Visiting Life: Women Doing Time on the Outside Hardcover – Jun 12 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
When things go very wrong, fleeing the scene of the disaster is a time-honored response. But in this memoir cum social history, PW's West Coast editor Kinsella puts a new spin on an old story. When her husband of nine years announces that he is gay, she feels stripped of identity and purpose and heads west, seeking to start afresh. Launching a new career as a literary agent, she makes an unlikely friend: Rory Mehan, a convicted murderer doing life without parole at a maximum-security prison in northern California. But Rory is also a novelist, philosopher and doorway to a world Kinsella reveals in this book—one populated by the girlfriends, spouses and children of incarcerated men. The story is strongest when she turns the focus on these women and children. But there are also particularly poignant passages when Kinsella details her own struggle to come to terms with the fact that, at 40, she will most likely never have the children she had so desperately wanted. What becomes a romantic relationship with Rory raises core questions for her—a good Catholic girl and one-time honor student—about values and identity. Kinsella, though, seems less willing to go as deep as Rory or the women she profiles do in revealing those issues but still presents a powerful story. (June 12)
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About the Author
Bridget Kinsella is an editor at Publishers Weekly. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Chicago Tribune and Writer’s Digest, and on NPR and Salon.com. She lives in Northern California.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Kinsella writes (somehow managing to strike that delicate balance between arrogance and paternalistic condescension) minimally of her time spent visiting an inmate, in more detail regarding her feelings and thoughts towards the other women there to visit their own men in prison, and finally (and this is by far the most thorough part of the book) on her own personal musings.
I would only recommend this book to people I don't like very much.
Thank you Ms Kinsella for your sharing your story!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
However, some of the book reads on like someone telling you every detail of a dream they just had. I think that Kinsella used her book as a vehicle for her own healing, and perhaps as such, she included a little too much backstory.
So, I reserve the right to say that she can't really tell us what it is like to have a husband or boyfriend on the inside.
She doesn't have the level of commitment that I and other women who love these men have.
With a good job, she doesn't juggle work, school, children, and visits.
She doesn't know what its like to go through the things that women really do.
She include some other women in the book, but somehow they are all less than she is. In many cases she makes them seem naive or less than desirable to anyone but an inmate.
It reminds me of another book, Nickled and Dimed, where the author pretended to be poor for awhile and then went back to her normal life. This is my normal life. I don't have another one waiting for me somewhere.
She is hardly typical of most women who visit prisoners, because most women can't tack on an extra flight to accomodate a prison visit during a work-related business trip. Most women also don't have the luxury of careers that allow them the freedom to move around the country as the wanderlust strikes them and still keep the same job.
Still, it was an interesting book. I wish she could have gotten more women to talk to her and tell their stories, it would have made a better book.
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