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Corrections in Ink: A Memoir

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An electric and unforgettable memoir about a young woman's journey—from the ice rink, to addiction and a prison sentence, to the newsroom—and how she emerged with a fierce determination to expose the broken system she experienced. Keri Blakinger always lived life at full throttle. Growing up, that meant throwing herself into competitive figure skating with an all-consuming An electric and unforgettable memoir about a young woman's journey—from the ice rink, to addiction and a prison sentence, to the newsroom—and how she emerged with a fierce determination to expose the broken system she experienced. Keri Blakinger always lived life at full throttle. Growing up, that meant throwing herself into competitive figure skating with an all-consuming passion that led her to nationals. But when her skating career suddenly fell apart, that meant diving into self-destruction with the intensity she once saved for the ice. For the next nine years, Keri ricocheted from one dark place to the next: living on the streets, selling drugs and sex, and shooting up between classes all while trying to hold herself together enough to finish her degree at Cornell. Then, on a cold day during her senior year, the police caught her walking down the street with a Tupperware full of heroin. Her arrest made the front page of the local news and landed her behind bars for nearly two years. There, in the Twilight Zone of New York’s jails and prisons, Keri grappled with the wreckage of her missteps and mistakes as she sobered up and searched for a better path. Along the way, she met women from all walks of life—who were all struggling through the same upside-down world of corrections. As the days ticked by, Keri came to understand how broken the justice system is and who that brokenness hurts the most. After she walked out of her cell for the last time, Keri became a reporter dedicated to exposing our flawed prisons as only an insider could. Written with searing intensity, unflinching honesty, and shocks of humor, Corrections in Ink uncovers that dark, brutal system that affects us all. Not just a story about getting out and getting off drugs, this galvanizing memoir is about the power of second chances; about who our society throws away and who we allow to reach for redemption—and how they reach for it.


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An electric and unforgettable memoir about a young woman's journey—from the ice rink, to addiction and a prison sentence, to the newsroom—and how she emerged with a fierce determination to expose the broken system she experienced. Keri Blakinger always lived life at full throttle. Growing up, that meant throwing herself into competitive figure skating with an all-consuming An electric and unforgettable memoir about a young woman's journey—from the ice rink, to addiction and a prison sentence, to the newsroom—and how she emerged with a fierce determination to expose the broken system she experienced. Keri Blakinger always lived life at full throttle. Growing up, that meant throwing herself into competitive figure skating with an all-consuming passion that led her to nationals. But when her skating career suddenly fell apart, that meant diving into self-destruction with the intensity she once saved for the ice. For the next nine years, Keri ricocheted from one dark place to the next: living on the streets, selling drugs and sex, and shooting up between classes all while trying to hold herself together enough to finish her degree at Cornell. Then, on a cold day during her senior year, the police caught her walking down the street with a Tupperware full of heroin. Her arrest made the front page of the local news and landed her behind bars for nearly two years. There, in the Twilight Zone of New York’s jails and prisons, Keri grappled with the wreckage of her missteps and mistakes as she sobered up and searched for a better path. Along the way, she met women from all walks of life—who were all struggling through the same upside-down world of corrections. As the days ticked by, Keri came to understand how broken the justice system is and who that brokenness hurts the most. After she walked out of her cell for the last time, Keri became a reporter dedicated to exposing our flawed prisons as only an insider could. Written with searing intensity, unflinching honesty, and shocks of humor, Corrections in Ink uncovers that dark, brutal system that affects us all. Not just a story about getting out and getting off drugs, this galvanizing memoir is about the power of second chances; about who our society throws away and who we allow to reach for redemption—and how they reach for it.

