Morning Star Communications
In the first of a series of notebooks written by Son of Sam killer David Berkowitz, Son of Hope, begins with a quote from Berkowitz that says, “No sin is so great, no deed so wicked that it cannot be washed away by the blood of the Savior. And no life is so hopeless that it cannot be given a new start.”
Berkowitz was convicted of the “Son of Sam” murders of 1976. After narrowly surviving an attack by a fellow inmate, Berkowitz turned to God and recorded his story in one of the most refreshing and unconventional diaries in some time.
Serving a life sentence with no desire for parole, Berkowitz shows the maturity of a Christian who survived the most extreme of conditions and came out the better for it. The entries in the book deal with a wide array of topics from life in prison, devotional thoughts, discipleship behind bars, and unique perspectives on the state of the nation and the faith. Berkowitz's conversion is genuine and convicting, a beacon of hope for every man who struggles with guilt and self-worth.
However, the book is not perfect. Berkowitz is not a professional writer, and while this never cripples the book, there are places where the narrative loses emotional force due to plain writing that fails fully to capitalize on the immensity of the issues at hand. It is hard to penalize the book too strongly for this, though, as Berkowitz never claims to be a career writer; he is simply an honest believer who wants to tell his story.
The lack of an ending is also slightly troubling. While the book is obviously not intended to be the last compilation of Berkowitz's journals, the addition of a closing entry would have improved the ending of the book. Instead, the last article is very much like any of the others. This isn't necessarily a fault, but without anything to signal the ending, the last page of the book feels abrupt and unusual.
These complaints are minimal and subjective. Son of Hope is a simple and honest book by a man of real faith and real pain. The book presents the reader with a very unconventional kind of hero, a man who not only knows loss, grief, and pain, but also the relief that Christ can bring. As Berkowitz writes in one entry, “Wherever there is hatred, Jesus comes to bring love. Wherever there is racism, Christ comes to bring brotherhood. Wherever there is pain, the Lord comes to bring healing. And wherever there are sinners, Jesus Christ comes to offer forgiveness.” Jason P. Warne, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
From later 1975 through 1977, over a 13-month period David Berkowitz went on a killing spree in the New York metropolitan area--a spree that left six people dead and seven wounded. When Berkowitz--dubbed the Son of Sam--was finally captured, he confessed to his crimes and in 1978 was sentenced to 365 consecutive years in prison.
Ten years into David's prison sentence a fellow inmate began to share with him Christ's love, hope, and forgiveness. Eventually, David Berkowitz accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and has been walking as a Christian for more than 18 years.
David's prison journals offer irrefutable evidence that God has indeed done a marvelous and miraculous work in this man's life.