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The Love Prison Made and Unmade: My Story

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  29 reviews
With echoes of Just Mercy and An American Marriage, a remarkable memoir of a woman who falls in love with an incarcerated man—a poignant story of hope and disappointment that lays bare the toll prison takes not only on those behind bars, but on their families and relationships.

Ebony’s parents were high school sweethearts and married young. By the time Ebony was born, the
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Amistad
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars...processing my thoughts..full review coming. Thank you for sharing your truth Ebony.

Update July 23, 2019

It took me some time to sit with and process my thoughts on this book. As I previously noted, I so appreciate Ebony’s willingness to be transparent and vulnerable with the reader and trusting us with her truth. For this reason, I hope all are careful and thoughtful with it.

I have mentioned in other forums that when I read Writing My Wrongs by Shaka Senghor, Ebony stuck with me, I
Susan Peters
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
"The Love Prison Made and Unmade" covers uncharted territory. I am grateful that Ebony Roberts shared her story both the fairytale and the sobering reality. I have followed the work of Shaka Senghor the author of the memoir "Writing My Wrongs." Shaka spent nearly two decades in prison and post release rose to gain national attention from the NY times bestselling memoir, appearances on Oprah Winfrey's Super Soul Sunday and his TED talk and subsequent work on prison reform. Ebony, who fell in love ...more
Jeri Ross
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bravo Ebony! Thank you for being transparent, real and involving me, the reader, in your intimate story. I had a father in prison for 33 years who died in custody last year. I related so very much to those prison visits, the ups and downs of the criminal system, and the loss of being able to do things with my father outside of that noisy visiting room. We need more stories like yours to shine a light on the realities of relationships with incarcerated loved ones. My heart went out to you during ...more
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent memoir. Beautiful cover. My book club and I had the pleasure of hearing the author speak at the NBCC. After hearing her story and reading the synopsis, we were eager to read The Love Prison Made and Unmade. Ebony Roberts did a great job of highlighting the story between her and Shaka - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Including the letters was a nice personal touch and gave great insight into each personally, and the relationship they created. I would have given this five stars, but I ...more
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Roberts is both a thorough investigative researcher and a hopeless romantic. Throughout my read I wondered which will win, the intellect or the heart? It seems in the end they compromised. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I’ve literally walked and driven the roads she described. And lived in battle with my intellect and my heart. I am so grateful that Roberts was courageous enough to tell her story and in that share a truth so many of us struggle against...when you choose you, you win. Thank you.
Anne G
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wish I could pick 4.5 stars. I had a difficult time putting this book down.
Ashley Cobb
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My first time journeying into the world of love, prison and release (in many ways) was amazingly insightful. There were so many points in this book when I had to remind myself it was a true story. Every ache and pain, every smile and dream, were all real. This book was intense, leaving me feeling like I was a third wheel with a first person account of the hard road travelled.

“Whenever your relationship is not working, whenever it brings out the madness in you and your partner, be glad. What was
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm smiling after reading this. Full disclosure: I went to middle school and high school with Ebony and been following her social media posts while she was working on this memoir. The end result is fantastic. How many of us are really able to open up our lives not just to strangers but to people who know us, or at least some version of us? This is a story about love. Love of family, community, justice, and love of self. Heartbreaking and reassuring at the same time.
Ava Dezara
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I have never heard of this author nor the man she loved. I purchased this book because like Ms. Ebony, This was my story only difference is my man and I share a history before his incarceration. Her story is REAL to me even speaking about her parents relationship. This story was amazing and I really was rooting for Ebony and Shaka. I understand that some people come in our life for a reason,season, or a lifetime, we just have to know the difference. I rode for my LOVE for 7 years
Sean Kottke
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, michigan-books
This is a great afterword to Stamped From the Beginning, as it lays out a personal story of critical race consciousness raising and an understanding of the complexities of gender racism. A colleague recommended it as an exploration of the question "why do fools fall in love?" but I think that's a misread. These are not fools; Ebony and Shaka are very strong, woke people who struggle to make the personal overcome the sociopolitical. If ever a book begged for an epilogue, it's this one. The ...more
Lindor Joelle
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I purchased Shaka Senghor's book a few years ago (haven't read it yet), but I was interested in reading Ms. Roberts's perspective on events.

