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Saturday, 20 September 2014

My Prison Journal: Volume 1 by John Smith

Title: My Prison Journal: Volume 1
Author: John Smith
Series: My Prison Journal
Read Type: Amazon Freebie
Stars: StarStarStarStar

You can purchase a copy of this book from Amazon UK and Amazon US
The publisher communicates through an intermediary, so getting a message to Smith is difficult at best. Should you have a comment for Smith contact GGA Publishing on garrymgraves@gmail.com

Book Blurb

This is a true story. John Smith (an alias) robbed a bank and was sent to prison for 10 years. This journal represents his prison experiences along with his innermost, personal thoughts. Reading books is Smiths’ only escape from reality. He claims to have read 185 books since his imprisonment in mid 2009. The publisher left the journals narrative without paragraphs, in hope of representing the hand-written notebook paper his manuscript composed. Smith says writing paper is valuable in prison and he must use all space available.

Smiths’ journal entries are sad, compelling, and introspective, providing the reader insightful, perhaps teachable moments of human behavior in an adverse environment.



Review

Strong language: None
Drugs: None
Violence: None
Sexual content: None

This short book is a collection of real life journals from a man in an American prison, starting a long sentence. The layout is unusual in that each entry is made up of one large paragraph as this is how it was written when sent to the publisher due to lack of paper to write on. I think this aspect, while strange to read at first helps you to immerse yourself in what life in like inside.

"John Smith", an alias to protect his loved ones, is clearly an educated man who ran his own business. When things went sour he asked a friend for help. This volume doesn't go into detail as to what happened, but he has ended up with an estimated twelve years incarcerated.

At first I had little compassion for the man, it's easy to look down on somebody when you're not in their situation, but much of his writing was based around missing his wife and kids, parents and friends. As you read of him anxiously awaiting a letter, or a couple of dollars to buy extras to make life easier you soon realise he is a family man who likely just ended up out of his depth. At times I felt sorry for him and angry at relatives for being so cold, while I knew nothing of their side.

The 411

This is a short but compelling read. What spelling mistakes he'd made were left in to keep these journals purely him. At times it got repetitive as in every entry he waited for the same things, but I think this just epitomises the repetition of prison life in hindsight.

I give this 4 stars for immersion into his world

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