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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 3 September 2010
This book could and should have been so much better. The experiences the author went through should have made for a great read but the writing style is very poor. It often reads as though an adolescent has written it with lots of emphasis on how tough and respected he was in prison and little about his thoughts and feelings at what must have been a truly horrendous experience.

This doesn't even come close to The Damage Done or Forget you had a Daughter. Unlike this author, the authors of those books were guilty of their crimes yet their stories were so well written one couldn't help be anything but sympathetic. By the time he had been released, I had ceased to care and the way in which this was portrayed - "They called me to the office and told me I had been pardoned. I couldn't believe it" illustrates how poor his story telling is. More time and detail in building up to that kind of event and less on him knocking out several guards and his time spent with prostitutes, would have made for a much better book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2003
This book is an excellent read, I couldnt put it down. If you like Mindnight Express, just add a good dose of humour and you will love this book. Parnell's will to survive and gift of Humour reads very clearly all the way through what would have been hell on earth... in this Barbaric Prison. The book is vivid in description and dialogue with excellent photos which add testament to authenticity of this book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2012
I initially wasnt too sure whether or not to purchase this book, due to some negative reviews, but decided to go ahead and buy it and I'm glad I did. I cant understand why people would give negative reviews on a story being told exactly how it is, what did they expect? the style of writing and storytelling seemed perfectly suited to the story... I have read many books on imprisonment, escape, torture etc... and this ranks up there with the best... Sure there are swear words etc in it, but not overly so, basically the author tells it like it is, in his own words, which is straight to the point, very humurous at times (not many books make me laugh out loud) and horrifying other times... amazing strengh of character, and will... I have to admit, at the beginning of the book, maybe due to not enough information, I also was not convinced of his guilt or not, but that's irrelivant I suppose, as the story is about how he coped with being incarcerated in such a crazy, horrifying place... so to summarize, amazing book, read in 3 nights, I will probably read this again at some point, miss at your peril!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2004
"Without a doubt One of the Best Top Ten Books I've ever read. On one page the guys got me cracking up on the next I am nearly crying. Extremely well written once you start reading it you just cant put it down. I dont know if this author has written anything else but I for one would definately buy more of his stuff. I liked his style and spirit which this book highly reflected, I loved his bent sense of humour... If you like a good laugh, a lot of gore backed with the most incredible true life story of survival... This book is without a doubt... The book for you. I highly recommend it. 10 out of 10.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2010
To be honest, having read the reviews from other readers I expected a really good book. The first half of the book was a good read, however, as it went on it became quite unbelievable for me, and by that I mean I felt I was reading fiction rather than a true life story. I have to say that what that man has gone through has been terrifying, however the way he went on to talk about beating off a gang of murderers, becoming a "saint" to those who were sick etc, just really ruined it for me. It was like a guy trying to make out he was the toughest of the toughest and could take anyone on. He was also holy Joe who did what nobody else would do by helping those who were sick.... please it was so not believable. Then to cap it off he was in the mortuary ready to be buried and he was not dead at all. I read many books about prisioners in asian prisons, but this was a huge disappointment. Maybe it is how the author writes???? but would definitely not recommend this book. It's about somebody who has gone through an awful time but fabricates alot of what happened.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2005
This is an amazing book about a truly amazing man. I found myself wanting to meet the guy and shake his hand, at least then I could see for myself that he really exists. The incredible endurance and extraordinary strength of the human spirit is shown from the first page right through to the acknowledgments. To witness and live through such terrifying experiences both physical and mental tortures, I was truly moved by Christopher's life inside those most terrifying of prisons. Against all odds he is here to tell his story and what a story it is. Do not leave this book on the shelf!!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2003
The last book I read from start to finish prior to Hell's Prisoner, was a biography on David Bowie in 1978. I found myself reading Hell's Prisoner in 2 days. I think Hell's Prisoner has been written so well, at times I actually pictured myself sitting next to Christopher Parnell as he was telling me his story personally. In parts this book had me laughing and in other parts had me crying. The things that happened to this man in Indonesian prisons would have been enough to send a lesser person insane. I'd like to congratulate Christopher VV Parnell for having the courage to relive and tell of the atrocities that happened to him in Indonesia. This book is a must read for all whom take their freedom for granted.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2003
The jacket and online reviews (at amazon.co.uk) I've read simply don't do justice to this author. The brutality and horror of Indonesian prisons comprises about 20% of the book, with the rest an entertaining and often hilarious testimony to bawdy Aussie humour, the author's unbreakable spirit, sense of fun, and ability to get one over on his captors.

Cherish the early chapter when, awaiting trial, he tries to act insane by competing with the other imbecile inmates, and later, when facing a beating from the guards, he scatters them by throwing his own excrement at them, to the hilarity of his fellow captives. Then there's his description of the "mass masturbation scene" among his deranged fellow-inmates, once again described with dry wit.

If you like "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and any kind of bawdy male humour, you'll love this. In parts the funniest book I've read in years. Having marked out my favourite passages, I dip into it from time to time when I need a tonic. Every library should have a copy.
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on 19 March 2014
I have no doubt the author was in jail but the rest of his story is farfetched. For example, after saving prisinors from a cholera outbreak he fights with a group of assassins, he is killed and comes back to life again in a morgue!

He claims to have translated legal documents into Indonesian and distributed them (thereby becoming a hero of a prison uprising). However he can't even spell the name of the prison he was in and there are many errors in his Indonesian language.

Also, he claimed to be innocent but freely admits travelling with false documents and using various aliases.

Bovine faeces!

You're better off reading Hotel K by Kathryn Bonella for a more accurate depiction of Indonesian prisons.
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on 20 August 2011
this book is brilliant ! it stated off pretty slow so i was reluctant to continue reading, but whilst on holiday i began to read more of it and after breaking through the beginning chapters i found it impossible to put down ! christopher goes into real detail about his time in prison and my heart turley went out to him. the things he saw and went through i could never even begin to imagine how he felt. the details are actually what made this book such a great read for me, if you enjoy grusomeness then this is the book for you. there is also a bit of dark humour whithin this book that made me giggle at times.
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