30 review for Corrections in Ink: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Olive Fellows (abookolive)

    An illuminating and gut-wrenching memoir about a former figure skater from central Pennsylvania with a destructive side who turned to drugs in her teenage years and eventually landed in jail, then prison for drug possession. She first outlines how she found herself locked up, giving readers a background on her obsession with mastering figure skating which spun out into an eating disorder. When her skating career was effectively over, without any productive place to put that hyper-focus on succes An illuminating and gut-wrenching memoir about a former figure skater from central Pennsylvania with a destructive side who turned to drugs in her teenage years and eventually landed in jail, then prison for drug possession. She first outlines how she found herself locked up, giving readers a background on her obsession with mastering figure skating which spun out into an eating disorder. When her skating career was effectively over, without any productive place to put that hyper-focus on success, she began using drugs as an escape. She describes how hard life is when in the throes of addiction, and then how much harder it became after she started serving time, having to learn the nonsensical, yet psychologically brutal logic of the prison system. But most rewardingly, she details the work she's done since her release - using her writing skills and knowledge of the system to inspire change and improve the lives of those still behind bars. I highly recommend this one.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Miya (in a puddle of pain)

    This is rough on the heart to read, but it is an amazing read. There is a lot about addiction, eating disorders, etc so warning for anyone avoiding those topics. My heart just kept sinking deeper and deeper. The information about the prison system made me furious and hopeless. It is a lot of emotion. Raw and right there in your face dropping into your heart. Heavy and honest. Real. Not a long read. One that I think it pretty important for many of us to look into. The compassion levels and view o This is rough on the heart to read, but it is an amazing read. There is a lot about addiction, eating disorders, etc so warning for anyone avoiding those topics. My heart just kept sinking deeper and deeper. The information about the prison system made me furious and hopeless. It is a lot of emotion. Raw and right there in your face dropping into your heart. Heavy and honest. Real. Not a long read. One that I think it pretty important for many of us to look into. The compassion levels and view of people in certain situations hopefully will change. I would recommend it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Basic B's Guide

    4.5 stars Take note that this book is full of potential triggers including eating disorders, addiction, suicide, drug use, homelessness, etc. What a journey! Highly recommend listening to the audiobook as the author narrates. She brings hope, clarity and is quite self-aware of her privilege that helped her land back on her feet.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    In Keri Blakinger’s memoir, Corrections in Ink, she tells her story of competing as an elite athlete, her decline into drug addiction, her incarceration, and her recovery and journalism career. At times harrowing, the author does not hold back in describing the details of her experiences both as an addict and her time in the corrections system. She discusses the many abuses of people within prison, oftentimes people who desperately need medical attention or rehabilitation. Corrections in Ink is g In Keri Blakinger’s memoir, Corrections in Ink, she tells her story of competing as an elite athlete, her decline into drug addiction, her incarceration, and her recovery and journalism career. At times harrowing, the author does not hold back in describing the details of her experiences both as an addict and her time in the corrections system. She discusses the many abuses of people within prison, oftentimes people who desperately need medical attention or rehabilitation. Corrections in Ink is gripping and well-written. It’s a great read for anyone interested in the criminal justice system or prison reform.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Robin Loves Reading

