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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807098108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807098103
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A book of hope for lives that need turning around.”
Kirkus Reviews

"Jiang-Stein’s journey and her captivating account of it are beyond astonishing."
Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“[A] unique and startling memoir...poetically written.”
School Library Journal

“The ways this woman discovers herself, via the revelation of her birth mother and her reconciliation with her adoptive mother, show us how dramatically different worlds intersect, and why those intersections are so important to who we are… A powerful story.”
—Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black

“Deborah Jiang Stein has beaten the cycle of intergenerational incarceration, despite the odds against her—multiracial, born in a federal prison to a heroin-addicted mother. Her story offers hope to the possibility of personal transformation for anyone.”
—Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking and Pulitzer Prize nominee
 
"A harrowing, heartfelt glittering diamond of a memoir that shows that being born in prison does not have to imprison the spirit. Gloriously alive and important."
—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Is This Tomorrow

"Prison Baby, one woman's profound quest for family and identity, is also a soul stirring call to arms on behalf of incarcerated women and their children. It's a story of lost and found, conflict and peace, and proof that with love, forgiveness, and support, people really do change their lives."
—Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow

"This book defines what it is to be American, a woman caught in the whirlwinds of change, who finds the strength in herself to confront the challenges and overcome them. Wonderful."
—Jimmy Santiago Baca, author of A Place to Stand and American Book Award winner

“A compelling story of loss, addiction, and healing…told with grace and much heart.”
—Heidi W. Durrow, New York Times best-selling author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
 
“At a time when more and more women are being incarcerated worldwide, Deborah Jiang Stein's story of the secrets and ignominy surrounding her prison birth gives readers a brave account of the backlash children and society encounter when families are torn apart by addiction, prison, and shame. More than anything, Deborah's book is a call for an open-eyed examination of our broken criminal justice system, and a heartfelt plea for more compassionate responses to poverty and mental illness.”
—Naseem Rakha, author of The Crying Tree
 
"A profoundly moving search for identify, Prison Baby is as inspiring as it is haunting. Deborah Jiang Stein’s bold, and intrepid honesty will speak to anyone who has struggled with grief, forgiveness, and finding their place in the world."
—Katrina Kittle, author of The Blessings of the Animals

“Prison Baby
is an emotionally charged, transformative story about one woman's search for her true origins. Candid and searing, Deborah Jiang Stein's memoir is a remarkable story about identity, lost and found—and about the author's journey to reclaim—and celebrate—that most primal of relationships, the one between mother and child. I dare you to read this book without crying.”
—Mira Bartok, author of The Memory Palace

"Prison Baby hits all the emotions of the who, what, where, when and why's of adoption right on the head of the nail! Some real deep life stuff is in these pages. It stirs the soul. I can relate to being in a similar predicament where I didn't look like anyone in my family. If you want to know the truth about finding who you really are, this is the story! Adopted or not."
—Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, adoptee and Founder of hip-hop group Run-DMC

About the Author

Deborah Jiang Stein is a national speaker, writer, and founder of the unPrison Project, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves to build public awareness about women and girls in prison and offers mentoring and life-skills programs for inmates. She lives in the Midwest.

More About the Author

Deborah Jiang Stein is a keynote speaker, writer, and founder of The unPrison Project (www.unprisonproject.org) a 501(c)3 nonprofit working to empower and inspire incarcerated women and girls with life skills and mentoring to plan and prepare for a successful life after prison. She is the author of the memoir, PRISON BABY (Beacon Press.) This is the first book chosen for the One Read Program in the prison system: Behind Books not Bars Program (http://bit.ly/1f3rSLo.)

www.deborahstein.com

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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This book is a fairly fast read, and worth the time.
jancat14
Deborah Jiang Stein is to be admired, for the life she has lived and for the books she has written.
Roni Gingold
A beautiful story of transformation into a Woman with strength, courage and grace.
Carla

