CONVICTIONS: My Journey from the Convent to the Courtroom by Arlene with Suda J. Prohaska Violet

CONVICTIONS: My Journey from the Convent to the Courtroom

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One would think a former nun who became an activist lawyer and then state attorney general of Rhode Island would have a unique story to tell for herself--but this is a typical politico-bio, vapid and self-aggrandizing. Violet grew up in a French-Canadian-Irish family in Providence and in 1961 decided to dump two admiring boyfriends and a possible career on the stage for life as a Sister of Mercy. She took her final vows in 1969 and immediately began to realize her goal of becoming the kind of nun ""that prayed through action, not by mouth."" She and a few others moved into Providence's black ghetto, risking their lives to help the poor. Violet decided a lawyer was needed to implement change--and became one herself. In 1975, she was appointed special assistant attorney general in charge of consumer affairs, and developed a knack for publicity--suing a Massachusetts bishop, for instance, who threatened to close a day-care center. Having earned the not-so-pejorative nickname ""Attila the Nun,"" Violet ran for state attorney general (as a Republican) in 1981, losing by a small margin. She quit the Sisters of Mercy--because of a Vatican ruling forbidding religious to hold public office--and became attorney general on her second try in 1984. She's best known for deciding to retry Claus von Bulow after his first conviction was overturned on appeal; she appears to be still smarting from the outcome of the second trial. She lost her '86 bid for re-election (""And so my journey continues"") and is now back to lawyering in Providence. Sappy and clichÉd, with apparently reconstructed dialogue that rings especially false, and some insipid prose: ""Working for valuable goals and seeing them accomplished is enormously satisfying, particularly when they also bring joy to your heart.

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1987
Publisher: Random House