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Penitence: A True Story Paperback – November 1, 1994

ISBN-13: 978-0964247307 ISBN-10: 0964247305

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 339 pages
  • Publisher: Lucy Madden Assoc (November 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964247305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964247307
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,760,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

2.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By HugDyke on August 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
I would have given this book zero stars if Amazon would allow anything less than one.

It's not that the story isn't good. The book recounts how Jim Baines' life was turned around by a very rigorous, almost inhumane program at the Maine Youth Center after he helped to kill a gay man in the early 1980s.

My problem is that the book is *horribly* written. The author claims to have written "hundreds of stories and articles" before this book, but you could have fooled me! I even wonder if he passed basic junior high school English. He gets "it's" and "its" mixed up and has an equally tough time with "your" and "you're." He also can't decide if it's "paperwork" or "paper work," nor does he understand the difference between single and double quotation marks. These are all incredibly basic English grammar skills that anyone with a grade school education should possess. Unfortunately, Armstrong appears to have been absent during these important class lessons.

His tone is also incredibly patronizing to youth speech patterns. He places everything that could possibly be considered non-adult talk or colloquialisms in quotation marks (although, again, he can't decide if he needs to use single or double quotes in these or other instances). Using quotation marks in this way is a method of delegitimizing someone's speech patterns -- although i realize that Armstrong probably didn't mean this since his knowledge of the intricacies of writing seems to be completely absent.

All of this made me wonder where his editor was. Any editor worth her/his salt would have caught -- and corrected -- each and every one of these sorry errors. Armstrong does mention having an editor in his book's introduction. But i don't know what s/he was on when s/he read the manuscript.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 12, 1998
Format: Paperback
The book was one i had a hard time to put down...Its a true story that centers around a Juvenile named Jim Baines who was involved in murdering a gay men with his three friends...He is sent to live in a Juvenile Detention facility for an indefinate amount of time....The book is about Jim's rehabilitation and the program he went through at the Juvenile Center...Im not sure what it was..The program he was put into was very strict..More so then anything i could have gone thru...I found myself over time reading..and starting to care for him in the book..And the other kids he came into contact with...HOping and wishing that they could turn there lives around....I wouldnt say its the best book i have ever read..But i couldnt put it down....And its been two days read and it still has me thinking......
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Format: Paperback
I agree with the person who gave it one star. The situation itself is an interesting story, but the book is not written well. I'm no authority on the English language and grammar, but I recognize slow books that take a while to get to the point, and recognize details are unnecessarily repeated.

I borrowed this from inter library loan after hear about the 25(?) anniversary. I was anxious to read it because the newspaper had such great articles. This book is boring. If it's ever reprinted I hope it's heavily edited.

I'm an average writer who struggles to organize thoughts, especially on multiple page papers. I could use improvement. That's how this book felt to me - that the author needs writing lessons.
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