A Bit of a Stretch

Review From User :

Chris Atkins, a former film producer, including making films for Dispatches ( Ch4 ) is sentenced to 5 years for ( in simple terms ) a money/tax fraud, that although he didn't benefit from personally his company did and he was 'aware' of, he freely admits his crime and punishment

The book, is in diary form,pre trial, trial and the bulk of about his time in Wandsworth Prison, what he see's, hears, experiences and his many feelings about it all but this is no self pity party, quite the opposite in fact, it is an 'all in' look at his life 24/7 whilst there, bad, really bad and the worst and yes also the good

I found it honest, horrifying, emotive, it challenged me and my 'view' on prisons and prisoners, upsetting and at times hilarious ( I really did LOL quite a lot ) poignant and touching

The writing, as authors can do when writing in diary form, seems to be personal and as if written just for you and I felt I was there living this, often, nightmare with him

I liked that the chapters started with bullet points to whet your appetite about what was going to happen in the chapter and that throughout the book ( often serious ) points re Mental Health issues, staffing, re-offending etc were dealt with in factual ways ( so you got the authors experience then the facts to back that up ) but have to stress NOT in a clinical boring way but in a way to reach all readers and make you ponder and think ( often quite shocking factual information )

I enjoyed learning all the in's and out's of how prison life works and how prisoners adapt if they are to survive ( literally )

I loved the at times self effacing commentary and the way the author acknowledged he ( even in these circumstances ) was privileged and one of the reasons being he didn't have a drug problem as many do in prison

The book includes the quote ' he was so middle class he had a Waitrose tattoo' ( about a fellow prisoner ) which immediately goes into my favourite quotes

You can probably tell I loved this book, its a book you could say has 'affected' me and I could go on for a long time about it but suffice to say it was a wonderfully enlightening read and as perfect as a book can be

Please read it!

5 Stars

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