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I'll Fly Away: Further Testimonies from the Women of York Prison

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  2,238 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
For several years, Wally Lamb, the author of two of the most beloved novels of our time, has run a writing workshop at the York Correctional Institution, Connecticut's only maximum-security prison for women. Writing, Lamb discovered, was a way for these women to face their fears and failures and begin to imagine better lives. Couldn't Keep It to Myself, a collection of the ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 21st 2008 by Harper Perennial (first published September 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sarah
Sep 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Several years ago, I read "Couldn't Keep It To Myself", the first collection of stories from Wally Lamb and the women of York Correctional Institution. I absolutely loved the book and my copy quickly became tattered as friend after friend read the book and shared my sense of awe. When I heard that a second compilation was being released, I couldn't wait to read it.

Like its predecessor, this book is a collection of stories written by a group of women who are part of a prison writing workshop led
...more
Esther Bradley-detally
I value Wally Lamb as a writer, but also he has contributed so much to women in the prison system, and I'm sure received much satisfaction. I teach homeless women and women in transition writing. I am drawn to the anonymous amongst us as they reveal a true nobility.

I'll Fly Way, further testimonies from the Women of York Prison fits into that category. I write to someone in Chowchilla, and do things in a small way to help her. She was battered, but is not under that status; lawyers are working o
...more
Tamsen
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, short-stories
I would have given this three stars, if I had realized that a bio about each of the authors was at the very end.

My main gripe with this collection (I gave "Couldn't Keep It to Myself" 5 stars - just for your reference) was the fact that the stories blurred together. I loved in CKITM that prior to each short story, there was a picture of the inmate, with, I believe, their name and reason for being incarcerated.

In this collection, I went from short story to short story - they blurred in their sa
...more
Terry
Sep 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Essentially seems like a sequel to Couldn't Keep It to Myself; in fact I sort of felt like I was coming into a party already in progress, where the cliques have already formed and everyone already knows everyone else. I don't really mean that in a snarky way; but I do wish I had read Couldn't Keep It to Myself as this book seems aimed at people who have read that first. At the risk of sounding really heartless, I don't really know what the point of this book is, especially for readers who are un ...more
Katie
Jun 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book--I feel like if you kill your abusive husband after he molests your grandchild you shouldn't get a 25 year sentence.
Mkittysamom
I'll fly away is something I've secretly said to myself, throughout my life. Also I've read Piper's book and watched "Orange is the New Black", so those are my determining factors when I picked up this book. I wondered about my friends in jail, and how I managed to escape the Law...

Wally Lamb is not just an editor, he teaches the women in NY prison how to write. I was really impressed to read about his contributions! These women worked hard, it shows when you read what they wrote. I read throug
...more
Jolene
Mar 15, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Wally Lamb is one of my favourite authors and I have always been interested in his work with inmates at York Correctional Institute. The writings of these women are healing, disturbing, interesting, and a reminder that we all have a story to tell.
Theresa Perfetto
Jan 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other
A compilation of short true stories from women in prison. It was ok. Felt like Mr. Lamb was helping these women learn to write their pain down while teaching them to write and published it.
Kim
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powerful vignettes from women in prison about glimpses of time in childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and prison. It changed some of my views and banished stereotypes.
Victor Carson
Wally Lamb is one of my favorite authors. I also admire his work teaching creative writing at York Correctional Prison for Women in Niantic, Connecticut. The talent he uncovers and the lives he rescues from oblivion renews my faith in the strength of human character. This selection of essays, poetry, and memoirs reveals self-awareness and clarity of expression - and a lot of effort on the part of both the individual contributors and Wally Lamb.
Mary gillespie
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
yet again amazing.....
Valerie Doherty
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A weary looking male traveler scanned the room in a Denver airport restaurant, looking for a vacant seat. His right shoulder screamed for mercy under the weight of an overstuffed carry-on bag. He collapsed on a counter stool with a relieved sigh.

"Your shoulder appears to be headed for potential trouble with that bag," I said.

