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I'll Fly Away: Further Testimonies from the Women of York Prison Paperback – Oct 21 2008

4 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • I'll Fly Away: Further Testimonies from the Women of York Prison
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  • Couldn't Keep It to Myself: Testimonies from Our Imprisoned Sisters
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  • Wishin' and Hopin': A Novel
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (Oct. 21 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061626392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061626395
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 404 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #50,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Lamb . . . continues to offer readers an intimate look at women struggling to maintain their humanity.” (Booklist)

“Inspiring and raw…They write from the heart…each vignette is more compelling than the one before it.” (Library Journal)

“Accomplished…Each story, no matter how grim or gritty, shows polish.” (Kirkus Reviews)

About the Author

Wally Lamb is the author of four previous novels, including the New York Times and national bestseller The Hour I First Believed and Wishin' and Hopin', a bestselling novella. His first two works of fiction, She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, were both number-one New York Times bestsellers and Oprah's Book Club selections. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Christine. The Lambs are the parents of three sons.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jakky on May 4 2009
Format: Paperback
In his role as Professor of Creative Writing, Wally Lamb has collected a second series of writings by the incarcerated women of York Correctional Institute in PA. While this is some of the most disturbing and voyeuristic reading I have ever done, it is also an indirect look at a prison system which is simply not working adequately to achieve its purpose: to keep criminals from re-offending, to help addicts recover sobriety, to reform and punish and separate the bad seeds from the rest of us good, law-abiding citizens... The autobiographical tales recounted by the women of York are gut-wrenching and horrifying. It is not surprising that they ended up in prison, it is only surprising that they did not end up there sooner. Wally Lamb shows great respect for and validation of these women in publishing their stories. These two collections of prisoners' writings (Couldn't Keep It To Myself and I'll Fly Away) challenge some of society's simplistic notions about incarceration, and leave me with hope that programs such as Lamb's prison writing workshops will help some badly bruised and broken souls to reclaim their dignity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Corbett on Feb. 5 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A touching collection of real life stories and some lovely poetry, puts you inside the minds of how these women end up in prison and how they cope and better themselves. Would recommend this book, especially if you know someone who's been there.
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By jmf on Sept. 23 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was a struggle. I have to be honest: I haven't finished reading it because, as you might expect, I couldn't relate to it in any way.Fortunately for me, life has been more kind.
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By jennyrunswithscissors on April 13 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
excellent book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 63 reviews
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Must-read for just about anyone Sept. 29 2008
By World Traveller - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book, and its partner "Couldn't Keep It To Myself" by the same author, is at times tough and uplifting. These are essays that women have worked on in a writing class inside the prison. They are their personal stories, which usually reveal so much about their circumstances and decisions that led them to incarceration.

Some of it is rough to read, such as troubled family lives and things happening to them that we don't like to think about. You get a chance to see the real consequences of poor treatment and bad circumstances. It's must-see information so we can all be more empathetic and alert when it comes to how we treat loved ones, watch over our neighborhood, and care for the society at large.

But beyond the painful histories, these essays reveal how these women are searching inside themselves to identify and correct troublesome thoughts and habits, and rehabilitating themselves in the process. In this respect it is very inspiring and uplifting. Most of us go through our days without thinking much about the deep things. In these essays we can follow the path of discovery with these women, some further along than others, and the progress they have made even in spite of their handicapped backgrounds and current incarceration. It can't help but motivate the reader to higher aspirations with his own circumstances.

I could recommend these two books to anyone who is interested in: child care, teaching, psychology, dealing with challenges, religion, or caring about our fellow man.

As an aside, I bought these books because I responded to an ad in our local paper looking for "weekend puppy-raisers". This prison has a program of training inmates to raise puppys for future life as an assistance dog to a handicapped person. The inmates work hard for the privilege, and dedicate themselves wholly to making the ideal dog for its future needy owner. On weekends, the dogs go home with a family to get socialized to life outside the prison walls. I signed up as a weekend family, solely because I missed having a dog, and with my work schedule, a full-time dog was impossible. What I didn't expect, was that the relationship with the inmate raising the pup would mean at least as much to me as the pup. The transformation that the woman is undergoing, as she works on herself and learns more about how her actions impact others and her own future, is so inspiring. I was surprised to find "real people" in prison, and so I got these two books to learn more about who they are and what led them to that point. We all have less-than-ideal life histories and personal choices, it's just a matter of degree, and I've found this helps me open my eyes to a world I avoided even thinking about - troubled families and people living in rough circumstances or making bad choices. It's good take off the blinders.

I'll post the same review on the companion book.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
By K. L. Cotugno - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Wally Lamb is one of those writers that readers wish would write more. But seeing how he spends his time, readers can understand why he isn't pounding away at a keyboard relentlessly. Instead, he is inspiring incarcerated women to reach within themselves, bring forth what they know, and express themselves creatively. The pieces in this second collection are poignant given the circucumstances in which they were written, but hopeful in that they give voice to these neglected women, giving them expression. It is uncertain whether any of them could write as effectively about something outside of their experience or out of their imagination; however, that is not the point. The fact that they are able to be creative with what they do know is enough.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Moving and thought-provoking Dec 19 2007
By Nancy E. Deren - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent anthology of writing by women in prison who took part in Wally Lamb's writingn classes. Several of the most touching pieces are by young women serving long sentences for crimes committed at very young ages. Great reading for anyone interested in social justice issues.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I'll Fly Away Jan. 6 2009
By M. A. Banks - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Wally Lamb has done it again! This shows his compassion for these women along with their chance to do something worthwhile. Well written.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Wally Lamb's gift to the women incarcerated at York Prison.... Aug. 1 2010
By Harriet A. Hendel - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I came across Wally Lamb's first book written by the women incarcerated at York Prison when I was a new volunteer at Greenhaven Correctional Facility in Dutchess County, NY. Although I was working on an individual basis with the men there, Lamb's book motivated me to take a new path with my students at Greenhaven. He inspired me to help the men write their own "stories" about their lives. I also own Lamb's second book, I'LL FLY AWAY and have read portions of it to my classes. One of my students encouraged me to write a personal letter to one of the women in the book. She is the author of "A Gift". For the last year now, we have been corresponding and I have visited her 4 times. She has one of the longest sentences at York: 50 years with no chance of parole. I think what Lamb has accomplished in publishing these two remarkable books is to educate people like us about women like those at York. They have made some poor choices but they are also victims themselves--in many cases of horrific abuse in all its forms. I am proud to own these books and Lamb mailed me an autographed copy of the second book~encouraging me to continue my work at Greenhaven.