4 out of 4 stars
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Life on the inside was tough for Kyle Sherrod; he spent fifteen years in prison for house burglary. He managed a stealthy escape only to be arrested and brought back to serve the remainder of his sentence—and then some. While being incarcerated was difficult, nothing would prove to be as difficult as life on the outside. The freedom that came along with the completion of his sentence didn't feel like freedom at all. Despite his willingness to work hard and be an upstanding citizen, society didn't make things easy for a convicted felon. Struggling to find a suitable dwelling and decent paying job wasn't just challenging, it was impossible. Would Kyle be able to live the life he so desperately dreamed of, or would the harsh realities of reintegration lead him back to a life of crime?
No Second Chances by C. Kyle Sherrod is a non-fiction book about the author's fifteen-year stint in prison and his fight to regain a sense of normalcy once he completed his sentence. The author, who goes by Kyle in the book, was admirably transparent about his whole experience. From prison fights to being caught in a high-stress police chase, the author candidly shared every detail.
My favorite part of the book was Kyle's drive to persevere and plow through the obstacles that he seemed to be perpetually faced with. He dealt with a great deal of agony when having to sign over his parental rights for his daughter, Victoria, while he was incarcerated. Kyle could have fallen apart completely, but he was adamant that despite this dreadful outcome, one day, he would have a relationship with her. He also faced immense hardship while trying to obtain employment; he kept having doors slammed in his face. Still, he showed tenacity and resilience by refusing to give up.
Another aspect that I enjoyed was Kyle's ability to use humor in hard times. It was apparent that while incarcerated, he tried to make the best of things and wasn't afraid to joke around with the correctional officers, who didn't always share the sentiment. I think this proved to be an excellent coping mechanism for him.
I commend the author for writing this book in attempts to expose the injustices imposed upon him. It is heartbreaking to see how the justice system is supposed to be designed to rehabilitate and reintegrate criminals, but it is often not what it seems. There needs to be more programming put into place to help convicted felons smoothly transition back into society.
While the book had a few minor errors, they were not exhaustive and did not hinder my reading experience. No Second Chances was incredibly engaging and professionally edited; it held my full attention from beginning to end. With that being said, I have no reservations about giving it a rating of four out of four stars.
Due to violence and colorful language, I would not recommend this book to younger readers. For those put off by prison stories, I would skip this one as the author gives a real account of what life is like behind bars. On the contrary, if you are a fan of character-driven books that emphasize growth and the power of positive thinking, you don't want to miss out on this one!
No Second Chances
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