A FEW 5 STAR REVIEWS FROM AMAZON AND GOODREADS
(Go to Amazon and Goodreads for over 200 more reviews)
A Great Read, A First Rate Memoir by AH
This book is like running into an old friend in a bar or cafe and listening to him tell you a story from his life that seems light and funny at first, but reveals itself to be touching and insightful.
I loved this story by LC
It is rare that I read a book where I wish it would never end. I loved this story…this memoir is written with great wit and humor, and yet very poignant at times.
Delightful, Poignant, Funny by JM
The author's insightful style is relatable and a delight to read. His casual style will have you caring about characters you just met, and will miss when the book is over. Well done Mr. Bonham.
A Compelling Memoir by SH
Mr. Bonham has written a compelling memoir of his experience as a naive young adult working as the chef in a prison kitchen in rural Montana in the 1970's. The reader is quickly absorbed into vignettes which are poignant, insightful, disturbing, humorous, and thought-provoking. Where another writer might not have been so open, Mr. Bonham is candid about the impact of this experience and the insight it gave him into his own being.
Nuanced tales that are at times funny, thoughtful and sad by RC
Bonham keeps it real in his refreshingly honest portrayal of prison life…this memoir manages to fully engage the reader with nuanced tales that are at times funny, thoughtful and sad. Quite an accomplishment.
This next review means a lot to me because it was written by a man who worked in a prison for over 20 years...
It was amazing. Should Be Required Reading For All Future Correctional Employees! Outstanding! By RW
Finally, a prison story told by an honest employee, one not trying to make himself look like a superhero, or by a crusading malcontent. Bonham tells it like it is, from the fear EVERYONE feels on their first day, to "the dark sense of humor you need in a prison", to the realization that "this was a prison, and there were always new and exciting ways to look stupid". Lessons such as "don't pretend to be tough in front of a tough guy" (I learned that one the hard way); "the one thing I lost at the prison was the faith I had in my ability to judge men", keeping your mouth shut and doing your job (do your own time), and the dangers you face when working with convicts. I give the author credit for getting out when he did, he didn't like the way the job was changing him. In my 20+ years working at federal prisons, I met a lot of men who should have taken his example. And I relate everyday to the things he misses about the job; "the intensity of the prison, the mad laughter and sudden anger, the strange stories...the need to be constantly aware, and the sense of being alive at every moment". A great, great story.
A rich and satisfying stew By DS
Bonham has written a captivating, true-life morality tale of his transformation from a naive innocent to a clear-eyed, hardened realist - from a young man to a grown man. At times funny, enlightening, and frightening, the book covers one full year in a Montana prison during the Nixon Era in which Bonham, in his early 20s, was a greenhorn supervisor in the prison kitchen. He worked alongside hardened criminals, some of whom he grew to like personally… until he learned why they’d been incarcerated. Each chapter offers a well-written vignette about prison life from the objective view of an insider who was neither an inmate nor a corrections officer. His story and observations are as relevant today in this era of mass incarceration as when his tale took place in the 1970s, and the writing is as carefully crafted as meal prepared by a master chef.