" I should know better than to carry all the weight. I'm an orthopedic surgeon."

"Heal thyself, doctor."

He shrugged and smiled as he surveyed the room. The conversation
...more
Erin Jooss
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just as good as Couldn't Keep It To Myself.
Susan
While I love the Wally Lamb novels I've read, this book is in a whole different ballpark. It is a collection of writings of women incarcerated or facilitating in a Connecticut prison.

Of course, some of the stories are better written than others. Some are very touching, and I feel for the people. Do I believe everything? Well, I can't say that I definitely believe all of it. Felons are not known for complete truthfulness, so while I took most stories at face value, there were some that caused me
...more
Stacy Cook
I really enjoyed this second book of testimonies from the women of York CI. Many talked of what brought them to jail; their crimes, some talked of their often tragic upbringings and others spoke of jail life itself. The stories were all engaging.
Two downsides to me. One is minor and is just a personal preference. I am not a fan of poetry. (Sorry all you poetry lovers out there.) There was a fair amount of it in this book that was not found in the first book and because I don't enjoy it I can'
...more
Jennifer
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this collection of short stories by the women of York Prison. Wally Lamb, author of She's come Undone and I know this much is true is one of my favourite American fiction authors. He decided to work with the women of York Prison to help them deal with the reality of incarceration and to somewhat provide an outlet for their circumstances. The short stories are very true and heartbreaking and full of passion. It's hard to believe that these women have not been writing for years. T ...more
Jess Lynn
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book! Although I wish I had read the first novel of stories from the women that Lamb worked with first, I still had a great time reading this one.

I'll Fly Away is a collection of vignettes and stories from female inmates. They touch on a variety of topics from childhood and memories to life in prison. It gave humanity back to the residents of the jail, something that incarceration tends to take away.

When I was a student in college, I was blessed to take a class within a jai
...more
Louise
Mar 20, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
From back cover:

"In 2003, Wally Lamb-the author of two of the most beloved novels of our time, 'She's Come Undone' and 'I Know This Much Is True' - published 'Couldn't Keep It To Myself', a collection of essays by the students in his writing workshop at the maximum security York Correctional Institution, Connecticut's only prison for women. Writing, Lamb discovered, was a way for these women to confront painful memories, face their fears and their failures, and begin to imagine better lives. The
...more
J
(FROM JACKET)In 2003 Wally Lamb-the author of two of the most beloved novels of our time, "She's Come Undone" and "I Know This Much Is True"-published "Couldn't Keep It to Myself", a collection of essays by the students in his writing workshop at the maximum-security York Correctional Institution, Connecticut's only prison for women. Writing, Lamb discovered, was a way for these women to confront painful memories, face their fears and their failures, and begin to imagine better lives. The New Yo ...more
Ari
Oct 07, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved Couldn't Keep It To Myself and I love the mission of rehabilitation and self expression that founds this set of books; however, I'll Fly Away fell a little flat for me. That being said, it was still powerful, empowering, and important. My biggest critique, though, was the formatting. Couldn't Keep It To Myself was set up so there were photographs with quick blurbs of who the woman was before heading into her narrative. While I'll Fly Away may be making a point of it not mattering what cr ...more
Amber
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This may be too graphic for some. Parts of it were for me. The women at York Correctional Facility write about their lives, their crimes, and life in prison. The stories are all their own, and some are very raw. I didn't feel a real flow to how the essays were put in order, and some of them just felt like I didn't have enough information about the author to know what was happening or who was writing it--some pieces were written by other instructors, which confused me. But one essay in particular ...more
Kate
Much like "Couldn't Keep It To Myself," this book really sheds light on the harsh life that prisoners face, both before and after incarceration. Most of these women come from backgrounds involving abuse, molestation, and poverty. In fact, in one section, all of the essays are about dolls, both real (i.e. Cabbage Patch) and figurative (the women themselves to the men in their lives). Don't read that section before bed.

