2 out of 4 stars
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Breaking Shackles; the Story of a Lowly Dishwasher by Jerry Ready is a recount of the author’s time in jail. When Jerry was twenty years old, he got in serious legal trouble and bagged eleven years of jail time. When he got in, he was a naive young man and was regularly taken advantage of. Jail is a life-changing experience, and it was the same for Jerry. He had to get tougher and stronger to be able to demand respect. From scheming to back-stabbing and stealing, there is a lot to living in prison. Read Breaking Shackles; the Story of a Lowly Dishwasher to discover how jail time transformed Jerry Ready from a gullible boy to a hardened man.
Jerry’s story was interesting to read and was full of drama; it was like a TV series of continuous drama. Aside from the entertainment, I cannot say that I got anything of substance from reading this book. I found the title and book description misleading. From the title, I thought that the author would reveal how he turned his fortune around. I expected that he would tell his story introspectively, but he merely narrated the incidents, with little insight on how he deeply felt and how prison time affected him.
The author’s lack of introspection did not allow me to make a personal connection with him or his circumstances. For instance, when he was narrating how he used to be physically abusive to the mother of his child, Crissy, he would just breeze through the narration like abuse was a normal thing to do. When he would be abused by people in Bethany Creek, he would only just describe the events and not put any effort to make the reader connect to his experiences. I, for one, did not like any action the author took. And without any emotional explanations for his actions, I felt like I could not even like his character.
Another thing I could not understand was the ending. For a memoir, one would expect a more cohesive, wholesome conclusion, but what the author provided, instead, was abrupt; this might be understandable since the author intended for Breaking Shackles to be a series, and this book is the first in the series. But I still thought that the ending could have been much better. There is violence, profanity, and homosexual content. Readers who are sensitive to such content will not be entertained by the author’s story.
The subpar editing further decreased my enjoyment of the book. I found a lot of errors, so I did not think that the book received professional editing. I have decided to rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. I did not rate it lower because, despite the negatives, I still found the author’s experiences interesting. I could not give the book a higher rating because of all the problems I explained earlier. I would only recommend this book to readers who are entertained by real stories of prison experiences. If you are looking for inspiration, I do not think that you will find it here.
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