    Corrections in Ink is the incredible memoir written by Keri Blakinger. In a raw and honest fashion, Keri Blakinger tells of her early years as a figure skater with a promising career. As a young girl fighting with eating disorders. As a young woman who becomes involved with drugs - both abusing and selling them. As a young woman who sold her body for drugs. As a young woman who was arrested with a large quantity of drugs. As a young woman who spent nearly two years behind bars. As a woman who ha Corrections in Ink is the incredible memoir written by Keri Blakinger. In a raw and honest fashion, Keri Blakinger tells of her early years as a figure skater with a promising career. As a young girl fighting with eating disorders. As a young woman who becomes involved with drugs - both abusing and selling them. As a young woman who sold her body for drugs. As a young woman who was arrested with a large quantity of drugs. As a young woman who spent nearly two years behind bars. As a woman who had more than one gift, that of writing and that of advocacy. In her incredible journey, Keri experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows, but she came out on top. In fact, with a job now as a reporter for multiple outlets, one who speaks for the rights of prisoners, while revealing flaws and corruption in a broken prison system, Keri is now a woman who has become a hero. Keri's life was never easy. The expectation of perfection was what she struggled to achieve while on the ice, but it was this struggle that opened the doors to some of the tragic experiences she endured. However, this strong young woman never gave up on life (well, she did have a particularly sad experience along this vein), but she soldiered on, and now proves to be a fine example for anyone who rises above tragedy and hopelessness, proving to be a beacon of hope, strength and courage for anyone who reads her story. Her life experiences were difficult to read, and the life she experienced behind bars was devastating and heartbreaking, but she kept a light shining. A light that would get brighter once she was on the other side of those prison bars. She got a second chance in life, one that she grabbed with both hands, and one who proves that anybody and everybody can be redeemed. She was and her light continues to shine. Many thanks to St. Martin's Press and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion. Please also enjoy my detailed YouTube video review - https://youtu.be/NBXINwaDMM0

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marika

    A brutally honest memoir by Keri Blakinger who was a former National skating star and an outstanding student at Cornell University. Keri writes in detail what derailed her and her pursuit of a skating career, and while drugs are obviously a major factor, it is not the only factor. Why? Because people with positive self images don't typically turn to a life of drugs. Despite all the accoutrements of a successful life, Keri struggled with self esteem from an early age and when at 17 her skating pa A brutally honest memoir by Keri Blakinger who was a former National skating star and an outstanding student at Cornell University. Keri writes in detail what derailed her and her pursuit of a skating career, and while drugs are obviously a major factor, it is not the only factor. Why? Because people with positive self images don't typically turn to a life of drugs. Despite all the accoutrements of a successful life, Keri struggled with self esteem from an early age and when at 17 her skating partner left her, she floundered. That sense of unmooring left her shattered and alone and seeking solace, which she found in drugs. Comparisons to the bestselling book Orange is the New Black are valid, however this is is a memoir that stands on its own. Keri who is now a journalist/author who writes about mass incarceration, is passionate about the horrific treatment of those who are incarcerated in the U.S. Criminal Justice System. That passion shows in this book. I have a feeling that this memoir will be made into a tv series/movie. * I read an advance copy and was not compensated.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Clairelouloves

    I enjoyed this book so much. The author writes her personal story of being a vulnerable teen who plummeted to the depths of a horrifying addiction before finally going through the prison system and coming out the other side. This book was insightful and was told with wit and intelligence. It has left me screaming out for a prison reform. I highly recommend. Thanks to Netgalley for the arc.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nickie Russell

    This was a really tough read. Tough life. Bad choices. Unbelievable treatment in jail. Just a hard all around read. Keri was a promising figure skater, who developed an eating disorder, who developed a drug addiction, who did all sorts of unspeakable things during the drug life, who ultimately gets caught and shipped off to jail. Luckily, a good "ending", and she starts helping others who have been incarcerated, but the indignities and inhumane treatment that was status quo is crazy to read abou This was a really tough read. Tough life. Bad choices. Unbelievable treatment in jail. Just a hard all around read. Keri was a promising figure skater, who developed an eating disorder, who developed a drug addiction, who did all sorts of unspeakable things during the drug life, who ultimately gets caught and shipped off to jail. Luckily, a good "ending", and she starts helping others who have been incarcerated, but the indignities and inhumane treatment that was status quo is crazy to read about. Definitely worth a read to understand the prison system.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ali (exercise_read_repeat)

    An absolutely fantastic memoir about addiction, mental health, prison, and redemption. Keri’s journey is heartbreaking but beautifully written. It was particularly interesting to read her journey from prisoner to a journal who reported on the Texas incarceration system. The audio is read by Keri, herself, and I could not recommend it more.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Debra Medina