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Leah Shelleda on March 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I had just intended to browse Prison Baby, or read the first chapter, but after an hour I realized that Deborah Jiang Stein's remarkable and compelling story is a page turner. Full disclosure: I do not ordinarily read either motivational books or memoirs, but Prison Baby transcends either genre. On one level this is a 21st century account - a troubled child, born in prison to an addicted mother, becomes a drug addicted adult, descends into near-tragedy and ultimately finds wholeness and redemption.
On another level the story is archetypal. The author resembles the hero(ine) of mythology, unaware of his/her origins, born to a god or an outcast, adopted, raised in abundance, then descending into an unavoidable hell from which few return. The hero(ine) lives not only to tell the tale, but he/she becomes a Transformer, an agent of compassionate change.
Prison Baby is well-written and the author has a gift for narrative. I am particularly taken with Stein's ability to describe both the physical sensations that accompany anxiety and trauma (« a boulder of ache blasts a hole through my chest ») and the neurological problems that plague a girl who was born addicted.
As a result of her heroic journey, Stein gains self-knowledge and wisdom, and returns to women's prisons as a motivational speaker and workshop leader. I was actually sad when the book ended - I had been in the presence of a remarkable woman.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Milo Samardzija on March 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ms. Stein did what I thought was impossible -- she shocked me. This utterly fascinating story, about an adopted child who discovers she was born in prison, is so well written, so honest in its emotion, and so brave in its telling, is unforgettable. The chapter where she visits the prison where she was born, is some of the best writing I've read in years. This book is a triumph!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By sharon titcomb on March 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very moving book. Deborah's drug-filled life was understandable (what her dentity was) at the end and she did recover and do good in her life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gayle on March 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was interested in this book long before it was released. I had been online friends with the author for quite a while and supported her projects, but had no idea of what her writing style would be.

PRISON BABY touched my heart. When Deborah was twelve-years-old, she discovered, while snooping through her adoptive mother's dresser drawers, that her birth mother was a heroin addict and was in prison when Deborah was born. Since she was very young, she had fleeting memories of people viewing her through bars. It was easy to dismiss these flashes as the dowels on the side of her crib. Now, they had another possible meaning.

She holds nothing back, owning her years of crime and drugs and separation from the wonderful Jewish couple who adopted her. She wanted information about her birth mother to find a key to her unknown mixed ancestry. She did not fit any mold.

This is an amazing book of love, hope, forgiveness, and worthwhile ways of giving back.

Deborah's writing style is superb; how could it not be? Her adoptive parents were well known in the literary circle, and the guest lists for their dinner parties included some big names.

Five stars from me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Constant Reader on March 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It wasn't her fault that she was born in prison, or that she was taken away from her incarcerated mom within a year, but you can imagine the anger she dealt with for years. This is a helluva survivor's story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Benedict on March 26, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is an absolutely riveting story. I'm dazzled by the author's candor, grit, insight, fierceness, and just about everything else. In addition to having written a memoir about her remarkable journey, having been born in prison and raised by adopted parents who didn't know how to talk to her about her past - all of which threw her into decades of self-destruction and searching - she is a speaker in prisons and to law enforcement and social work people who deal with the prison population, through her non-profit organization, UnPrison. Deborah Jiang Stein is an incredibly courageous, tough, smart, ferocious woman, who regularly deals with a group of people - women in prison - whom most of us have the luxury not to think much about. I am filled with admiration for what she does, and for what she's done with her life - the personal and the political - and with the story she's had the dedication to craft and share with us. And grateful she has opened my eyes to all of this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jancat14 on March 26, 2014
Format: Paperback
Ms. Stein's life started out in ways that most people can never know or understand. She writes bluntly about her relationships with herself, her family and substance abuse; again, experiences many (most) of us will never know, so can never truly understand. It is inspiring to see how she eventually came to terms with being born in prison (I don't think this is a spoiler from the title!) and the life that was imposed on her after that. I also really appreciated that, although she mentions specific people towards the end, she intentionally resists the urge to sensationalize even more by adding them to the rocky milieu that is her life, instead saying that those stories are theirs to tell. This book is a fairly fast read, and worth the time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roni Gingold on March 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An incredible book. I read the author's first book, "Even Tough GIrls Wear Tutus" in one sitting. I could not wait for Deborah's second book to come out, and read it as soon as it arrived. Deborah Jiang Stein is to be admired, for the life she has lived and for the books she has written. Every reader can take away something from this book. As engrossing as it is, I find the work the author is doing in women's prisons even more incredible. I would suggest this book to anyone.
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