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on 18 September 2003
This is the first autobiography that i have ever read, and was a bit wary when i chose this one. I thought i knew what 'type' of person smuggled drugs, and was expecting the book to be all excuses on Sandra's part. It was not. Once i started this book i could not put it down. An absolutely amazing story which perfectly represents her honesty, courage and strength. She doesnt makes excuses for her crime, just attempts to explain why she did it. The horrors reported in the Bankok jail are horrendous, and the British system and prison fairs little better when on paper. But such tales are not written in an attempt to make the reader pity Sandra for her crime. Sandra's strength is amazing and comes across perfectly in this book- she doesn't ask the reader to pity her, and never attacks the country in which she was caught. A truly great read that i would recommend to anyone.
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on 10 July 2002
I thought I knew this story already from press coverage but Forget You Had A Daughter is an astonishing insight into the reality of the life of a girl who made a horrendous mistake but is not a criminal. She committed a criminal act but her biggest crime was stupidity. It is an emotional ride, from the first chapter, when the reader is pulled in and shares her nightmare experience, until the last chapter where she is finally reconciled with her family who fought tooth and nail to see justice done. I found myself crying. This book is not about self pity, Sandra Gregory knows she committed a crime, she knows she deserved punishment but acknowledges the sentence was a little too hard. Gregory does not want pity, she has recounted her painful experience in order that no one else will go through such a harrowing and traumatic journey. Read this book!!
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on 8 September 2003
This book make excellent reading, not least because the author Sandra Gregory, never denies that she did wrong, or that she deserved to be punished for her crimes (drug smuggling). It is interesting to read an account by someone who doesn't believe she was wrongly imprisoned as son many books about prison are about people who the wrter believes shouldn't be there for one reason or another. I believe it takes a huge amount of courage, whatever we have done, to stand up and say "yes I did do that, and yes I was wrong and I regrett it, and I deserve to be punished " How many of us can do that? She eventually received a Royal pardon from the King of Thialand, but she herself says she only asked for a pardon, she never said she deserved one...that was for others to decide. She gives a very straightforward account of prison life both on Thialand and in Britain. Both stretched her to her very limits in different ways and for different reasons. Conditions and overcrowding in the Thai jail were appaling, but as she says at least prisoners were free to wander around the prison. In Britain living conditions were much better, but being locked up for most of the day and lack of uncertainty about how to act or what was happening made her stay in Britains prisons equally difficult. Incidentally this is one of my Kellogs books - hope the other prove to be just as good!
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on 25 June 2016
Had I been reading a story based on fiction, I might have suspected an overactive imagination and an overdose of embelishments. Sadly, truth and honesty provided an insight into unbelievable brutality in Bangkok's female prison; euphemistically labelled "Hilton". However, UK prisons did nothing to engender confidence in the British "system" of prison rehabilitation. The short anecdotes scattered at random were surprising and poignant. Added details of hapless and hearbreaking senseless crimes within, spoke volumes with regard to the emotional state of certain hardened seriel killers, with whom the author had daily contact. Rose West, despite her despicable public 'media' persona, was portrayed as a day to day fellow inmate. Tidy, organised, polite and chatty on occasion. Fond of budgies. However, I was mortified when she obviously had been pushed to her private limit which resulted in a brutal act of her own. Obviously, brutality contaminates the brain.
Having read many books on the less than salubrious side of Thailand's Tourist Showpiece. Especially the sex, drugs and rock n roll, I enjoyed the well written and detailed harrowing account of Sandra's experience. Highlighting the ease and 'no worries' attitude of the smugglers, Sandra pinpoints the pitfalls of befriending strangers, who in turn target the young and naive, but most importantly, uninformed.
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on 20 July 2003
The best book i've read in a long time. A shocking account of Sandra's enormous mistake to carry drugs out of thailand, she accepts her guilt but is dealt a horrific sentence of 25 years. Her everyday prison life is portrayed in graphic detail both in Thailand and the UK. Excellent!!!!
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VINE VOICEon 29 August 2016
I have read many accounts of being in UK prisons but this is a first in an overseas prison. I chose this book as Sandra Gregory spends the last few years of her sentence in the UK so I was interested to see her opinion of the UK compared to conditions in Thailand (where she was originally convicted).
It seems to be a very honest account of her crime - she faces up to her imprisonment even though many elements of her treatment and sentencing seem to be unfair. The writing is straight forward and she comes across as a person who genuinely found a way of coping with situation which is to be admired. I would recommend this book to others in prison.
I spend time in prisons helping out and felt that Sandra's experiences in the UK system were worse than I have observed but her range of experience is much greater than mine. It's great to see anyone coming out of a long period in jail managing to get back on their feet and move on in life. It is particularly interesting to see the differences between the two countries and how diversely prisoners are dealt with - Sandra Gregory seemed to have accepted the Thai conditions which made the transfer to the UK so hard and she never really got used to the UK system which can be insensitive as best!!
The title of the book is rather sensational - it is a quote from a letter but there seems to have been no point that her parents would ever have abandoned her completely.
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on 10 July 2002
Even before reading the first page I was overwhelmed by what an incredibly difficult book this must have been to write - how to tell the story but not sound as if you were justifying your actions. Sandra Gregory describes and explains her experiences with such clarity and honesty that it is an emotional read; not in the sense of tears, in that you feel you are living the experience, you're in the Bangkok Hilton - and you only leave when you close the book!
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on 16 October 2005
A wonderful open account of Sandras experiences written with a lot of courage.Sandra never once makes excuses for her situation.The book totally changed my own attitudes.....nothing is always black and white and the punishment doesnt always fit the crime.Shows the wonderful human spirit to survive under such conditions and the unfaulting love and support of her family even when told to "forget her" Loved the book ,great recommendation for parents to give to their children who are contemplating that overseas working holiday.
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on 26 August 2003
Contrary to what Ally from London said in her review, I found that I liked Sandra Gregory, I think she is open and honest and a bit of an adventure seeker. Of course she felt sorry for herself, who wouldn't in her situation? Drug trafficking must be taken seriously and a fitting punishment given, but it wasn't as if she were one of the big drug barons who make millions out of the trade. To me it is them that should receive massive sentences. She was only trying to make enough money to get home, therefore carrying such a small amount of heroin for someone's personal use. Obviously a ridiculous thing to do and so easy to say in hindsight. I really enjoyed the book, well written and plenty of detail. A good insight in to the harsher realities of life, and hopefully would put anyone off doing the same thing. Good Luch Sandra, I wish you all the best for the future.
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on 3 August 2003
This is the first autobiography I have read and it was "unputdownable". My personal opinion is that the sentence given to Ms Gregory was extremely harsh and I felt is very very frustrating that the person who persuaded Ms Gregory to smuggle the drugs got off scot-free - how annoying - perhaps her naivity and love for her family got the better of her. Prison life in Thailand is obviously very very tough, to put it mildly. Fascinating book - I shall probably read it again as there is so much to take in on the first reading. Extremely good book.
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