1. Entertainment
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

'Picking Cotton' by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton and Erin Torneo

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating


'Picking Cotton' by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino ,Ronald Cotton and Erin Torneo

'Picking Cotton'

St. Martin's Press

The Bottom Line

Picking Cotton is the true story of how Jennifer Thompson-Cannino picked Ronald Cotton out of a line-up as the man who raped her. Cotton was convicted and spent 11 years in prison before DNA evidence showed he was innocent. Picking Cotton is told in Thompson-Cannino and Cotton's alternating voices, starting before the trial and leading up to their eventual friendship after Cotton was released. This is a compelling story, and the skilled writing does it justice. Even though I knew the ending, I felt suspense and could not put it down. A highly recommended read.


  • This is an important story to tell.
  • It is extremely well written and paced; reads like fiction.
  • Inspirational -- shows how two people transcended injustice through forgiveness.
  • Tells the facts without being overly graphic.


  • I don't have a con.


  • 'Picking Cotton' by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton and Erin Torneo was first published in March 2009.
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • 304 Pages

Guide Review - 'Picking Cotton' by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton and Erin Torneo

There are a few things that make Picking Cotton such a good book. First, it is an important story to tell. Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton's story reveals flaws in the criminal justice system that need to be considered. It is not, however, merely important as an expose. It is also an inspirational story about the power of forgiveness. Even though Thompson-Cannino and Cotton were victims of huge injustices, they were eventually able to overcome and even build a deep friendship. This aspect of Picking Cotton sets it apart from other memoirs of injustice.

It is possible, however, to tell an important story in a way that is dry or painful to read. That is how I felt about John Grisham's The Innocent Man. Picking Cotton is a good book not just for the story, but also for the writing. I didn't want to put it down. I was drawn in and wanted to hear more from both voices. When Thompson-Cannino expressed hatred toward Cotton, I empathized even though I knew she was wrong. When Cotton felt hopeful that his verdict would be overturned during an appeal, I routed for him even though I knew it would not happen.

I am interested in race relations and justice, especially in the South, so this book naturally appealed to me. I believe, however, that even those who are not as interested in these issues would enjoy reading this outstanding book.

  1. About.com
  2. Entertainment
  3. Bestsellers
  4. Nonfiction Reviews
  5. Memoirs
  6. Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton and Erin Torneo - Book Review of Picking Cotton

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.