counter create hit Couldn't Keep it to Myself: Wally Lamb and the Women of York Correctional Institution - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Couldn't Keep it to Myself: Wally Lamb and the Women of York Correctional Institution

Availability: Ready to download

In a stunning work of insight and hope, New York Times bestselling author Wally Lamb once again reveals his unmatched talent for finding humanity in the lost and lonely and celebrates the transforming power of the written word. For several years, Lamb has taught writing to a group of women prisoners at York Correctional Institution in Connecticut. In this unforgettable col In a stunning work of insight and hope, New York Times bestselling author Wally Lamb once again reveals his unmatched talent for finding humanity in the lost and lonely and celebrates the transforming power of the written word. For several years, Lamb has taught writing to a group of women prisoners at York Correctional Institution in Connecticut. In this unforgettable collection, the women of York describe in their own words how they were imprisoned by abuse, rejection, and their own self-destructive impulses long before they entered the criminal justice system. Yet these are powerful stories of hope and healing, told by writers who have left victimhood behind. In his moving introduction, Lamb describes the incredible journey of expression and self-awareness the women took through their writing and shares how they challenged him as a teacher and as a fellow author. Couldn't Keep It to Myself is a true testament to the process of finding oneself and working toward a better day.


Compare
Ads Banner

In a stunning work of insight and hope, New York Times bestselling author Wally Lamb once again reveals his unmatched talent for finding humanity in the lost and lonely and celebrates the transforming power of the written word. For several years, Lamb has taught writing to a group of women prisoners at York Correctional Institution in Connecticut. In this unforgettable col In a stunning work of insight and hope, New York Times bestselling author Wally Lamb once again reveals his unmatched talent for finding humanity in the lost and lonely and celebrates the transforming power of the written word. For several years, Lamb has taught writing to a group of women prisoners at York Correctional Institution in Connecticut. In this unforgettable collection, the women of York describe in their own words how they were imprisoned by abuse, rejection, and their own self-destructive impulses long before they entered the criminal justice system. Yet these are powerful stories of hope and healing, told by writers who have left victimhood behind. In his moving introduction, Lamb describes the incredible journey of expression and self-awareness the women took through their writing and shares how they challenged him as a teacher and as a fellow author. Couldn't Keep It to Myself is a true testament to the process of finding oneself and working toward a better day.

30 review for Couldn't Keep it to Myself: Wally Lamb and the Women of York Correctional Institution

