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The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell: Confessions of a Bank Robber
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The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell: Confessions of a Bank Robber

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  56 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Joe Loya's idyllic childhood came to an abrupt end when his mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness. In the two years before her death, Joe's extremely religious father became increasingly violent toward his two young sons-a contradiction that haunted Joe for years. Then, at age sixteen, Joe retaliated during a particularly severe beating and stabbed his father in the ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 18th 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published September 1st 2004)
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Margaret Wappler
May 16, 2008 Margaret Wappler rated it liked it
I met Joe Loya on a recent trip to Oakland / Napa. He is neighbors with one of my oldest friends, Rebecca, who now has an adorable baby named Elijah. Joe came over with his daughter, Maddie, a toddler in pink converse who can't sleep without her stuffed bunny. I followed Joe to his garage and he gave me his memoir -- it's about his crazy youth as a Christian turned bank robber. Seriously. The guy held up dozens and dozens of banks in Southern California. He also served 8 years in prison, a coupl ...more
Sara
Jul 13, 2009 Sara rated it really liked it
I heard this author on NPR over a year ago, maybe two, and had a note pinned to my bulletin board to remind me to read this book. First, I really like that as an autobiography, it is written as a story. It is a little chopped at the end, but I guess that's what happens when someone brings you to the present. I most appreciated his self-awareness, his keen observation of the culture and socio-economic identities that surrounded him (I am about the same age and grew up in an area not to far away), ...more
James Warner
Dec 14, 2013 James Warner rated it it was amazing
The memoir of a victimized youth who goes on a crime spree, pays his debt to society, and emerges rehabilitated -- a man who understands his demons in order to tame them. Loya is very good at perceiving people's vulnerabilities, a power he formerly used for evil, but eventually learns can also be put to other uses, such as being a writer! Another impression you get from this book is that banks were easier to rob in the 1980s than they probably are now... it's amazing to read about Loya deciding ...more
Dale
Sep 18, 2009 Dale rated it really liked it
Shelves: prison, memoir, california
Really great writing. It's quite a long journey that the writer takes you on, through his family's history, his childhood, then into crime and prison, then slowly, gradually figuring out whether and how to change the course of his life.
It's got a few similarities with the last book I read about prison (Alexander Berkman's memoir) - mostly in the depth of degradation that prisoner's experience, just how violent prison is and how damaging it can be to the prisoners' health and spirit. Plus intere
...more
Patricia
Oct 18, 2014 Patricia rated it it was amazing
I met Joe about five years ago, well into his renewed life as an author, father and truly transformed man. His story blew me away. It all made sense to me why he did what he did and has become the person he is now. He is amazingly intelligent, clever, witty, with an underlying sensitivity and vulnerability.

This book is a grab-you-by-the-heart engrossing, exciting, touching and terrifying. He's a good writer/story teller. Highly recommend you read it.
Jeremy Preacher
Oct 23, 2010 Jeremy Preacher rated it liked it
Shelves: autobiography
I don't think I'd want to be alone in a room with this guy, but he tells a good yarn. It's evidence towards the proposition that simultaneously beating the living shit out of your kids and believing they're chosen by God to do something special is not going to end how you expect.
Marisa
Oct 28, 2008 Marisa rated it it was amazing
Joe Loya is writing the foreword to the 826 Valencia/Mission High Young Authors' Book Project. He is a sincere inspirational man and his presence during this project an honor.



Ruth
Jul 04, 2007 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Criminal finds redemption through writing. A wild ride...is it all true? A Million Little Pieces has ruined memoirs for me.
michelle
Sep 26, 2008 michelle rated it it was ok
I just saw the author in a documentary called The Protagonist and was very impressed by his frankness, intelligence and insight.
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“This memoir is one of the most brutally honest books I’ve ever read. You will grow to believe, and cheer on, this flawed hero as he gains a liberating knowledge of himself.” 3 likes
“It ain't no fun when the rabbit's got the gun” 1 likes
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