    Dear Corrections in Ink, How do I write a letter to a book as important as you are? There are not enough words to explain how raw and touching you are. Memoir writing has to be one of the most difficult stories to write. Keri takes a deep dive into the darkest, most sordid parts of her life, exposing the brutal truths of her time turning tricks and selling drugs, and the pain, fear and isolation she experienced in jail and prison. I have had one person in my life who has done time, and I had no i Dear Corrections in Ink, How do I write a letter to a book as important as you are? There are not enough words to explain how raw and touching you are. Memoir writing has to be one of the most difficult stories to write. Keri takes a deep dive into the darkest, most sordid parts of her life, exposing the brutal truths of her time turning tricks and selling drugs, and the pain, fear and isolation she experienced in jail and prison. I have had one person in my life who has done time, and I had no idea what the day to day was like. Being able to see a small part of what was that like for Keri opened my eyes to the brutality of the prison system in our country. She also does a brilliant job of acknowledging the privileges that she had at her disposal and sharing her gratitude for that privilege. She shed light on the facts that if she were Black, none of the second (and third and fourth) chances she was given, never would have happened for her. I was astonished to learn that time in solitary does not actually count toward time served, and how the system is rigged to keep felons inside it. I had no idea the rules were so arbitrary and unclear and easy to break. You are a beautiful story about the broken system in our country, a symptom of a much larger problem, and how one woman is working to change it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sue Hanyak

    I am not typically a memoir reader, but I do have a huge fascination in the care or lack there of in US prisons. I felt immersed in the authors life throughout.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Star Gater

    This is a memoir written and narrated by a middle to upper class white woman who had a privileged life and took the drug path up to and including prison time. Following her release, she sees the lateral consequences, recognizes she is entitled, and appears to want to bridge the gap. This was just okay for me. There is a lot of profanity. Also, explicit sexual acts and positions talked about throughout the book make this a private listen. I prefer a professional narrator. Thank you NetGalley and This is a memoir written and narrated by a middle to upper class white woman who had a privileged life and took the drug path up to and including prison time. Following her release, she sees the lateral consequences, recognizes she is entitled, and appears to want to bridge the gap. This was just okay for me. There is a lot of profanity. Also, explicit sexual acts and positions talked about throughout the book make this a private listen. I prefer a professional narrator. Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for accepting my request to read and review Corrections in Ink.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tulsi

    Incredible read. The resilience of the author and her no-nonsense introspection about her choices and their consequences is riveting. Blakinger clawed her way out of a system designed for most to fail and she now shines a light on the flaws of that system. She tells her story without holding much back and without taking on a woe-is-me approach — being cognizant of and acknowledging her privilege at various points in the book. Highly recommend.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mainlinebooker

    What an emotional riveting account of Keri's struggles from childhood to her prison years and after! Her words are emblazoned with a fiery fierceness and an uncompromising candor that led to a powerful and immersive memoir. Starting out she looked like a model suburban upper middle class child from Eastern Pa. But in retrospect the warning signs flashed early on. Bullying at school, toying with cutting herself, forays into anorexia and bulimia as her perfectionist self competed at all consuming What an emotional riveting account of Keri's struggles from childhood to her prison years and after! Her words are emblazoned with a fiery fierceness and an uncompromising candor that led to a powerful and immersive memoir. Starting out she looked like a model suburban upper middle class child from Eastern Pa. But in retrospect the warning signs flashed early on. Bullying at school, toying with cutting herself, forays into anorexia and bulimia as her perfectionist self competed at all consuming skating activities. When her male skating partner dumped her in search of a better partner, depression set the stage for further escalation with huffing glue, alcohol abuse, drugs, and suicide attempts. Although she was admitted to Cornell, getting A's on her report card, her clandestine life became a cloud of using heroin and crack, selling drugs, and sex encounters to support her habit. However, one day, she was busted with a Tupperware replete with 6 oz of heroin. First, she was put into jail and then into the prison system for nearly 2 years. In unflinching terms she describes the barbarous living situations and horrific (and I mean that with all its intensity) abuses that occur to women that are incarcerated . I was so aghast by many of her examples, furiously underlining passages that seemed too unreal to be true. While in prison, she reflects on how her privilege has made it easier for her than women who are poor and persons of color. When she is released she becomes employed by the Marshall project as a journalist committed to exposing the flaws of the system and beaming a light on it as only an insider can. Throughout the book she is reflective, pondering the meaning of "doing time", and of her own ordeal. Her reflections are compelling, elevating this call for criminal justice modification into an extraordinary feat. This urgent memoir will educate you in ways that will open your eyes and open your heart. Not for the faint of heart but for those willing to step inside the pain of someone else's shoes.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christine (Queen of Books)