  1. 5 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    'Couldn't Keep It To Myself' is a sad book of short autobiographical stories written by eleven imprisoned women attending a memoir-writing class. They are racially White and Black. They come from the underclass and the middle-class. Their writings are edited, but unfortunately the real lives of these women were not. The convictions? Credit card fraud Embezzlement Assault Drug trafficking Homicide Manslaughter Commonalities: Childhood traumas, mostly because of shit parents, even if those parents didn’t m 'Couldn't Keep It To Myself' is a sad book of short autobiographical stories written by eleven imprisoned women attending a memoir-writing class. They are racially White and Black. They come from the underclass and the middle-class. Their writings are edited, but unfortunately the real lives of these women were not. The convictions? Credit card fraud Embezzlement Assault Drug trafficking Homicide Manslaughter Commonalities: Childhood traumas, mostly because of shit parents, even if those parents didn’t mean to be terrible. Some of the writers' parents supposedly loved their, generally in number, four kids, some totally didn't. Some of the prisoners claim to love their own, generally numbering about four, kids. Generally the moms of the imprisoned writers worked hard at either outside jobs and/or at trying to guide their kids without much ability, time or knowledge about talking to their kids. Some of the incarcerated women also worked outside the home before their convictions, holding down jobs. Dads generally did not act as if they loved their kids despite their stated vows of deep affection and honorable intentions. Sex education appears to be non-existent, being limited to parental threats without any explanations or efforts to give their daughters birth control. In reality dads, and some moms, acted either with constant punitive violence or selfishness, and often both. Dads almost never provided any funding or time for their kids, despite their claims of eternal love of family and their significant other. Actions speak louder than words, parents... -Most of the women had been raped before age twelve, several by dads, stepdads, or adult friends of the family. -All of the women were involved with a boy or a man in a sexual relationship before age sixteen, feeling it was true love. -All of them were deserted by the fathers of their children. -Most of the women dropped out of high school, primarily because they hated school. -They clearly did not read much before being incarcerated - I can tell, as probably most Goodreads members can when meeting new people - lack of perspective and introspection being the primary clues, especially when these women were in their teens. Plus, excessive reliance on ignorant passed-around social and family tropes and beliefs, without examination or educated knowledge. -Most have four children, and a couple of divorces/separations or several true-love relationships before they were convicted of crimes and imprisoned. -Most had many many many ‘homes’, their parents moving a lot. -Most have ADHD, or learning disabilities, or personality disorders. Stereotypical, you may be indignantly thinking? Absolutely. Because most real prison inmates often actually do have the same type of family dramas again and again, as verified by outside family members and described by researchers and journalists. The details differ, but not the outlines. Many stereotypes are based on reality, sometimes exaggerated, but real nonetheless. If we want to hear different stories from and about prison inmates, we need to finally fix the causes of criminal behavior. What are the causes? DID YOU READ THE ABOVE EXPERIENCES I RELATED ABOUT THESE WOMEN? So far, America has little to show in improving the situation despite many thousands of so-called fixes I have seen, read about or tried, by religious authorities, NGO's or government programs. Republicans generally think more beatings, punishment, shaming and blaming will fix criminals - as if that hasn't been the child education methodology go-to that most of these women's parents already have done. I do not understand how a substance-addicted or learning-disabled high school dropout coming out of prison decades later still unable to read, write or add figures will somehow be able to become a tax-paying, morally-respectable citizen [and parent] after being warehoused, raped, neglected, deprived, punished and beaten while imprisoned; and never having used an up-to-date computer or smart phone or having been given a meaningful education or mandatory psychiatric treatment. Accept it that the punitive actions many conservatives DO, even if not publicly admitted, actually result in a permanent population of those who are driven to resort to criminal behavior through either mental problems or financial poverty. Many progressives almost never follow through or continue the often fantastic success-proven educational prison programs they initiate, since they dry up funding after a quarter of a year or after they've been reelected, dropping the ball. Some progressives and conservatives are fucking crazy, believing in granola- or prayer-lifestyles is all it takes. Very few businesses truly want an ex-prisoner for an employee, given the issues enumerated above. Women also must face gender discrimination and predations of men bosses and peers, especially if they have children to support and a criminal record, an easy blackmail opportunity. The women in this book who no longer are incarcerated, alas, all seem to be working for NGO’s as councilors, a notoriously low-paid employment, for other women who are substance-addicted and abused by their male lovers. I am using the term “male lovers” satirically, given the evidence of these women. We demonize and condemn the mothers for lack of moral values, while wink-wink, excuse the fathers because 'boys will be boys', both genders actually acting out often in the same behaviors (as well as in gender-specific behaviors despite whatever we liberals do to erase some female/male differences). But, we do almost nothing (except relying on using moral misdirection or Pollyanna fixes of temporary hope), to resolve the actual dysfunctional family foundation of generations: No. Financial. Or. Enrichment. Resources. We refuse, absolutely refuse, to provide any real laws or enforcement of laws, or any long-term funding, for mandatory psychiatric care. Personally, I am beginning to believe all parents should be absolutely licensed, with proofs of having the ability to support children financially and psychologically, particularly since we are tending to make abortion a moral issue and illegal, or as nearly impossible to get as a free college education. If you think abortion should be illegal, then why is crap parenting not made illegal? Crap parenting is absolutely a crime, too, despite Pollyanna thinking. SUPPORT WOMEN AND THEIR CHILDREN WITH FINANCIAL RESOURCES AND EARLY EDUCATION. MEN, KEEP YOUR GD PENIS IN YOUR PANTS UNLESS YOU USE BIRTH CONTROL AND SUPPORT YOUR KIDS COMPLETELY FOR EIGHTEEN YEARS WITH GD MONEY AND TIME WITHOUT ABUSE. Wally Lamb is a well-known author, and Dale Griffith has taught at the York Correctional Institution School, both supporting writing workshops at prisons. An example of ‘involved’ fatherhood: https://youtu.be/jHPbOGEUvZA

