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Mother California: A Story of Redemption Behind Bars
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Mother California: A Story of Redemption Behind Bars

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  63 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Thirty years ago, when Kenneth Hartman was nineteen, he murdered a homeless man in a Los Angeles park. Sentenced to life without parole, Hartman gradually evolved into a devoted husband, father, and prison reform activist. Mother California offers definite proof that there is no such thing as a life beyond redemption.
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Published September 27th 2010 by Atlas (first published October 5th 2009)
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Prison memoirs are not my thing, but Kenneth Hartman's slim but potent life story takes you out of your day to day life and places you directly in his shoes. Not only is it a fascinating glimpse of life as a prisoner for life without parole, but it's also a hopeful book. Despite everything, Hartman wishes for a better life and strives to be happy and find peace. One finishes the book with a radically different perspective on the American prison system.
Can one mistake...or choice...ruin your life as you know it? Yes. Is it possible to change even though there will be very ,limited reward in the end? Yes. Mr. Hartman is a prime example. Give him a chance and read his story.
There is no way an outsider can legitimately judge the writings of someone condemned to life in prison, without being judged in turn. For most people, the act of murder automatically excludes a person from any consideration as a human being. The only appropriate response to murder is to shut the killer away, deprive them of their identity as human, and ignore their suffering. Above all, it isn't necessary to believe that they may have, through suffering, become a different person and look back o ...more
A true story about Kenneth Hartman who is in a California Prison for murder. It has been 30 years and this book was written in 2009. He writes About how he got there, how he met his wife, married and had a daughter all while in prison. A story of true redemption but the failure of our system to allow any eligibility to parole. He started the Honor Program and continues to this day to try and change the prison system from the inside.
This is a powerful prison memoir and is quite skillfully written. This book lets you into the life of a prisoner convicted for life without parole and offers a glimpse of the American prison system. As we progress into this book, we notice, quite subtly, the shift in Hartman's tone from an angry, drug-addicted young boy to a clean, responsible adult, who learns to love, care, long, and be more human-like.

It's a great book, it just wasn't gripping for me, hence 3/5.
Jennifer Johnston
A book I would never have picked up, but it was recommended by an independent book store owner - The author is in California prison for life without parole. It is a very interesting story about who he was then and who he is now and how redemption comes in the most unexpected ways. Also, it provides interesting insight into the prison system. Short read and extremely well-written.
Powerful memoir; really well written.
one of my top 20 favorite reads!
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