What I hope is that people reading this book will bear in mind that we are human beings first, inmates second.--Bonnie Foreshaw
In a stunning new work of insight and hope, New York Times bestselling author Wally Lamb once again reveals his unmatched talent for finding the humanity in the lost and lonely and celebrates the transforming power of the written word.
For the past several years, Lamb has taught writing to a group of women prisoners at York Correctional Institution. At first mistrustful of Lamb, one another, and the writing process, over time these students let down their guard, picked up their pens, and discovered their voices. In this unforgettable collection, the women of York describe in their own words how they were imprisoned by abuse, rejection, and their own self-destructive impulses long before they entered the criminal justice system. Yet these are stories of hope, humor, and triumph in the face of despair. Having used writing as a tool to unlock their creativity and begin the process of healing, these amazing writers have left victimhood behind.
In his powerful introduction, Lamb describes the incredible journey of expression and self-awareness the women took through their writings and shares how they challenged him as a teacher and as a fellow author. In "Hair Chronicles," Tabatha Rowley tells her life history through her past hairstyles -- outer signals to the world each time she reinvented herself and eventually came to prize her own self-worth. Brenda Medina admits in "Hell, and How I got Here" that she continued to rebel in prison until her parents' abiding love made her realize that her misbehavior was hurting them and herself deeply. In "Faith, Power, and Pants," Bonnie Foreshaw describes how faith has carried her through trials in life and in prison and has allowed her to understand her past actions, to look toward the future, and to believe that she will once again taste home cooking. Couldn't Keep It to Myself is a true testament to the process of finding oneself and working toward a better day.