Book review: Couldn’t Keep It to Myself

T. ?S? P., CCWF
Couldn’t Keep It to Myself, Testimonies from our Imprisoned Sisters, by Wally Lamb and the Women of York Correctional Institution, Regan Books, 2003, pp.350 is an anthology of stories from 11 women prisoners. It is one result of a writing workshop at the prison conducted by Wally Lamb over several years. The women were encouraged to find their own voice, to write about their lives. In the process they not only acquired skills to write powerful stories, they changed themselves. They offer their insights to the reader.
When I first picked up Couldn’t Keep It to Myself and read a few pages, I tossed it back on the bed thinking, “hell no, this book is about abuse in a very ugly way!” After a while I picked the book back up. I could not put it down once I let it touch my heart. I know that this stuff does happen every day. It has not happened to me as a child, but as I was reading it I started to feel these women’s hurt and pain.
I got myself a highlighter and started marking all the stuff in these stories that had to do with my own life up ’til now. The book made me think a lot about my life, things I just forgot, how not caring got me here back in the 80’s. Now I got me some real soul searching to do. I know who I am, but it’s not who I should be.