  2. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    Very sad book - my view of imprisoned women has changed. I used to have no compassion for people in prison, considering they must have done something bad enough to get there, but these women's stories show that most of their problems stem from horribly abusive childhoods and if they had a healthier upbringing, most wouldn't be in jail now. Some were raped before they were even old enough to spell the word rape. The book doesn't focus much on their crimes, but their lives before and after their c Very sad book - my view of imprisoned women has changed. I used to have no compassion for people in prison, considering they must have done something bad enough to get there, but these women's stories show that most of their problems stem from horribly abusive childhoods and if they had a healthier upbringing, most wouldn't be in jail now. Some were raped before they were even old enough to spell the word rape. The book doesn't focus much on their crimes, but their lives before and after their crimes.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    Any book that can give voice to the voiceless should be celebrated. No one feels this more strongly than Wally Lamb, editor of Couldn't Keep It to Myself, a collection of stories by 11 women imprisoned in the York Correctional Institution in Connecticut. Teacher and novelist Lamb was invited to head a writing workshop at York Correctional Institution in 1999. His somewhat reluctant acceptance soon turned into steadfast advocacy once the women in his charge began to tell their stories. Lamb maint Any book that can give voice to the voiceless should be celebrated. No one feels this more strongly than Wally Lamb, editor of Couldn't Keep It to Myself, a collection of stories by 11 women imprisoned in the York Correctional Institution in Connecticut. Teacher and novelist Lamb was invited to head a writing workshop at York Correctional Institution in 1999. His somewhat reluctant acceptance soon turned into steadfast advocacy once the women in his charge began to tell their stories. Lamb maintains that there are things we need to know about prison and prisoners: "There are misconceptions to be abandoned, biases to be dropped." However, as heartfelt as his appeal is, nothing speaks more convincingly in this book than the stories themselves. (Amazon Review). I've read almost all of what Wally Lamb has written and although I assumed this too would be a very good read, however, I did not expect to be completely captivated and overcome by it; I found myself really, really thinking about the woman in this book, after I put it down at night and when I awoke in the morning. I certainly am rating this a star higher than the average rating, but it is not so much for the writing itself but for the impact this book has had on me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amy P.

    As a feminist this book is important. It's voices directly from the women that the prison industrial complex affects. It's a humanizing book that sheds light on a broken criminal justice system. Although it is not implicit that the criminal just system is broken, it is easy to infer from these women's stories that there are systemic issues in these women's lives that prison does still not address. It becomes apparent through these women's words that the way our criminal justice system works now As a feminist this book is important. It's voices directly from the women that the prison industrial complex affects. It's a humanizing book that sheds light on a broken criminal justice system. Although it is not implicit that the criminal just system is broken, it is easy to infer from these women's stories that there are systemic issues in these women's lives that prison does still not address. It becomes apparent through these women's words that the way our criminal justice system works now if is a vindictive system. Also illuminated is the fact that the same system that is trying to "teach them a lesson" is partly responsible for failing them in the first place. And excellent read that further proves that we need to move back to a prison system that emphasizes rehabilitation and not retribution.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tamsen

