Thursday, April 14, 2005

Good Reads

This week's book is:
You Got Nothing Coming by Jimmy Lerner

One of the inmates at my facility recommended this book to me (he said I needed to see what prison could really be like since our facility is considered "the Hilton") and I am really enjoying it. Yes, the language can be vulgar but Mr. Lerner is a powerful chronicler and you can't help but want to keep turning the pages.

A review from You Got Nothing Coming, Jimmy A. Lerner's memoir of his first year (of a possible 12) as an inmate in a Nevada state prison, is a shocking, hilarious, and heartbreaking narrative of a world both parallel to and absolutely alien from the one most readers inhabit. With deft, economical prose, Lerner, a middle-aged former marketing director for a major corporation, introduces us to his fellow inmates--swastika-tattooed skinheads, Wiccans, methamphetamine addicts, and fashion-conscious prostitutes, among others--as well as a multitude of prisoner scams, nonexistent but on-the-books rehab programs, and the life-or-death intricacies of the convict code of etiquette. Lerner's ear for prison language is pitch-perfect, and much of what we learn comes directly from the mouths of the incarcerated. Lerner has, in effect, written a nonfiction novel, one artfully laced with mordant humor and by turns tender, caustic, insightful, and relentlessly candid.

Even if you don't work in corrections, I highly recommend this book. It never hurts to see life thru the eyes of another.

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