Willie Ray Rivers has locked-in syndrome brought on, as best the doctors can tell, by a stroke. He can’t talk and can’t move any part of his body except the little finger on one hand. “I’m not writing this. I’m screaming it. But only inside my mind. It’s all in my head. YOU are in my head.”
He is cared for by his wife, Ella, and their friends Edgar and Dream. He talks to Ella through an elaborate system of eye blinks. The narration is Willie Ray’s thoughts and memories, which bounce about in time and place from Hub City, Mississippi to San Francisco, California and back. He meets his best friend and spiritual advisor in a jail cell in Mississippi and meets and marries Ella at Amazing Grace Church in San Francisco. Back in Mississippi, he and Ella publish a weekly newspaper and are drawn into on-again off-again conflicts with Bubba Wright, a corrupt city council member with ties to the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizens Council.
As a reluctantly crusading newspaperman and caring human being, Willie Ray gets embroiled in the fight against attempts to destroy the nearby community of Palmers Crossing led by Bubba Wright.
Willie Ray is a kind and loving man who is unsure of himself and able to carry on only because of Ella’s love and patience before and after he becomes locked in. He is also a self-confessed sex addict.
Locked In is a story of love and survival and forgiveness and a look at the turbulent racial tensions in a Southern town decades after the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ‘60s.
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