    This book accomplished two things... it cemented my love for Wally Lamb and it seriously changed my perspective on the incarcerated. My favorite part was Wally Lamb talking about his 'excuse card' he keeps by the phone... when he gets asked to volunteer his time, Lamb references the card and preserves his time for writing instead. When asked to volunteer his time for a writing workshop at the York Correctional Institution, he couldn't find the card. Lamb declares himself "a family man, a fiction This book accomplished two things... it cemented my love for Wally Lamb and it seriously changed my perspective on the incarcerated. My favorite part was Wally Lamb talking about his 'excuse card' he keeps by the phone... when he gets asked to volunteer his time, Lamb references the card and preserves his time for writing instead. When asked to volunteer his time for a writing workshop at the York Correctional Institution, he couldn't find the card. Lamb declares himself "a family man, a fiction writer, a teacher, and a guy who can't say no without an index card." With that line on the third page, I just couldn't help myself -- I loved Lamb just a little bit more. But this isn't a book just furthering my love for Wally Lamb... it is a collection of short stories by the women who have been incarcerated at YCI, a maximum security facility. They share their stories without ever making excuses or whining about their situations. I never would have thought that I would "get" these voices - that I could identify a bit with them, I could cry with them at their saddest moments or share at their wonderment that they had let their lives get to that critical breaking point. I was surprised that there wasn't a single short story I didn't like or an author that I didn't respect. I can't even believe I'm saying I respect these prisoners - but my judgemental attitude really changed somewhere along the way. This was a beautiful book by beautiful, strong women and I am so thankful that Wally Lamb gave these women their voices.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    I was a bit leery of starting this book when I saw the subject. It took me back to the years I dealt with dysfunctional women and heard stories like the ones related in this volume over and over and over again. After I got into it a ways, though, I couldn't stop reading. More women live in the shadows of the experiences these women had on their way from infancy to womanhood than would commonly be believed. I scratched my head a few years ago when one of the agencies in the state in which I was w I was a bit leery of starting this book when I saw the subject. It took me back to the years I dealt with dysfunctional women and heard stories like the ones related in this volume over and over and over again. After I got into it a ways, though, I couldn't stop reading. More women live in the shadows of the experiences these women had on their way from infancy to womanhood than would commonly be believed. I scratched my head a few years ago when one of the agencies in the state in which I was working reported that there was almost an epidemic of incest in that state. Incest has always lived and moved and had its being in the silent shadows and society, along with emotional and physical abuse. This book brings it out of the shadows and into the light of day. And lest the reader draw comfort in the notion that these are stories of women in a far away prison in a state far away from them, let them be assured that these stories are not stories confined to women in legal confinement. They are the stories of our mothers, our sisters, our neighbors, our kin, and our friends.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I have not read the well-regarded novels by Wally Lamb, but overall, I found this project spear-headed by him to be an interesting read. True, the writing of these women was not the best examples of prose I've ever read, but the naked reality of their stories was refreshing and interesting. This is probably not my first choice of style of reading material, but I'm glad it was recommended to me as it expanded my reading horizons a bit. These women all have compelling stories to tell, and really t I have not read the well-regarded novels by Wally Lamb, but overall, I found this project spear-headed by him to be an interesting read. True, the writing of these women was not the best examples of prose I've ever read, but the naked reality of their stories was refreshing and interesting. This is probably not my first choice of style of reading material, but I'm glad it was recommended to me as it expanded my reading horizons a bit. These women all have compelling stories to tell, and really tough emotions to deal with, and Mr. Lamb's involvement in this endeavor resulted in some thoughtful writing that has no doubt changed these writers' inner lives if not their outer circumstances. Worth the time and effort.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rishelle Vinson

    I found this gem of a book in a used bookstore in Titusville, Fl. Once I started reading I could not put this book down. I fell in love with all the women’s stories and their hearts. Wally Lamb is a caring and amazing author because he went to the York Correctional Institution and created a writing workshop for the women who wanted to create memoirs. One of my favorite stories is called “Hair Chronicles,” by Tabatha Rowley. She writes her story taking the reader through her life by remembering h I found this gem of a book in a used bookstore in Titusville, Fl. Once I started reading I could not put this book down. I fell in love with all the women’s stories and their hearts. Wally Lamb is a caring and amazing author because he went to the York Correctional Institution and created a writing workshop for the women who wanted to create memoirs. One of my favorite stories is called “Hair Chronicles,” by Tabatha Rowley. She writes her story taking the reader through her life by remembering how she wore her hair. My favorite hair she wore was when she had a fro. This book is great because it shows how writing can be therapeutic and aid in expressing oneself. These women felt empowered after telling their stories. The high level of abuse and assault these women endured even before they went to prison could be surprising to some readers. But do not think that this read will be depressing. These stories are uplifting because the women’s spirits show through their writings to reach the reader and they are nothing short of beautiful.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susan Anders

