Perry's mother, Jessica, has been a resident of Cell Block C since his birth, and Warden Daugherty has made sure that despite her incarceration he and his mom have never been separated. Certainly Perry has had an unorthodox upbringing; however, he finds that each new "rez" has a story worth telling. Mr. Rojas love his daughters, and he only ran that gambling ring in order to "send his little girls to college (46)." Halsey wants to play a game of one-on-one with Perry one day on the other side, and Eggy-Mon serves up trays at mealtimes with a side of poetry. In the course of the novel, the reader also discovers, along with Perry, that Jessica Cook's story and subsequent imprisonment is not what it appears to be. Her mistake at that intersection is fraught with family dysfunction and teenage love, and Perry is determined to fill in the missing details in order to insure that his mom will win her parole.
Perry's story motivates the reader to advocate for right, even when justice demands struggle. He must face his mother's fallibility, share a best friend's daily heartaches, and battle a bully who relentlessly reveals Perry's flaws. Throughout the journey, Perry never allows his meal card that won't swipe or Brian's taunts and teasing to deflate his optimism and faith in the world around him.
Connor's novel also serves to put a human face on the men and women serving sentences within the confines of the criminal justice system. While she never makes excuses for their law-breaking, she does maintain their dignity and humanity. Some might see the novel as an impossible picture of the judiciary, and others will say that the fictional world of Blue River is not even remotely close to reality. Yet, Perry is a character who inspires hope for the innocent and forgiveness for those who have faltered.