    How do I go about recommending a memoir looking back on self-destruction and prison? Do I tell you it's also a comeback story, or is that ruining the ending? Well, for starters, the audiobook is narrated by the author (an easy fave for the genre, love when an author can be in my ears, telling me their story in their voice). As much as I liked reading the text, I kept returning to the audio for this very reason. Keri Blakinger recounts what led her to be a Cornell student busted with a large amount How do I go about recommending a memoir looking back on self-destruction and prison? Do I tell you it's also a comeback story, or is that ruining the ending? Well, for starters, the audiobook is narrated by the author (an easy fave for the genre, love when an author can be in my ears, telling me their story in their voice). As much as I liked reading the text, I kept returning to the audio for this very reason. Keri Blakinger recounts what led her to be a Cornell student busted with a large amount of heroin, as well as her time in jail and prison. She has enough space from the latter to write about it in a no-holds-barred way, as well as heavily critique it and the system that locks so many people up. "The clack of cell keys does not teach you remorse. The clash of a steel door does not bring you redemption. There is no soundtrack here for that. If you want one, you’ll have to write it yourself.” Blakinger's white, and I appreciated the several times throughout that she acknowledged systemic racism. She's queer and while I'd have liked more in the book on homophobia and biphobia in prison, she recently wrote about that for NBC News. I'm going to leave the ending of the book for you to find out, but suffice it to say, I loved it. I had to stop myself from bursting into tears - happy tears, finally tears, these-battles-shouldn't-exist-but-I'm-so-grateful-you're-fighting-them tears. Content warnings: disordered eating (bulimia and anorexia), drug use and addiction, self-harm, suicide attempt, homelessness, sexual harassment, underage sex work, rape and victim blaming, sudden and unexpected miscarriage, armed robbery, descriptions of time in prison (including abuse and inhumane conditions) Thank you to St. Martin's Press for a free arc of this title for review, as well as Macmillan Audio & NetGalley for a free ALC.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrée Charron-Martin

    Beautiful memoir that illustrates how mental health issues can have devastating consequences. Trigger warning: eating disorder, drug use, sexual abuse and suicide attempt. I was captivated by Keri Blakinger's story from the first page. The dichotomy she paints of her life as an aspiring Olympic figure skater and straight A college student versus her life battling internal struggles with mental health, eating disorders and drug use is both heart wrenching and eye opening. It poses the question: h Beautiful memoir that illustrates how mental health issues can have devastating consequences. Trigger warning: eating disorder, drug use, sexual abuse and suicide attempt. I was captivated by Keri Blakinger's story from the first page. The dichotomy she paints of her life as an aspiring Olympic figure skater and straight A college student versus her life battling internal struggles with mental health, eating disorders and drug use is both heart wrenching and eye opening. It poses the question: how many other over-achieving paragons are going through similar struggles behind closed doors and why isn't today's healthcare system prioritizing made mental health? Keri's drug use eventually lands her in jail and that is where the bulk of the story lies. Not only does she shed light on daily prison life, its injustices and systemic racism but she also demonstrates how quasi-impossible it is to get out of the system if you aren't a privileged Caucasian person. Being one herself, Keri explains how she managed to finish her degree and how she fights the to even the odds. Like a phoenix rising out of the ashes the author has managed to write an insightful memoir proving that it is never too late to get your life in order and she does so with vulnerability and not a single ounce of martyrdom. She writes with honesty (and a dash of humour) to educate people about the broken prison system without sounding preachy. I gave it 4 stars as I found some of the transitions between timelines to be a little confusing. I won the ARC of Corrections in Ink through a Goodreads giveaway and I am very thankful to Goodreads, St. Martin's Press and Keri Blakinger for this opportunity. I will definitely reread again! Keri, you are amazing!