    This is a humbling collection of short stories written by women in the York Correctional Institution in Connecticut. Each story is written by the inmates that were put there for various reasons, but none of them leave you feeling like the writer wants you to feel sorry for them. In fact, you feel humbled and grateful that they were willing to share their stories. All of the women came from horrible childhoods: sexual abuse, child-abuse, broken families, drugs, alcohol - numerous tragedies that s This is a humbling collection of short stories written by women in the York Correctional Institution in Connecticut. Each story is written by the inmates that were put there for various reasons, but none of them leave you feeling like the writer wants you to feel sorry for them. In fact, you feel humbled and grateful that they were willing to share their stories. All of the women came from horrible childhoods: sexual abuse, child-abuse, broken families, drugs, alcohol - numerous tragedies that shaped them into women just looking to be loved and willing to accept it in any form, no matter how misconstrued it was! They were not bad people, just a product of a bad childhood full of degrading acts and many with seemingly hopeless futures. Wally Lamb met these women when he was asked to voluntarily run a writing workshop at York CI. What was something he was dreading later became something he looked forward to every week. These stories are the product of his many months spent with these amazing, resilient women. These women were given a chance to express freely some of the ghosts that have haunted them for years. Self-expression at its finest!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    While I was interested in reading this book, I also had some healthy skepticism about what would be written on those pages. I was quite suprised. I will admit, I had a bit of a stereotype in my head of the two types of women most often found in prison; the first being the angry, easily-enraged woman who is unremorseful of her actions, and in fact feels justified many times, and bitter about being locked up. Someone who is just passing time waiting to get out, rather than trying to improve their l While I was interested in reading this book, I also had some healthy skepticism about what would be written on those pages. I was quite suprised. I will admit, I had a bit of a stereotype in my head of the two types of women most often found in prison; the first being the angry, easily-enraged woman who is unremorseful of her actions, and in fact feels justified many times, and bitter about being locked up. Someone who is just passing time waiting to get out, rather than trying to improve their life, and stay away from crime. Inmate stereotype - that of the "constant victim". They can manipulate with emotion. They will admit to their crimes, they will cry about them, they will apologize, but it always boils down to the fact that they are never responsible for their actions. They were always forced, or tricked, or manipulated into their crimes. So, with those stereotypes in my head, I really was expecting this book to be full of stories about how these women were "innocent", or, if willing to admit to their crimes, that instead everything bad that ever happened to them is the reason they commited them. Instead, I found that while, yes, these women related in most of their stories some of the struggles they went through as children and teenagers, including the stories you would expect of molestation, physical and emotional abuse, rape, teenage pregnancy, drugs, and mental illness, but they weren't being used as an excuse for committing their crimes - instead, the stories appear more self-examinatory than that, as though, rather than trying to justify and excuse their actions through telling the stories of their lives, they are in fact attempting to deal with it, and maybe, if only for themselves, to try to shed light on the turning point when it all seemed to go so wrong. Unfortunately, these women will never really know for sure what that moment was. It would be a great fortune to the justice system, and society, if we could look back at the lives on criminals and narrow the timeline down to the one time or one thing that made them cross the line. Then, we could hope to intervene before they had a chance to 'break', and exhibit any criminal behaviour. It would also help if we all reacted and dealt with bad situations in exactly the same way - if only 2+2 ALWAYS equaled 4 in these types of situations. If only every person who was ever beaten by a parent reacted the exact same way to the trauma - then, once a situation was revealed, we as a society would know how this was going to affect the victim, and fix it. Instead, every second that goes by, another person turns victim, and it will be years down the line before we can ever hope to see the effect such a trauma has had on them. That, more than anything, was what I took from this book. It's not an excuse, or a justification, unfortuntely, it's just a sad fact - most of the people in jail, were at some point, a victim themselves. They were a child hiding under their bed while their father hit their mother, they were the scared little girl wide awake all night long huddled under the covers waiting to hear the heavy footsteps in the hall, and praying that they continued past the door, they were the teenage boy who was teased in school day in and day out... no, it does not justify their crimes, or excuse them. Instead, it just gives us a little more understanding. If you've ever wondered how someone could commit a certain crime, it gives you just a glimpse of the picture of how they could get there. Most of all, it makes you realize that these women are real human beings, despite their crimes. That, if not for a twist of fate, if not for a chance in circumstances, you could very well standing in their shoes too, trying to look back on your own life and figure out if there was one point where it all started to go wrong. Have you ever been so angry that you wanted to hit someone you loved? Have you ever been so desperate for something you wanted that for just a second the thought of slipping it into your pocket and walking out of the store crossed your mind? Have you ever gotten so caught up in a moment you felt as though you had no control? There is a tiny bit of a criminal in all of us, buried deep. Have you ever wondered just what might make your inner criminal come out?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    Once in a blue moon a book comes along and knocks you on your ass. You'd defend your feelings towards it to the bitter end (and you'd kind of like to shake sense into anyone who doesn't feel the same). I had ordered this book, received it in the mail, and had every intention of putting it on my bookshelf (or mantle or desk or nightstand or anywhere I could fit it in the mess of books that have accumulated in my house). I flipped it open just to read a line or two. And then I stood in the middle o Once in a blue moon a book comes along and knocks you on your ass. You'd defend your feelings towards it to the bitter end (and you'd kind of like to shake sense into anyone who doesn't feel the same). I had ordered this book, received it in the mail, and had every intention of putting it on my bookshelf (or mantle or desk or nightstand or anywhere I could fit it in the mess of books that have accumulated in my house). I flipped it open just to read a line or two. And then I stood in the middle of my kitchen for the next twenty minutes, unable to put it down. And it took up the next hour. And the next. And then another. I couldn't stop reading it. And I couldn't stop talking about it (with both tears in my eyes and rage in my voice) to my husband. This book (other than the introduction) was not actually written by Wally Lamb. This book contains twelve non-fiction, short stories written by 10 inmates and one teacher/writer at York (Correctional Institution). Their stories - their childhoods and "adulthoods" - are often plagued with an abundance of violence, rape, molestation, and neglect. These are women who life had not been fair to, and women who have not necessarily made the best choices. These are stories that made me feel angry, sad, sympathetic, and grateful for all I've had in my life. These women are mothers, daughters, sister, wives, friends. Some may say the writing is not perfect, but I thought it was pretty damn amazing. I don't need them to write like Steinbeck. I'd rather they be honest. To Wally Lamb for giving these women a voice and for teaching workshops every other week - you were one of my favorite authors prior to knowing this. I can't even describe what I think of you now. My emotions are running so high after reading this book that I can't write a proper review much less a proper "thank you." 5 Non-Negotiable Stars

