Couldn’t Keep it to Myself: Wally Lamb and the Women of York Correctional Institution – independent book review – Non-fiction

Authors: Wally LambNancy WhiteleyTabitha RowleyNancy BirklaRobin CullenDiane BartholomewDale GriffithBrenda Medina

In this case, the five stars I gave this on Goodreads doesn’t exactly mean I loved this book. It is a powerfully compelling compilation of women’s stories about rape, incest, and injustice and it is not for the squeamish. 

Each chapter is a story shared by a different inmate, all of whom have suffered childhood trauma, multiple beatings, and/or sexual abuse. Usually at the hands of those they were supposed to trust most. Be prepared to hear about a 12 year old who is raped by her father and forced to give birth to her own sister. To witness children subjected to horrible violations only to be then blamed and shamed by family members. 

There were times when I had to take a break from reading because i was feeling low-level nausea. But I came to feel I owed it to these women to finish the book. Because whatever unpleasant feelings their stories brought up in me didn’t compare to what they had all suffered. And yet, each was able to find a certain resolution out of the act of writing.

These are stories that clearly illustrate deeply-rooted economic inequality and violence in our society and an incarceration system that simply doesn’t work.

More about the author who gathered these important stories, Wally Lamb, a gifted author in his own right.

You may be interested in my reviews of other Wally Lamb books:

I’ll Take You There

We Are Water