  17. 5 out of 5

    thereadingowlvina (Elvina Ulrich)

    In this memoir, Keri Blakinger shares her story from figure skating, to heroin addiction, to prison and how she finally found her voice as an investigative journalist exposing the broken justice system she experienced. This was a compelling memoir written with so much raw emotions and honesty. It was heartbreaking yet uplifting. The addiction part was scary and at times I find this book was difficult to read due to the topics discussed in this memoir. It was just emotional. Overall, this was an i In this memoir, Keri Blakinger shares her story from figure skating, to heroin addiction, to prison and how she finally found her voice as an investigative journalist exposing the broken justice system she experienced. This was a compelling memoir written with so much raw emotions and honesty. It was heartbreaking yet uplifting. The addiction part was scary and at times I find this book was difficult to read due to the topics discussed in this memoir. It was just emotional. Overall, this was an inspiring and a beautifully written memoir. The audiobook was narrated by Keri herself and I enjoyed her narration. Pub. Date: June 7th, 2022 ***Thank you MacMillan Audio and NetGalley for this gifted listening copy. All opinions expressed are my own.***

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alyson

    Gut-wrenching, heartfelt, honest, and funny. Keri Blakinger is an incredible writer who seamlessly weaves of a narrative of the nonsensical, unfathomable horrors of incarceration that is accessible to a lay audience. I read this book in one sitting, and will be forcing it upon everyone I know. Bravo. A triumph.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sarah A

    If I could give this 10 stars I would. The writing is incredible and the story is one I think more people need to hear. I listened to the audiobook which the author reads and it was excellent. TW for sexual assault, eating disorders and drug use

  20. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Law

    Tore through this in 4 hours (would have been less if not interrupted twice by neighbors, each time for about an hour).

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Silfen (Exercise_Read_Repeat)

    A fantastic memoir (narrated by the author) that dives into addiction, mental health and the broken prison system. Keri openly discusses her life experiences leading up to her time in jail and then her trajectory after her release. I love stories about second chances and forgiveness and this one was powerful, raw and wonderfully written.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Meghan Zalewski