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gale

    "Hope, Freedom and Peace through Journaling" Author Wally Lamb's workshop at York Correctional Facility for Women inspired eleven inmates to commit their memories of childhood and early adulthood to paper. This process has proven beneficial to the wounded "children" locked inside their hearts, as well as to those who seek to understand how they wound up in prison. Once the hurdle of not trusting anyone behind bars was cleared, these eleven women unleashed the floodgates of repressed or anguished "Hope, Freedom and Peace through Journaling" Author Wally Lamb's workshop at York Correctional Facility for Women inspired eleven inmates to commit their memories of childhood and early adulthood to paper. This process has proven beneficial to the wounded "children" locked inside their hearts, as well as to those who seek to understand how they wound up in prison. Once the hurdle of not trusting anyone behind bars was cleared, these eleven women unleashed the floodgates of repressed or anguished memories--relating their personal journeys of trauma and degradation with stark realism. Yes, it is not easy for those of us with protected childhoods to digest these bitter accounts, yet it is critical to instill compassion. Learning to trust, to accept responsibility for their own actions, and realizing that many childhood traumas were Not their fault are major steps in personal catharsis--in coming to terms decades later with how they were wronged. Gradually these brave women have been proactive in releasing the shackles of guilt and shame which they forged on the outside. Author Lamb shares his writing and editing gifts with these women, so that the first-person texts flow with continuity and intention. This collection of memories rings true, for many themes prove hauntingly familiar. This book, with its cover of a broken Mona Lisa composite, should be required reading for all Sociology majors and Social Service workers. Don't read it for mere entertainment, but rather for human enlightenment. Dare to join the sisterhood! (July 1, 2011.)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Wally Lamb is incredibly addicting. He is such a fantastic writer and although he did not directly write this book he is the one that inspired these women to come forth and write their stories. I guarntee you that once you have read this you will look at women in prison in a whole new light (maybe even the men as well, but this is not about the men). Just so I make myself clear and I am not accused as being some bleeding whining liberal, Although their end behavior (the one that wound them up in Wally Lamb is incredibly addicting. He is such a fantastic writer and although he did not directly write this book he is the one that inspired these women to come forth and write their stories. I guarntee you that once you have read this you will look at women in prison in a whole new light (maybe even the men as well, but this is not about the men). Just so I make myself clear and I am not accused as being some bleeding whining liberal, Although their end behavior (the one that wound them up in prison) is not excusable ( not all, but a few Yes) , it can be understood why they did the things they did and wound up down a path that did not turn out in their favor. These women endured almost all of their life mental, physical, and sexual abuse from their own relatives at very early ages. As time went on they wound up with men who promised them the world and gave them nothing but heartache and they coped the only way that they knew how. It's shocking to say the least and I would highly recommend it. I can't sit here and tell you what I would have done if I were in their shoes and honestly no one can unless you have been through what they have gone through.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Moriarity

