Saturday 22 January 2011

Book Review - Inside

Title: Inside
Author: J.A. Jarman
Publisher: Andersen 
ISBN-13: 978-1842709771

Aged seventeen, Lee is inside for a crime he has
committed. And he soon finds out that prison is not the holiday camp he's heard about. Warned to 'play by the rules' he has to decide whose rules - the screws' or the other cons'. 

Life in a Young Offenders Institution is about survival. But the real struggle is inside Lee himself. Is he destined to be a 'career con' or can he choose to change his life?

My Review
This was another book I had to read for Book Day at work, and I must admit it is not my sort of thing and i wasn't looking forward to it. Lee is sent to a Young Offenders Institute after being charged with theft and assault, he soon learns that it won't be easy in there. There are so many rules both from the 'screws' (Officers) and the 'Cons' (fellow inmates). There are gangs, fights, arguments, rules, lying and loneliness. Lee realises he has to keep himself out of the spotlight if he wants to survive and maybe shorten his sentence, but trouble seems to have a way of finding him.
I must say this book was well written and was very believable, the setting seemed so realistic, and was obviously very well researched.
Although Lee has committed some serious crimes, you still feel sorry for him, you can tell he is trying to make an effort and really regrets his actions, but with the pressure of other cons, he can't show a soft side. As i was reading this, i kept hoping Lee would catch a break, would get moved to another place, someone would see him for who he really is, but of course he didn't, just like real life, no one ever catches a break.
I hated Lee's mum in this book, she totally abandons him, and yes, he hasn't been the ideal child and he has caused her pain, but i hated how quickly she turned her back on him, i suppose a lot of Young offenders go through this, and a lot of parents have to turn away because they can't cope with it anymore, but it was still hard to read. It makes me appreciate all i have.
The book was fairly short and the plot flowed well, there was a variety of characters which helped bring it to life and  overall i enjoyed the book a lot more than i thought i would.
I think it is supposed to be aimed more at boys, as it is told from a teenage boys point of view, and i think that is why the author has decided to publish it as J.A Jarman, instead of Julia Jarman, as boys are more likely to pick it up if they think it is written by a man.  And it works in a way, as whilst reading, it makes it feel like Lee is really talking to you.

My Rating
I would give this book 7.5/10. Worth a read.  

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