Outskirts Press (2014)
Reviewed by Nicollette Violante for Reader Views (02/15)
“Destructive Justice” by Nicholas Frank is the true story of Frank’s son, Nathan. Frank chronicles the story of Nathan, and how Nathan went from a young, happy, terrific teenager to life in prison. Nathan grew up in an upper middle class family in Southern California, and yet with one poor decision after another, with horrible influences and friends, Nathan gets caught up in a botched bank robbery and somehow has a prison sentence worse than Charles Manson…all at the young age of seventeen years old. “Destructive Justice” should not be interpreted as a cautionary tale to teenagers going down the wrong path…it should serve as a mirror to our prison system and social commentary on the fractures within our justice system. Nicholas Frank was never even notified by the authorities that his seventeen year old son (a minor) had even been arrested.
“Destructive Justice” doesn’t just give insight into the lives of Nathan and the Frank family, but also sheds light on our justice system and prison system. I learned so much about how our legal process works, and while we think that it is the most objective and fair system, it produces destructive justice…a warped and totally unrealistic, broken, and illogical justice. The punishment, in this case and in most cases, does not fit the crime.
I commend Nicholas Frank for his courage and vulnerability in sharing his son’s story. “Destructive Justice” is an absolute must read for everyone. A heartbreaking, gut wrenching, and honest memoir, I also admire Frank’s unwavering hope that his son will be able to walk away from prison as a free man. Well written, engaging, evocative, and thought provoking, I think this memoir should be required reading in schools to show young adults that little thrills and highs aren’t worth a life behind bars…and that the system will not be kind. I sincerely hope for the best, not only for Frank’s family and son, but to every other family going through the same ordeal.