    Interesting look at why people do the things they do. Are we inherently bad or does something drive our rational decision making? This book draws the thin line between what is wrong, and what is necessary. Is it "wrong" to kill the husband who molested your innocent 2 year old granddaughter? But that's just the question on the surface. Suppose you know what becomes of 2 year old girls who are molested by a family member? Suppose you know that it leads to your mother committing suicide because sh Interesting look at why people do the things they do. Are we inherently bad or does something drive our rational decision making? This book draws the thin line between what is wrong, and what is necessary. Is it "wrong" to kill the husband who molested your innocent 2 year old granddaughter? But that's just the question on the surface. Suppose you know what becomes of 2 year old girls who are molested by a family member? Suppose you know that it leads to your mother committing suicide because she couldn't protect you from your pedophile father? Suppose you know that 2 year old girl is going to grow up severely depressed, loaded with guilt over her mother's suicide, a sexual slave to her father, and completely helpless to control her own life? Suppose you know that when that ruined little girl grows up she is going to keep choosing men who use her, control her, and abuse her? Suppose you know all this because it happened to you...then try and tell yourself you wouldn't kill the man to STOP the cycle of sexual abuse and violence, with you. It made me ask myself; "What would it take to drive me to murder?"

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erinn

    This book was excellent. I was hesitant in the beginning because, although it was a "Wally Lamb Book" it wasn't actually written by Wally Lamb. By the end of the book I wished there was a sequel to Couldn't Keep it to Myself so I could continue reading for a long time. The women pour out their souls and expose their most intimate feelings and I felt so fortunate to be reading it. I am connected with these women and because of that I feel the need to write to them in prison and express my gratitu This book was excellent. I was hesitant in the beginning because, although it was a "Wally Lamb Book" it wasn't actually written by Wally Lamb. By the end of the book I wished there was a sequel to Couldn't Keep it to Myself so I could continue reading for a long time. The women pour out their souls and expose their most intimate feelings and I felt so fortunate to be reading it. I am connected with these women and because of that I feel the need to write to them in prison and express my gratitude for them voicing their story. I laughed once during the book my eyes welled up numerous times and I felt a sick helpless feeling in my stomach through most of it. Emotionally captivating! UPDATE: When I wrote this I hadn't even looked to see if there was a second book like this. There is. I'll Fly Away: Further Testimonies from the Women of York Prison.... it is on my TO READ list!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sue S

    Wally Lamb hasn't come out with his next terrific novel because he has been working with woman convicts in York,CT. He has been helping them "find their voice" thus helping them find themselves in the most dismal of circumstances. What amazes me the most about these stories, is the similarities between the women. Poverty, abuse, and mental illness and drug abuse. is in each woman's past. The stories are real, and so are the women in them. Some have gone on to great things, others are still incar Wally Lamb hasn't come out with his next terrific novel because he has been working with woman convicts in York,CT. He has been helping them "find their voice" thus helping them find themselves in the most dismal of circumstances. What amazes me the most about these stories, is the similarities between the women. Poverty, abuse, and mental illness and drug abuse. is in each woman's past. The stories are real, and so are the women in them. Some have gone on to great things, others are still incarcerated. To anyone who thinks we need to cut back on educational opportunities for the incarcerated need to read this book, and see what self esteem ( from successfully completing a class, or writing)does for these women.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Katiesmurphy

    I thought what I loved about Wally Lamb was his writing, but he didn't write this one and he accomplishes the same straight to the gut honesty and simple reality that I love so much. Every one of these stories had me looking back at the picture into the eyes of the author, amazed how much she relayed in so few pages and how much she'd lived through. I've been thinking so much about these stories, these amazing women who had so much shit happen to them, and whose voices were squashed flat until t I thought what I loved about Wally Lamb was his writing, but he didn't write this one and he accomplishes the same straight to the gut honesty and simple reality that I love so much. Every one of these stories had me looking back at the picture into the eyes of the author, amazed how much she relayed in so few pages and how much she'd lived through. I've been thinking so much about these stories, these amazing women who had so much shit happen to them, and whose voices were squashed flat until this writing class. It's actually making me thing completely differently about advocacy work. Women's hard luck or tragedy stories are one of my top genres, and this is near the top. (if anybody reads this who has other faves in that genre, I'd love some new reads).