That being said, there are also stories about stories of love and friendship, a
...more
Cindy
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a collection of short stories and poems based written by and based on the lives of a writing group of women prisoners of York Prison, a group founded and mentored by Wally Lamb. Unfortunately, not until I got to the end of the book did I find the short biographical sketches of the women...that would be better placed at the beginning so the reader could connect the story to the woman's life. There was, however, a photo of most of the women on the back cover so I referred to that. Some, m ...more
Christie Bane
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe it's because I just finished S3 of Orange is the New Black (not as good as the first two... anyone else agree?), but I am all about reading about the prison experience. This book is a collection of writings from women who are incarcerated at a women's prison in Connecticut. Some are essays, some (thankfully few) are poetry, all are well-edited. This book makes it clear just how varied are the backgrounds of the women who end up in prison. Some are highly educated former businesspeople and ...more
Renee
Oct 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wally Lamb has run a writing workshop at the York Correctional Institution, Connecticut's only maximum-security prison for women for many years and ’I’ll Fly Away” is a follow up to his first book “Couldn’t keep it to myself”.

When I read Couldn't Keep It to Myself, (a collection of inmates essays), I was thoroughly moved by the tragedies these woman lived through and the inner strength it took to put their stories into words. “I’ll Fly Away” felt like a watered-down version of these stories. If
...more
Kelly
Oct 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little choppy but very interesting. The most interesting part was reading some of the tales that seemed to be sweet childhood memories, then look at the photos of the authors and think, "Ok, yeah, that matches," THEN reading that they are serving life sentence for felony murder.....WHAT!!?!?!?

Lamb both shows and tells that, at least at the prison where he volunteers, there is very little rehabilitation possible. And it is interesting to read this after reading his novel set partly in a prison,
...more
Erinn
Jun 08, 2009 rated it liked it
After reading Couldn't Keep It To Myself and LOVING it, I knew that I had to read the sequel. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. What I expected was more of what the first book had... intimate stories of lives destroyed by family, friends, drugs and desire, which ultimately lead the imprisoned to commit the crimes that landed them where they are today. On the contrary, I'll Fly Away was less focused and it seemed as if Wally Lamb published any story that the women wanted him to. Sadly, I was not ...more
Robin
Dec 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book was interesting because many of the women's stories take place in Connecticut at the time I lived there. While reading this there were a few times I realized I should probably have been incarcerated at one time or another.... but seriously-- All of their stories are somehow relatable....and even though many of them were in prison for violent crimes- I still felt like they were just regular women who had in most cases been abused by husbands, boyfriends and family members who ev ...more
Emily
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
While I loved Couldn't Keep It to Myself, the first collection of essays by the women of York Prison, this book wasn't able to strike the same chord with me. The first collection was deeply moving and provided a window into prison life, often focusing on the tragic events and circumstances that shaped these incarcerated women's lives. While still a good read, nothing in this book was nearly as emotionally stirring, poignant, or memorable as the essays in the first collection. I also wish they ha ...more
Jill Burgess
Apr 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a slow start with this book, didn't seem to compare to "Couldn't Keep It To Myself". I'm happy to say I stuck with it. As I read these stories I thought back to my own troubled times, whether it was being abused as a child, being in an abusive relationship, or abusing drugs and alcohol, so many of us have been there and I can see where at times it could have gone horribly wrong and I could have found myself in prison. Shit happens. I am thankful to be where I am now, with my husband and ch ...more
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Wally Lamb is the author of She's Come Undone, The Hour I First Believed, and I Know This Much Is True. Two were featured as selections of Oprah's Book Club. Lamb is the recipient of the Connecticut Center for the Book's Lifetime Achievement Award, the Connecticut Bar Association's Distinguished Public Service Award, the Connecticut Governor's Art Award, the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers ...more
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“A fiction writer weaves a fabric of lies in hopes of revealing deeper human truths.” 8 likes
“Don’t write stories for teenagers or any other group,” she advised. “Write them for yourself and let the audience that needs them find them.” 0 likes
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