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Visiting Life: Women Doing Time on the Outside Hardcover – Jun 12 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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99 by Wayne Gretzky 99 by Wayne Gretzky

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (June 12 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307338363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307338365
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 2.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,259,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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 She lives in Northern California.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I thought Barbara Ehrenreich was rather arrogant in her written tone in "Nickel & Dimed", but Kinsella seems to have managed to outdo her in "Visiting Life: Women Doing Time on the Outside".
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.
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Format: Hardcover
After hearing the author's interview about the book on CBC radio, I rushed out to get my own copy. Visiting Life is more than just sharing women's experiences with visiting loved ones on the inside, it's also about her own life - her emotions, fears, and loves. She truly brings a personal touch and draws the reader right into her life. Her honesty and openness about what she has gone through hit home with me a on a few topics, and I am thankful that someone was able to put down in words thoughts that I'd had but was never really able to speak up about.
Thank you Ms Kinsella for your sharing your story!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book! March 17 2008
By Donna Henson - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book for anyone in a relationship with a man in prison and especially for anyone that cares for someone having a relationship with a man in prison and you're asking yourself "how can you fall in love with a man in prison?" This book will answer that question. It reveals how real the love is between a couple even under the circumstances one faces when visiting someone incarcerated. The book is warm, open, and personal and shares the stories of many intelligent, normal, women that happen to fall in love with an incarcerated man. What I love most about the book is that it shows that all men behind bars are not monsters to be afraid of, but are men with hearts and souls that made a mistake but have turned their lives around and have so much to give. These men can love in the most wonderful precious way if only given the chance. Ms. Kinsella did a wonderful job sharing all that she learned during her journey. It is a wonderful book!!
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, But Sometimes Rambling July 13 2007
By AnonInCA - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was interested in this novel after hearing Bridget Kinsella on NPR. I found her to be intelligent and candid about her experience falling in love with a prison inmate. Her novel didn't disapoint...she explores her own situation and the experiences of the other women she meets with such honesty. I felt like I really had a glimpse into her mindset and how this unlikely union actually made sense for her.
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.
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Opened up a whole new world for me! July 11 2007
By Peter J. Sander - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wasn't sure just what to expect when I started reading this book, but I'd been intrigued by the press mentions. Once I got started on a sunny Sunday afternoon I read the entire thing straight through! This author opens up a world I'm not likely ever to see from my little suburban perch, and I was really moved by the stories of the other women that she met. And as for her story, I can totally understand her feelings. It is easy to feel like a complete stranger in our society if you don't fit into the married-with-kids mold that is all around us. Bless her for finding a way to work through her own feelings, and for being brave enough to share them.

Jennifer Sander
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite reality April 17 2012
By DannieLynn - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I liked this book and even found myself emotionally involved at a few points. But one thing is missing in this book. Her dedication to Rory. Although she tries to show herself as a man in love with a lifer, she never really gives into Rory and becomes his wife. She always keeps him at arms length.
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.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but flawed Oct. 14 2007
By Shawna - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I finished this book with a lot of unanswered questions about Rory. Did Bridget ever help him get anything published? Was he really as good a writer as she claimed he was? What were the specific facts (independent of Rory or Bridget's "spin") of his case? In large part he seemed to be a blank screen where Bridget could project what she longed for in a man. I finished some chapters, thinking, "enough about you already." I couldn't relate to her prolonged agony over her divorce and her angst over being childless at 40.

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.