Talk About Your Scared Straight Experiences

By Neal Comment

I caught up on my New Yorker backlog while I was on vacation last week, including the Malcolm Gladwell feature on Rick Warren (which isn’t available online yet, but gets talked about here and here). So the next time we drove into town for lunch at the local indie bookstore/café, I picked up a copy of The Purpose-Driven Life, to learn more about its message. “Now if we get held hostage,” my wife joked, “we can just read that to him and we’ll be free.”

ashley.jpgTurns out, reports Jennifer Brett of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (and, the next day, Edward Wyatt), it wasn’t just the book. In Unlikely Angel, a memoir co-published today by HarperCollins subsidiaries Zondervan and Morrow, Ashley Smith (left) reveals that just before she kept kidnapper Brian Nichols up all night talking, she gave him the last of her crystal meth stash to get on his good side. She turned down his invitation to share the drugs, however, and writes that she’s remained clean since then. In an interview with Brett published today, Smith says, “I think everything I did was the way God wanted it to happen…The person who runs my life now is not Ashley. It’s Jesus. I don’t make a move without saying, ‘Guide me, lead me.’ I put others before myself now. It was just all about me. Now it’s about making a difference.”

photo: Rich Addicks/AJC