mother. Perry subsequently has to fight to show everyone that his home life was not a crime merely because it was different.
The book takes an empathetic look at the prison system, telling the stories of the inmates, many of whom admit they were wrong but many of whom seem simply to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. It also addresses the bumbling attempts of others to be sympathetic, based on their understanding of the prison system. Ultimately, the story suggests, outsiders can never really know how the inside works, even if they have the studies and the technical knowledge to tell them. They can only begin to approach knowing the inmates if they are open enough to respect them, and to listen to their stories. Statistics and assumptions do not create connections.
All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook brings together a delightful cast of characters to celebrate the complicated relationships that bind us all. From the determined Perry to his thoughtful mother to his understanding best friend Zoey, the cast is sure to capture your heart. And their story will, hopefully, become yours.