Consider me a reader who was curious about the "public outcry" against publication of this book. I'm not sure what book was read prior to various comments and judgements being made public, through the press, but I don't think I read the same book.
What I read was a collection of powerful stories written about life experiences prior to criminal behavior forming, of lessons learned, responsibility taken, sadness, remorse, and plans for living differently in the future. I read stories of hope, despite tragic past errors.
Reading this book caused me to think about things I don't often think about. I now realize that anyone who has ever driven under the influence of alcohol, used a drug to numb emotional pain, or been involved in an abusive relationship should not judge because they might easily end up with some of the same problems, actions, and consequences; this would include many of my friends and myself as well.
It took a great deal of willingness, courage and hard work to delve so deeply into painful issues, then to expose the most intimate details of their explorations to each other and also to the reading public. Perhaps some non-incarcerated individuals will read this book and think about working up the same courage and willingness to take action concerning their own situations before it becomes to late for them too.
One writer states: "Hope is a miracle that can become contageous." This woman has been out of prison for over a decade now and has fully turned her life around; she has walked away from an abusive marriage, graduated from college, and now works in the field of human services. She also is a tutor of college English for disadvantaged individuals. Kudos to Mr. Lamb for caring enough to help her, and apparantly he did so PRIOR to beginning his current workshop at YORK.
Shouldn't that be one of the relative points of a prisoner's experience, to learn lessons and to change so when a sentence is over, neither they or those around them will continue being wronged or hurt in the future?
Perhaps instead of criticizing Wally Lamb, we in society need to take a closer look at his theory concerning therapeutic writing and his teaching style. Other prisons and ultimately the world outside of prisons might greatly benifit by following his lead.