Pushed: State of Oklahoma vs. Amber Hilberling: The Inside Story of the Murder Case That Riveted the Bible Belt
Be warned, this book is a heart-dropping, utterly mind-blowing, and devastatingly sad piece of work. J.R. Elias rips the reader into the real-life drama that upset the nation and, in the end, shattered lives. Pushed: State of Oklahoma vs. Amber Hilberling was a very intense book. I cried, I cringed, I felt complete and total shock. This was one of the best, and yet worst, nonfiction stories I’ve ever read.
To start off, I know absolutely nothing of law or court proceedings, and I had not even been aware of this case. I was coming into this story fresh and optimistic. That, I believe, was a mistake. One should have a guarded heart and an iron stomach before even attempting this book. Mr. Elias is honest, engaging, and very humble. The way he writes, I imagine, is similar to how I envisioned him being in real life. I could see clearly how things seemed to him during the whole trial. Every hope, every despair, I could feel it right there with him. I bonded to Amber over the course of the book. She reminded me of when I was younger, before I, too, escaped my past, and I rooted for her. The way the media smeared her image, the way her husband’s family trashed her, the unfair treatment she received at trial: these things instilled in me the same thing I believe Mr. Elias felt–that Amber needed to be protected. Alas, that was not meant to be. The twists and turns in the labyrinth that became the trail disheartened me. I wept at the injustice, I howled against the lies, and I raged against the unethical actions of the prosecutor. This book had me to the very edge of my seat, and I felt more emotions than I ever thought possible.
Sadly, the final twist this book gives was the blow that really sunk me. I had hoped, without even being consciously aware of it, hoped with all my might that this book would eventually have a happy ending. I prayed and wished that things would work out in the end and be alright. I did not receive my wishes. This book, like life, was crushing to my soul. This is a book that I have loved and hated with equal measure, and I cannot help giving it rave reviews for the stunningly brilliant writing and wonderful voice of the author. Mr. Elias is a class act, and I am thoroughly impressed with this debut into writing. I now eagerly await his next book, and would recommend Pushed to anyone that loves true crime novels.