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I Can Take It from Here: A Memoir of Trauma, Prison, and Self-Empowerment

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Riveting, honest, and raw, I Can Take It From Here recounts Lisa Forbes's harrowing journey into darkness — including a fourteen-year-long stint in a maximum-security prison — and her fierce resolve to understand the effects of the trauma she endured, to take personal responsibility for her actions, and to ensure that her history does not dictate her destiny. The youngest o Riveting, honest, and raw, I Can Take It From Here recounts Lisa Forbes's harrowing journey into darkness — including a fourteen-year-long stint in a maximum-security prison — and her fierce resolve to understand the effects of the trauma she endured, to take personal responsibility for her actions, and to ensure that her history does not dictate her destiny. The youngest of six children, Lisa grew up in a Chicago housing project where she endured sexual, religious, and emotional abuse as a little girl. A voracious reader, she graduated high school at 15 and went to work as a secretary in a downtown insurance office, became pregnant at 16 and, at 19, unexpectedly and uncharacteristically committed a violent act, stabbing and killing the father of her daughter. Providing powerful insights into what we as a society need to learn and confront in the ongoing epidemic of mass re-incarceration, Lisa is a stunning example of an individual who through determination, knowledge, and hard work has been able to reclaim her own life. The book ends with Lisa's rousing call to action to support the people—as well as the shorthanded employers—who need the help, and need each other, more than ever.


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Riveting, honest, and raw, I Can Take It From Here recounts Lisa Forbes's harrowing journey into darkness — including a fourteen-year-long stint in a maximum-security prison — and her fierce resolve to understand the effects of the trauma she endured, to take personal responsibility for her actions, and to ensure that her history does not dictate her destiny. The youngest o Riveting, honest, and raw, I Can Take It From Here recounts Lisa Forbes's harrowing journey into darkness — including a fourteen-year-long stint in a maximum-security prison — and her fierce resolve to understand the effects of the trauma she endured, to take personal responsibility for her actions, and to ensure that her history does not dictate her destiny. The youngest of six children, Lisa grew up in a Chicago housing project where she endured sexual, religious, and emotional abuse as a little girl. A voracious reader, she graduated high school at 15 and went to work as a secretary in a downtown insurance office, became pregnant at 16 and, at 19, unexpectedly and uncharacteristically committed a violent act, stabbing and killing the father of her daughter. Providing powerful insights into what we as a society need to learn and confront in the ongoing epidemic of mass re-incarceration, Lisa is a stunning example of an individual who through determination, knowledge, and hard work has been able to reclaim her own life. The book ends with Lisa's rousing call to action to support the people—as well as the shorthanded employers—who need the help, and need each other, more than ever.

30 review for I Can Take It from Here: A Memoir of Trauma, Prison, and Self-Empowerment

  1. 4 out of 5

    (Energy)

    I Can Take it from Here is an honest memoir from Lisa about the trauma she endured throughout her childhood. That cycle of abuse ultimately landed her in jail. But, always an intelligent child, it was in prison that she found herself, and her love of reading and learning flourished. Lisa talks openly and honestly about her past, struggles that lasted well into adulthood, including hardships she faced as a reformed prisoner. If there was anything that I didn't care for while reading, it was that I Can Take it from Here is an honest memoir from Lisa about the trauma she endured throughout her childhood. That cycle of abuse ultimately landed her in jail. But, always an intelligent child, it was in prison that she found herself, and her love of reading and learning flourished. Lisa talks openly and honestly about her past, struggles that lasted well into adulthood, including hardships she faced as a reformed prisoner. If there was anything that I didn't care for while reading, it was that the last chapter was a massive info dump. While the information is informative, it didn't fit in with the rest of the book and would have made a more appropriate afterward. But overall, this was an informative read, and Forbes has overcome so much in her life. Thank you, Steerforth Press, for sending this along.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Justsane

    Ms. Forbes has an interesting story to tell, but she desperately needed a better editor. The story meandered through different time periods without warning, retold various parts of the narrative as if they were fresh information on multiple occasions, and included so much extraneous information that it sometimes felt like padding to get to a preordained page count. The production values on the audiobook may have been the worst I’ve encountered, with overly long pauses between chapters, obvious o Ms. Forbes has an interesting story to tell, but she desperately needed a better editor. The story meandered through different time periods without warning, retold various parts of the narrative as if they were fresh information on multiple occasions, and included so much extraneous information that it sometimes felt like padding to get to a preordained page count. The production values on the audiobook may have been the worst I’ve encountered, with overly long pauses between chapters, obvious overdubs, and a narrator that delivered the text in a flat, toneless manner that didn’t do justice to what what was really a horrific tale of abuse on every imaginable level. I do hope that she is successful in her current endeavor and manages to have a positive impact on the system that failed her so miserably.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Carr

