From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Children of prisoners: who even thinks about them? Journalist Bernstein puts a face on this population with staggering statistics (2.4 million children have a parent in jail, and as many as half of all boys whose parents do time will wind up behind bars themselves) and personal stories of children like Susana, who has embraced her father only once in her life, and Carl, who told the jailhouse Santa that all he wanted for Christmas was for his mother to come home. Parents and children speak about the trauma of prison visits, the expensive phone calls that cut off without warning and the questions from children (What do you tell your friends? Are you to blame?) and parents (Would your child be better off without you?). Bernstein takes on the system as well: because of mandatory sentencing, judges must impose life imprisonment without parole, regardless of circumstances; a convicted felon, once released, has no access to student or small-business loans, public assistance or housing; a grandmother fears applying for aid because she must give up her grandchildren to the foster care system for evaluation and may never get them back. Well researched and smoothly written, Bernstein's book pumps up awareness of the problems, provides a checklist for what needs to be done and also cites organizations like the Osborne Society that provide parenting and literacy classes, counseling and support. The message is clear : taking family connections into account "holds particular promise for restoring a social fabric rent by both crime and punishment." (Oct.)
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"An urgent invitation to care for all children as our own."
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Author of Random Family
"In terms of elegance, breadth and persuasiveness, All Alone in the World deserves to be placed alongside other classics of the genre such as Jonathan Kozol's Savage Inequalities, Alex Kotlowitz's There Are No Children Here and Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's Random Family. But to praise the book's considerable literary or sociological merit seems beside the point. This book belongs not only on shelves but also in the hands of judges and lawmakers."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Serious, moving, and well organized
this book could help galvanize a national will to tackle such problems."
Library Journal, Starred Review
"Well researched and smoothly written. Bernstein's book pumps up awareness of the problems [and] provides a checklist for what needs to be done."
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"This is the book we children of prisoners have been waiting for."