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


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I'll Fly Away: Further Testimonies from the Women of York Prison + Couldn't Keep It to Myself:  Wally Lamb and the Women of York Correctional Institution (Testimonies from our Imprisoned Sisters) + We Are Water: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (October 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061626392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061626395
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“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 selections of Oprah's Book Club. Lamb edited Couldn't Keep It to Myself and I'll Fly Away, two volumes of essays from students in his writing workshop at York Correctional Institution, a women's prison in Connecticut where he has been a volunteer facilitator for fifteen years. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Christine. The Lambs are the parents of three sons.


More About the Author

Wally Lamb's first two novels, She's Come Undone (Simon & Schuster/Pocket, 1992) and I Know This Much Is True (HarperCollins/ReganBooks, 1998), were # 1 New York Times bestsellers, New York Times Notable Books of the Year, and featured titles of Oprah's Book Club. I Know This Much Is True was a Book of the Month Club main selection and the June 1999 featured selection of the Bertelsman Book Club, the national book club of Germany. Between them, She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True have been translated into eighteen languages. Lamb is also the editor of the nonfiction anthologies Couldn't Keep It to Myself: Testimonies from Our Imprisoned Sisters (HarperCollins/ReganBooks, 2003) and I'll Fly Away (HarperCollins, 2007), collections of autobiographical essays which evolved from a writing workshop Lamb facilitates at Connecticut's York Correctional Institute, a maximum-security prison for women. He has served as a Connecticut Department of Corrections volunteer from 1999 to the present. Wally Lamb is a Connecticut native who holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in teaching from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College. Lamb was in the ninth year of his twenty-five-year career as a high school English teacher at his alma mater, the Norwich Free Academy, when he began to write fiction in 1981. He has also taught writing at the University of Connecticut, where he directed the English Department's creative writing program. Wally Lamb has said of his fiction, "Although my characters' lives don't much resemble my own, what we share is that we are imperfect people seeking to become better people. I write fiction so that I can move beyond the boundaries and limitations of my own experiences and better understand the lives of others. That's also why I teach. As challenging as it sometimes is to balance the two vocations, writing and teaching are, for me, intertwined." Honors for Wally Lamb include: the Connecticut Center for the Book's Lifetime Achievement Award, the Connecticut Bar Association's Distinguished Public Service Award, the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, the Connecticut Governor's Arts Award, The National Institute of Business/Apple Computers "Thanks to Teachers" Award. Lamb has received Distinguished Alumni awards from Vermont College and the University of Connecticut. He was the 1999 recipient of the New England Book Award for fiction. I Know This Much Is True won the Friends of the Library USA Readers' Choice Award for best novel of 1998, the result of a national poll, and the Kenneth Johnson Memorial Book Award, which honored the novel's contribution to the anti-stigmatization of mental illness. She's Come Undone was a 1992 "Top Ten" Book of the Year selection in People magazine and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Best First Novel of 1992. Wally Lamb's third novel, The Hour I First Believed, explores chaos theory by interfacing several generations of a fictional Connecticut family with such nonfictional American events as the Civil War, the Columbine High School shootings of 1999, the Iraq War, and Hurricane Katrina. The book will be published by HarperCollins in November of 2008.

Customer Reviews

This book was a good sequel to "Couldn't Keep It to Myself".
C. Secrist
I think its a great read for anyone who wants to understand people, their situations, and their decisions they made that ended them up here.
Amazon Customer
Excellent anthology of writing by women in prison who took part in Wally Lamb's writingn classes.
Nancy E. Deren

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By World Traveller on September 29, 2008
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.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By K. L. Cotugno VINE VOICE on March 26, 2008
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.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Nancy E. Deren on December 19, 2007
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Banks on January 6, 2009
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.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By ctblueyes1 on October 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
There is an inmate that has written her story in this book which makes her out to be the victim and my brother to be a monster. The author allowed this inmate to write an untrue story in his book without confirming the facts at all. Mr. Lamb you have no idea how much this inmates short story took a healing wound and reopened it to be a gaping whole again. She is the monster and my brother was the victim. She also acted as judge, jury and executioner the day she drove knife into his chest...you should've checked the facts of the case before you allowed her to manipulate the truth for book sales....it's disgusting and degrading to every victim that has suffered a loss that you allowed to be a part of this book
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Harriet A. Hendel on August 1, 2010
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bohememama on March 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The way Wally captures the ambiguity of the women's various backgrounds and what sets the stage for their almost inevitable foray into prison is insightful, heartbreaking, and thought provoking. He does this with compassion and a firm hand. Loved it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Found this book while waiting for Orange Is The New Black to come in at the library. This is great inside look into the lives of women serving time in York Correctional Facility in Connecticut. While some of them could be manipulating the truth, they are still stories that give insight into the lives of women in prison, how they got there, what they do in prison to pass the time. The stories that really stood out are the ones where the women were abused, and their decisions to stay with the abuser, that eventually led them to prison. I think its a great read for anyone who wants to understand people, their situations, and their decisions they made that ended them up here. It can also be a cautionary tale for our young adults, older teens, to see that their decisions can have consequences on themselves, but also on their families, and vicitms' families, as well. We always think its prison, they deserve nothing but to rot in there, but many of them get out, and we really need to provide a system, where they can have a productive life that benefits society once they get out, instead of leading them back to commit more crimes. I thought it was a good quick read.
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