A Matter of Conscience: Redemption of a Hometown Hero, Bobby Hoppe by Sherry L. Hoppe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The book has an excellent premise...because it's true. The life and times of Bobby Hoppe is one of those moments where clearly real life is far better than fiction; or in his case, more interesting. Sherry Hoppe, his now widow, tells his story through her memory of what it was like to live with and love this man tormented by a secret that ravaged him for years.
The prose is well written and the court transcripts are told in great detail (sometimes too much, but I assume necessary). I cannot fathom living with this kind of burden for as long as they both did. They only portion of the text I took some umbrage with were the unnecessary literary quotes. They are sprinkled throughout the book and if one was not well-read, they would have not made sense. There are times, in the context of the full story quoted, they actually did not make sense. I appreciate the author's knowledge of literature, but felt it did not enhance the story of her late husband.
In July on 1957, Bobby Hoppe was home from Auburn enjoying some time off from his legacy football stardom. He'd been out on date and was heading home when a dark car encroached on him in the night. At first he thought it was some of his old friends just being "boys" but when the drive aimed a pistol at him, the night took a devastating turn. The man with the gun was his sister's former - a well known whiskey runner at the time. Shots were fired and the rest becomes history. In fear, Hoppe fled the scene, but thirty one years later, his past resurfaced in a indictment for first-degree murder. Considering the amount of time that had passed, witnesses were scarce (if alive), police records misplaced, and memories faded like sun-bleached chairs in the summer sun.
Sherry and Bobby Hoppe had to reveal the secret they'd lived with for years: Bobby Hoppe, despite his football fame and beloved coach reputation, had killed a man in 1957.
The novel tells the story of what really happened that night...and a ending that shocks the nation.
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