  18. 4 out of 5

    Juan

    I got this book as a prize for getting an A in an Art Appreciation course. What a great incentive. My professor is collaborated to make the cover art. But whatever. The book is awesome. These are some of the stories of women who were or are currently incarcerated in a CT prison. Some of them are heartbreaking, some make you laugh, but they will all make you appreciative of what you have in life. I think it should be required reading for psychology students and social workers who have clients com I got this book as a prize for getting an A in an Art Appreciation course. What a great incentive. My professor is collaborated to make the cover art. But whatever. The book is awesome. These are some of the stories of women who were or are currently incarcerated in a CT prison. Some of them are heartbreaking, some make you laugh, but they will all make you appreciative of what you have in life. I think it should be required reading for psychology students and social workers who have clients coming out incarceration. There are some very powerful and hurt voices. The common theme of early age sexual abuse makes you want to really think about how we can change the way our society educates youth about sex.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Satterfield Farr

    This was an assigned reading for a college class (Women and Crime), and I absolutely loved it. It is very raw and emotional at times, and at others, beautiful and poetic. Lamb provides the reader with access into the physical and mental prisons of incarcerated women, through their own voices. Your experience with this book will probably change the way you view female prisoners and the U.S. justice system. I highly recommend it to everyone, but especially to those interested in Women's Studies, C This was an assigned reading for a college class (Women and Crime), and I absolutely loved it. It is very raw and emotional at times, and at others, beautiful and poetic. Lamb provides the reader with access into the physical and mental prisons of incarcerated women, through their own voices. Your experience with this book will probably change the way you view female prisoners and the U.S. justice system. I highly recommend it to everyone, but especially to those interested in Women's Studies, Criminal Justice, Anthropology, Sociology, or Psychology.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carly

    "There are things [we] need to know about prison and prisoners. There are misconceptions to be abandoned, biases to be dropped. There are a heart and a mind that need opening. There are many. We are a paradoxical nation, enormously charitable and stubbornly unforgiving. We have called into existence the prisons we wanted. I am less and less convinced they are the prisons we need." Excellent read. It humanizes those who need our understanding and compassion the most.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Bayer

    I found this collection of essays from incarcerated women compelling. Though I can't condone the paths these women took to lead them to prison, learning the details of their often violent childhoods did make me more compassionate as to their plight. The women's writing skills also impressed me, especially since many of them had an incomplete education. I recommend this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ptaylor

    This was a very different book of short stories. Each of the stories was written by a woman prisoner aided by Wally Lamb. It was very interesting how these women ended up in prison with the common denominator being a dysfunctional childhood. It was very well done and Wally Lamb put years of work into it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sara Risley

    I was a little blown away by this collection of pieces by female inmates at a Connecticut prison. The collection is forwarded by Wally Lamb who taught a writing class there and put this together. I was blown away by the stories these women told. Almost every single one of these women was abused sexually or physically starting at an early age. Breaks my heart.... I highly recommend the book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Staci

    This book makes me hate prisons and lose a little faith in humanity. So many women who end up in prison battle mental health and addiction issues primarily due to having been victims of abuse and violence and neglect in early childhood. The cycle is so ugly. These tales they tell of their lives make me weep. Such a vivid, moving book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I wasn't sure what to expect, and while these stories are full or hurt and pain, it's not a bleeding train wreck. This is a book full of hope and memories of good times. None of these women's stories are asking for your sympathy or cause you to feel sorry for them. More than anything, this is a book of lessons learned.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Wow! I loved this book. The fact that these women were able to tell their stories is a testament of Wally Lamb's ability to reach and teach them. Awesome book.I could not put it down, and I couldn't keep it to myself!!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I spent years dying for a follow up to I Know This Much Is True. When I read it was going to be a non-fiction book, I was all "maaaaaan! bummer." Yeah, I was stupid. This is one of the most amazing books I've ever read. If you don't read it, you are stupid!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    These women, and good 'ol Wally deserve every star. I cried, laughed, cringed, and felt a deep sense of empathy for them all. Second book of this set will be in my shopping cart soon!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary gillespie

    this book was life changing. . ..waiting for the sequel from the library. amazing book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Sites

    This collection of stories are both tragic and inspiring. These women are remarkable in many ways and further opened my eyes to the broken systems and cycles too many have endured. Their writing is artistic and skilled. Raw,revised, and real. A privilege to read every word and descriptive image created.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.