"It was suicide that brought me to Connecticut's York Correctional Facility. Two of the inmates had ended their lives; others had tried. The teachers at the prison school were desperate to equip their students with ways of coping with the despair that had infected the institution...Writing began to give them wings with which to hover above the confounding maze of their lives, the better to see the patterns, the dead ends, and a way out." from the Introduction by Wally Lamb. Here, in works of memoir, poetry, and introspection, twenty imprisoned women share the experiences that shaped them from childhood, and that trouble and inspire them to this day. Here are stories of anger, physical abuse, rape, and emotional distress, but also more positive memories: of expressions of love, of gifts received and remembered, of light moments from happier times. These portraits, vignettes, and stories are painted in many colours: innocence and pain, denial, redemption, and transcendence. And, at their heart, they all testify to the same core truth: the universal value of knowing oneself, and changing one's life, through the power of the written word.
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