Redeemable : A Memoir of Darkness and Hope

4.07 (114 ratings by Goodreads)
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Born in Somerset in 1957 to itinerant Scottish parents, Erwin James lost his mother when he was seven. Shipped from home to home and subject to the whims of various caregivers after his father turned to alcohol and violence, he committed his first crime of breaking and entering when he was ten. His teenage and early adult years were spent drifting, and his petty crime turned increasingly violent, culminating in the terrible events for which he was jailed for life in 1984.

Entering prison at 27, James struggled to come to terms with the enormity of his crimes and a future without purpose or hope. Then he met Joan, a prison psychologist, who helped him to confront the painful truth of his past, and to understand how it had shaped him from such a young age. Her sessions transformed his life. Encouraged to read and to educate himself, over the next twenty years Erwin James would go on to receive a BA in History, and become a regular columnist for the Guardian.

Speaking to the very heart of the human condition, this is a book that offers no excuses--only the need to understand how we become who we become, and shows that no matter how far a person may fall, redemption is possible with the right kind of help. It is an important and timely memoir.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 344 pages
  • 147 x 213 x 28mm | 499g
  • New York
  • English
  • 1632862948
  • 9781632862945

Review quote

"What does it say about a man who had done almost twenty years in prison that his writing should be marked by such humanity, compassion, and wisdom? Never pleading for himself or pitching for our pity, Erwin James s account of life inside is fascinating not just for its portrait of a harsh and secret world but because in the author we are introduced to a man of rare self-awareness, strength and intelligence." Ronan Bennett, author of HAVOC, IN ITS THIRD YEAR, long-listed for the Booker Prize"A painful and honest and beautiful account of a life blighted by circumstance and neglect, then wasted in criminality, and then, gloriously, redeemed by the power of the written word and by the capacity of the human heart for compassion and forgiveness . . . Heartbreaking, poignant and affecting." Stephen Kelman, author of PIGEON ENGLISH"Prison writing doesn't come any better than this." Jonathan Aitken, author of MARGARET THATCHER: POWER AND PERSONALITY, on A LIFE INSIDE"This is real life in an unreal environment, frankly and powerfully rendered." "Time Out" on THE HOME STRETCH"
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About Erwin James

Erwin James began his life sentence for murder in August, 1984. Twenty years later he was released a changed man. In 1998 he began writing a column for the Guardian entitled "A Life Inside." He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts and is an Honorary Master of the Open University. He has two previous books: A Life Inside, a collection of his writings from the Guardian, and The Home Stretch. He lives in Wales.
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Rating details

114 ratings
4.07 out of 5 stars
5 39% (44)
4 36% (41)
3 21% (24)
2 4% (4)
1 1% (1)
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