    Thank you, Keri, for sharing your story. This memoir is written so well and so transparently that I feel like Keri was telling me about her life friend-to-friend. She shows so much bravery, resilience, and awareness describing her journey. I like that she ties in her learnings about discrimination within the prison system as well as acknowledges her privilege as she goes into intimate, startling detail about her experiences. I believe she is pure-heartedly doing what she can to advocate for all Thank you, Keri, for sharing your story. This memoir is written so well and so transparently that I feel like Keri was telling me about her life friend-to-friend. She shows so much bravery, resilience, and awareness describing her journey. I like that she ties in her learnings about discrimination within the prison system as well as acknowledges her privilege as she goes into intimate, startling detail about her experiences. I believe she is pure-heartedly doing what she can to advocate for all prisoners and this memoir is laying bare her life for the sake of starting conversations and adding a testimony to the case against the way the prison system is run. I can personally identify with some of the tendencies and personality traits Keri mentioned having as a child/teen and can see how easily seemingly harmless behaviors and choices can escalate while not realizing it's like being a frog slowly boiled alive. I'm fortunate to have received a pre-published copy of the this book and would recommend it to anyone once they can get their hands on it!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Keri is a brilliant writer who shows the reader a completely uncensored view into the women's prison system. I was horrified and appalled at some of the events she detailed and can't believe the magnitude of injustices that occur on a frequent basis. I hope this story will shed a light onto the prison system and show others that success is possible after you might think hope is lost. Keri is a brilliant writer who shows the reader a completely uncensored view into the women's prison system. I was horrified and appalled at some of the events she detailed and can't believe the magnitude of injustices that occur on a frequent basis. I hope this story will shed a light onto the prison system and show others that success is possible after you might think hope is lost.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    I love reading memoirs because they are a glimpse into the writer's brain, the section that decides what part of themselves to mine for a story and what part they believe fits into the world in a meaningful enough way to fill a book. I was drawn to Keri Blakinger's memoir-ish (memoir-adjacent?!? Corrections in Ink: A Memoir for two reasons. The first was that I've been mentored, edited, and befriended by people who have done great work with prisons and literacy. William J. Drummond was my graduat I love reading memoirs because they are a glimpse into the writer's brain, the section that decides what part of themselves to mine for a story and what part they believe fits into the world in a meaningful enough way to fill a book. I was drawn to Keri Blakinger's memoir-ish (memoir-adjacent?!? Corrections in Ink: A Memoir for two reasons. The first was that I've been mentored, edited, and befriended by people who have done great work with prisons and literacy. William J. Drummond was my graduate school mentor, who went on to help run the San Quentin News and wrote Prison Truth: The Story of the San Quentin News. My friend Katie Ford was the executive director of Truth By Told, a women's literacy program in Texas. And, Larry Smith (known to others as Piper's husband) and I have run in the same circles for many years. The second reason followed from the first because I was interested in how Blakinger would contextualize her story because (as she so deftly does in the book) she was both a prisoner, but a prisoner with more privilege than so many others. Let me tell you, she pulled off a damn high-wire act. She spun a really compelling tale that both centered her story and used that centering to shine a light on the horrific conditions and inequities that make up the prison system. (Hence memoir-ish or memoir-adjacent.) She also did that without dragging the narrative down in a boatload of statistics and studies. Yeah, it's great to have science and research, but we already know that prison is a man-created nightmare. Certainly she peppered those in (because you're going to learn some things if you get the writer's story!), but they were almost asides, little nuggets attached to the so-very-real humans she met along the way. Instead, we got portraits of people, sometimes sketches, and sometimes just blurry photos from a distance. But they all felt alive and real, because they were and are. It's a bit like Nina Renata Aronand her brilliant book Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls: A Memoir of Women, Addiction, and Love. Nina pulled off a similar feat examining the twelve-step program culture. This is a fantastic book (but be ready for some hard-to-read sections because it's about prison and addiction and so many other topics that follow those two), and I think, an important book. You can listen to my interview at The Downtown Writers Jam podcast in July 2022.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I was intrigued by this memoir as it had local ties. I grew up 40 minutes from Ithaca, NY. This was a very raw memoir, tough to read at times, but it shows how drug addiction can happen to ANYONE. I appreciated the vulnerability and honesty. The book also was informative about the prison system, it is a real look inside. The author’s writing was very fascinating and impressive. I will be recommending this book to anyone who wants to know more about the prison system. Thank you to Net Galley and I was intrigued by this memoir as it had local ties. I grew up 40 minutes from Ithaca, NY. This was a very raw memoir, tough to read at times, but it shows how drug addiction can happen to ANYONE. I appreciated the vulnerability and honesty. The book also was informative about the prison system, it is a real look inside. The author’s writing was very fascinating and impressive. I will be recommending this book to anyone who wants to know more about the prison system. Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for a honest feedback.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mary Sue

