"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."

Borges

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell by Joe Loya



Joe Loya is an ex-convict, ex-bank robber turned writer whose correspondence with essayist Richard Rodriguez provides him with an anchor while he is imprisoned.

His story is appalling, violent and absolutely riveting. At times, I had to put it down because some of the things that happened to him or that he did were just so disturbing. Mr. Loya writes so well, however that I kept picking this book back up again to find out what happened.

It's an amazing look into the psyche of this precocious little boy who, through the abuse he suffers from his father slowly evolves into this manipulative criminal. This book shows us so clearly how violence and abuse affect society as a whole. The boy’s father is dealing with his own pain and demons, the loss of his wife.

Mr. Loya’s transition from bible verse spouting boy to manipulative, lying young man, to bank robber, to prisoner and finally, to writer is a journey into a life we rarely, if ever see or want to see. It is a beautifully written and detailed account of his life.

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