    This was the different perspective I was seeking for my upcoming prison book theme program. Many of the other books didn't address the decades after serving time and the issues that come with being labeled post incarceration. Lisa is vivid about not only the downfalls but the many, many ways she advocated for herself to find healing, forgiveness, trust, and build up from there. Not a light read by any means but a story worthy of being told as it reminds us we are not just the crime committed by This was the different perspective I was seeking for my upcoming prison book theme program. Many of the other books didn't address the decades after serving time and the issues that come with being labeled post incarceration. Lisa is vivid about not only the downfalls but the many, many ways she advocated for herself to find healing, forgiveness, trust, and build up from there. Not a light read by any means but a story worthy of being told as it reminds us we are not just the crime committed by a past, a present, and a future worth living for and learning from.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Bernstein

    I am a good liberal. I know that no one is as bad as the worst thing they’ve ever done, and I know that people are driven to destructive acts by forces beyond their control. But Lisa Forbes’ memoir I Can Take It from Here gave me a feeling for what “trauma” can do to a person that I see I never really understood. Lisa’s story is terribly, terribly sad. A heartless mother, an abusive brother, she commits a murder, goes to prison, and meets a society when she gets out that can’t see her for the th I am a good liberal. I know that no one is as bad as the worst thing they’ve ever done, and I know that people are driven to destructive acts by forces beyond their control. But Lisa Forbes’ memoir I Can Take It from Here gave me a feeling for what “trauma” can do to a person that I see I never really understood. Lisa’s story is terribly, terribly sad. A heartless mother, an abusive brother, she commits a murder, goes to prison, and meets a society when she gets out that can’t see her for the thoughtful, well-read, super-smart person she is. I need a book’s writing to be solid and this certainly is. And not only did I learn what it is like for people who didn’t have the happy-go-lucky upbringing that I was so fortunate to have, but Lisa also gave me insights into how this society treats ex-convicts, how we are turning our backs on people who could be excellent additions to our communities, and how we might see and deal with them in a much healthier way.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chrissy

    Reading someone else’s story is always fascinating to me. Often we can’t imagine living through all that someone has been through. This memoir is no different. It is heartbreaking and tragic and yet Lisa’s determination to push on and show up and learn and grow and heal are really inspiring. The book is written a bit differently, not quite chronologically, and not totally in essay form. I think the author might have considered editing a bit more closely as there are many pets that are repetitive Reading someone else’s story is always fascinating to me. Often we can’t imagine living through all that someone has been through. This memoir is no different. It is heartbreaking and tragic and yet Lisa’s determination to push on and show up and learn and grow and heal are really inspiring. The book is written a bit differently, not quite chronologically, and not totally in essay form. I think the author might have considered editing a bit more closely as there are many pets that are repetitive. That being said, I applaud the honesty and vulnerability it took to share her story, and also the way she is fighting for change that she believes will actually accomplish it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    SheAintGotNoShoes

    Wowee, wow wow !!!! This book has it all from poverty, child molestation, incest, subpar housing conditions/crowding, murder, prison, near homelessness, marriage, divorce, low paid jobs to .......................grand SUCCESS ! I am so happy for Lisa and very proud of her fighting her way to the top after a gazillion things against her. She is someone I would love to go to lunch with and compare notes, as many of her struggles were ones I had to endure as well.

  7. 5 out of 5

    ViShal Bhagat

    Very heart melting book on real life.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mary-K

    This book needed a better editor.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    Wow! This is a very powerful memoir. Forbes has lived a very interesting and difficult life, but has taken a positive attitude and worked so hard to get where she is today. You will not believe some of the things she has endured, and there is a lot of sadness in this book, but it is ultimately hopeful -- as Forbes' love of learning and inquisitive nature help her overcome her trauma. Thank you to Steerforth for the advance copy of this book. Wow! This is a very powerful memoir. Forbes has lived a very interesting and difficult life, but has taken a positive attitude and worked so hard to get where she is today. You will not believe some of the things she has endured, and there is a lot of sadness in this book, but it is ultimately hopeful -- as Forbes' love of learning and inquisitive nature help her overcome her trauma. Thank you to Steerforth for the advance copy of this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    I Can Take it From Here is a memoir that takes the reader on a journey throughout the challenges and triumphs of Lisa Forbes' life. From a childhood layered with abuse and mistreatment to prison by 19 years old, Lisa Forbes' life did not look promising. This memoir is a reflection on how her childhood trauma played a role in her imprisonment and continued to affect her years later. The book also gives insight into the difficulty formerly incarcerated individuals face when trying to reintegrate i I Can Take it From Here is a memoir that takes the reader on a journey throughout the challenges and triumphs of Lisa Forbes' life. From a childhood layered with abuse and mistreatment to prison by 19 years old, Lisa Forbes' life did not look promising. This memoir is a reflection on how her childhood trauma played a role in her imprisonment and continued to affect her years later. The book also gives insight into the difficulty formerly incarcerated individuals face when trying to reintegrate into society. This book is a fascinating read and I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys reading memoirs.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Randi Smith

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nina

  13. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elisabeth Kumar

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Snell

  16. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Lueken

  17. 4 out of 5

    Crystal O'Grady

  18. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  19. 5 out of 5

    Judy

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amina_

  21. 5 out of 5

    Blaine Morrow

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

  23. 5 out of 5

    Eloise

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carol

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karen J Harding

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  28. 4 out of 5

    Meghan Devine

  29. 4 out of 5

    Susan Evans

  30. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Vannicola

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