What I Read - July Edition

Oh, hey August! I didn't expect to see you so soon! But here you are and yet another month has passed where I have hardly read at all. SIGH. Chalk it up to summer and maybe a little bit of first trimester fatigue. But I checked four books out from the library this week so if I want to avoid any overdue fines I have to get my reading butt in gear!

Wally Lamb has been one of my favorite authors for a long time. I read She's Come Undone and fell in love with his writing. I've had the above book as well as I Know This Much Is True: A Novel (P.S.) sitting on my shelves for awhile because Lamb's books deserve your total devotion. They are thought provoking, emotional, and enthralling. Though he didn't write this book it was in the same vein, though non-fiction.

It's a collection of stories written by female inmates, most of whom are/were incarcerated in York Correctional Institution. The women were encouraged to write and edit their stories with the guidance of Lamb every other week. What resulted is an incredibly raw and moving illustration of the events that lead to a life of institutionalization. Each essay is a different voice, a different life, but many have the same history of abuse. It broke my heart to hear so many stories of abuse when these women were so young and to see what resulted. The hope sprung from reading what they gained as they let their voices be heard through writing. Some peace, some confidence, some support.

Dale Griffith a teacher at York wrote in the afterword: "The women I know at York have done some bad things, but they are not bad people. Like you and me and the rest of us, they need a little kindness, a little forgiveness. I know that, but for the grace of God, I might not be the one who gets to leave the compound at the end of the day and drive home to the people I love. This knowledge keeps me both humble and grateful.

Within the walls of York Correctional Institution, physical freedom is removed and, all too often, residents receive the message that they are society's subhuman throwaways. Writing, especially deep recorded recollections of specific events and the feelings these memories engender, is a means of fighting back -- a way to take control and preserve one's dignity in the face of adversity. "Writing's helped me figure out who I am and who I want to be," a Lambette told me recently. "My body's still in prison, but my spirit's finally free.""

Perhaps you have heard of the AMAZING show on Netflix Orange is the New Black? I jumped on that bandwagon and love this show! I'm not quite finished with season one as my tired ass can only fit in one a day if I'm lucky, but I'm so close! Well, this book tied in so well with this show I'm so glad I picked it up this month. It's an interesting show with a cast made up mostly of women and mostly women of color. It's so different from anything else I've watched recently (not that I watch a whole lot) and you can't help but fall in love with the supporting ladies and their quirks. Crazy Eyes is one of my favorites for sure.

So July was all about prison. I teared up when I finished the book the women of York wrote and I am hesitant to power through the last three episodes of OITNB because they are only just now filming season two. If I ever get a few straight days of solitude (yeah right!) I'm going to dive into the now two Lamb books I haven't yet read.

[Disclaimer: If you click on the above Amazon links and purchase anything I receive a small commission from Amazon. Like a few cents. Buying from Amazon is awesome, but your local library is pretty cool too.]

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