    I received an advance copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you so much for the opportunity to read this wonderful memoir which explores mental health, addiction and the issues with the US prison system. Keri Blakinger presents the events in her life in a straightforward manner and with great honesty. She is honest about her choices in life, takes ownership of her decisions and does not assign blame to others. I admire the fact that she is using her horrible experiences as a catalys I received an advance copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you so much for the opportunity to read this wonderful memoir which explores mental health, addiction and the issues with the US prison system. Keri Blakinger presents the events in her life in a straightforward manner and with great honesty. She is honest about her choices in life, takes ownership of her decisions and does not assign blame to others. I admire the fact that she is using her horrible experiences as a catalyst for her work revealing the deficiencies in the prison system and her fight for reforms to the broken system.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hayley

    When I first saw this book something about the title really spoke to me. Then when I realised what this book was actually about I was so excited to open it. It is a very interesting memoir about our narrator Keri Blakinger, as she talks about her drug addiction, mental health, as well as our failing prison systems. Like many other books about drug addiction this one starts off very slow until it spirals out of control and Keri is lost in a world that she doesn't recognise. When things go horribl When I first saw this book something about the title really spoke to me. Then when I realised what this book was actually about I was so excited to open it. It is a very interesting memoir about our narrator Keri Blakinger, as she talks about her drug addiction, mental health, as well as our failing prison systems. Like many other books about drug addiction this one starts off very slow until it spirals out of control and Keri is lost in a world that she doesn't recognise. When things go horribly wrong and Keri gets locked up behind bars her tales becomes more of caution then anger. I liked how Keri didn't sugar coat her jail experience and I liked how she didn't overhype it she just told it how it was for her, the bad experiences and the not so bad ones. This book was very well written and it is one to read for sure especially if you like novels with strong female characters. While the jail time was very rough on Keri I liked how she managed to show some of the positive situations she found herself in it made it much more realistic because not every day will be terrible. The prison system is broken and this book just goes to show how broken it really is. While most of us are lucky enough to never have to experience this I do feel bad for those who do. Very good read and I'm glad I got the chance to check it out it really opened my eyes to a situation I never thought I would have to see.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brianna Kwasnik

    Wonderfully written. So many memoirs strive to paint themselves in a more favorable light, but Keri airs on the side of truth- about her surroundings and herself. I love that the book gives a feeling of hope. Keri also does not shy away from acknowledging her privilege and how she is using that to help others who were in her same position. I cannot wait to read her second book. (Please write one!)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Read this book! It is a candid memoir by an incredibly talented and smart writer. We follow Keri from her privileged upbringing to her downward spiral into the world of drugs and addiction, her arrest and then time spent in prison. Her descriptions of her journey into the depths of misery are graphic and alarming. After she is released from prison, she is able to complete her college degree and create a new life for herself as a successful journalist and reporter, exposing some of the flaws and Read this book! It is a candid memoir by an incredibly talented and smart writer. We follow Keri from her privileged upbringing to her downward spiral into the world of drugs and addiction, her arrest and then time spent in prison. Her descriptions of her journey into the depths of misery are graphic and alarming. After she is released from prison, she is able to complete her college degree and create a new life for herself as a successful journalist and reporter, exposing some of the flaws and injustices in the prison system.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bearcatgary

    Great book. I saw the author interviewed on a PBS news show last week and found her story incredible. I immediately checked out the book online and quickly finished it. The book covers how this extremely physically and intellectually gifted author destroyed her life at a young age through drugs and many other devastating behaviors. It details how she improbably pulled her life back together again in prison and became an advocate for inmates after her release. Highly detailed, often disgusting, b Great book. I saw the author interviewed on a PBS news show last week and found her story incredible. I immediately checked out the book online and quickly finished it. The book covers how this extremely physically and intellectually gifted author destroyed her life at a young age through drugs and many other devastating behaviors. It details how she improbably pulled her life back together again in prison and became an advocate for inmates after her release. Highly detailed, often disgusting, but very eye-opening.

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