I found the story to be relatable in many ways and that's probably what I enjoyed the most. I did find the story to be a bit predictable unfortunately (no spoiler alerts since the title of the memoir is pretty clear).

The biggest lesson/takeaway is that life is all about choices. No matter what you feel about a person or situation, never let your feelings
Nov 20, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this story. I couldn't stop listening to the audio book. I want to thank the author for sharing her story and her truth. I was sold on the cover of the book but it was such an intriguing story that I couldn't stop until I found out what happened. I appreciate her honesty and openness in this story. As much as I wanted a happy, perfect ending, I still want more. I hope she will write a sequel telling us where she went from here. Much praise for this strong woman!
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rhena Deshaun
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was an untold love story that relates and tugs the heartstrings of lovers, prison walls or not. The reality of love is unpredictable no matter how much time, emotions or effort is put into it. How awesome it is to see that this author left with more than heartbreak. A loving relationship that is focused on the care of her legacy “their son”. Continued blessings to this author and her work.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I can see how this can happen. I can understand how they must have felt. Two people with tough childhoods connected. None of the story was surprising, and i would assume that they did better than most.
La'Nita Necole
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There’s no words to describe all Ebony sacrificed and endured without limits. This memoir was thought provoking and empowering. Many of us has or have had love ones in the prison system and can relate on some level to her story and struggles.
Michelle Kimbrough
I liked Ebony’s happy ever after!

Great read! Struggled through the letters because there were so many. Overall, this book took you through the struggle Ebony had with her insecurities. She finally was true to herself.

Kolleen Daniels
Great book!
Katie Oliver
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book. However, I thought writer was too explicit in writing about her sexual encounters with her husband.
Ruby Banks
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting love story of patience and Cinderella fantasy. Thank you for sharing your story.
eugenia benn
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good book

This book was a good book and I enjoyed it tremendously.I would recommend this book to others to read and enjoy.
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was so good. Everyone should read this book to help them understand other people's stories and why they do what they do.
Thank you for sharing your story Ebony.
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully written!
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the most intimate book i've ever read.
Curiosity drove me to this book, particularly after reading the author's former partner, Shaka Senghor's book "Writing My Wrongs." From Senghor, we learn the story of a troubled young Black man growing up in inner city Detroit in the 1980's, eventually becoming a drug dealer to earn a living. At barely 19 years old, he turns to violence and ends up on the criminal end of a murder case. For his crime, Senghor earns himself a lengthy prison sentence. While on the inside, he begins to correspond ...more
Ebony EyeCU Evans
“Sometimes love just can’t be explained.”

First let me start by saying...BIG UPS to Ebony Roberts for courageously baring her truth. In “The Love Prison Made and Unmade” Ebony takes us on a visually captivating and authentic journey of love and forgiveness. Learning her back-story and reading Shaka’s letters helped me to understand why she made some of the decisions that she did. Through all of life’s pain, trauma, love and self-discovery, we often repeat the cycles of our upbringing before we
Vi Louise
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audio version which was amazing. The reader sucked me in from the first couple sentences. I fell in love with Ebony as a young child and was impressed with her young person’s story.

I was with her throughout her entire journey and
rated it really liked it
Aug 20, 2019
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Ebony Roberts is a writer, researcher and activist who has worked in the food justice and prison abolition movements for nearly twenty years. She has taught at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan and recently served as program director for #BeyondPrisons, an organization designed to uplift the voices of those impacted by the criminal justice system. She received her BA in ...more
“In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle says that “whenever your relationship is not working, whenever it brings out the ‘madness’ in you and in your partner, be glad. What was unconscious is being brought up to the light,” and it is in the light that I saw my childhood” 0 likes
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