Saturday, January 26, 2019

THE PRISON BOOK CLUB

January 20, 2019

Walmsley, Ann. THE PRISON BOOK CLUB. Viking, 2015.

A Hawthorne Book Club selection, a happy surprise chosen for us by the library. I was a bit hesitant because I have such non-objective opinions about prison programming. Even wrote my own book about it (but fiction; this one is non-fiction). Mine is called A MODEST PROPOSAL and I wrote it as a protest to the devolution of rehabilitation programs in prison, especially the turning over of programming to untrained volunteers. I posted this on Wattpad, using my name and "earthabridge". 

With the above in mind, I enjoyed this book club selection more than I expected to. The only two books I had previously read myself were ALIAS GRACE and the POTATO SKIN PIE AND GUERNSEY LITERARY SOCIETY one (not the exact title). I felt the strengths of this Walmsley book include: the narrator's previous experience as a victim of violence; the commendable amount of energy devoted to the project by its initiator; the hassles of scheduling anything behind bars; the continual change of characters attending and their group dynamics; the running theme of how to choose the books.This last point struck me as being like choosing gifts. Do we choose something WE like, or something we think would BENEFIT the receiver, or something which appeals to the receiver, with which they will feel a connection? With this last choice, we honour them by knowing, acknowledging, and accepting who they are. Start with where they are. 




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