Article and photos by Judy Williams
The Stockbridge Branch of the Capital Area District Libraries was packed with an attentive audience to hear Patrice Johnson talk about her new book The Fall and Rise of Tyler Johnson. The book is based on the journals and actual events of her son’s life as a fugitive of the US government.
First-time author Johnson is a Stockbridge resident, a former Stockbridge teacher, and a graduate of Stockbridge High School. Her son, Tyler, the central character of the dramatic true story, was a native of Michigan, and his driving goal throughout the book is to find a way to return home to his family.
In his journals, Tyler details how he coped with facing the threat of life in prison for an alleged act of environmental extremism. A Caltech Presidential Merit Scholar, he eludes the FBI and flees to a Mediterranean island south of France. Fiction? No. This narrative non-fiction work, based on Tyler’s writings, depicts an idealistic young genius’s struggle to overcome the crushing consequences from a night of college binge drinking in a post-911 world.
This serious, tender, and sometimes funny, 493-page work chronicles Tyler’s battle to survive as a fugitive, all while trying to piece together the shards of his life and maintain a relationship with the Japanese lover who fled with him. Living off the grid in the wilds of Corsica and on the streets of Marseilles and Paris, Tyler copes with starvation, thirst, the degradation of homelessness, and human and creature attacks. His story raises a warning flag to others who may feel tempted to cross to the wrong side of the law.
This is a must read!
A portion of the royalties for The Fall and Rise of Tyler Johnson will be donated to Longmont Community Justice Partnership(LCJP). The LCJP collaborates among police, schools, and municipal courts to provide restorative justice as an alternative to the traditional criminal system. Johnson stated, “No young person should feel his or her life is over, no matter how serious the mistake.”