Willow in A Storm: A Memoir by James Peter Taylor
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Scarletta Press; 1 edition (September 28, 2007)
In this raw, unflinching memoir, James Peter Taylor, with the help of his wife Kathleen Murphy-Taylor, recounts the events of his unusual life, over forty years of which were spent incarcerated. Mentally and sexually abused by his adoptive father, Jim Taylor receives a life sentence at age 30 when he accidentally kills Kenneth Lindberg, a Minnesota banker and married father of four, during a robbery.
Taylor manages to survive in prison, despite the rampant violence, in part by playing a woman’s role, a gender switch that becomes second nature to him. After decides behind bars, a wiser and more spiritual Taylor is released in the 1990s back to civilian life, bolstered by his marriage to the book’s coauthor and former social worker, Kathy Murphy.
Willow in a Storm demonstrates hope even in the most dismal of circumstances.
James Peter Taylor's memoir, Willow in a Storm, is a testament to courage and what the human mind can endure and overcome. His crimes start out between the ages of 25-30 and his first arrest is due to his inpersonation of an FBI agent, all just to keep a girl out later than her given curfew.
These minor crimes continue, from bigamy to bad checks until he thinks he has come up with the perfect crime : robbing a bank and framing the bank manager. Things go terribly wrong and something that should have been simple turns into murder, leading James to prison for a 40 year sentence at the hands of a politician looking for something to boost his career.
Willow in a Storm gives detailed accounts of James' life, from his formative years which included abuse, to his attempts at getting paroled and finally to his release. The only criticism I have is that the book jumps around and can be confusing in the timeline of events. Overall this is a book that is an eyeopener for those who are unsure what the justice system is truly all about, and what prisoners go through on a daily basis.
About the author:
James Peter Taylor and Kathleen Murphy-Taylor have been married for 11 years. Jim managed to survive over 40 years in prison and was released at age 70, partially blind. Today, over a decade later, he faces further health battles, including dementia. Kathy received her MSW from the University of Michigan. She practiced social work for 32 years for private and public agencies. In her retirement, she devotes herself to caring for Jim. They live in Minneapolis.