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I Don't Wish Nobody to Have a Life Like Mine: Tales of Kids in Adult Lockup
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I Don't Wish Nobody to Have a Life Like Mine: Tales of Kids in Adult Lockup

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A veteran teacher gives an “inside” view of the lives of juveniles sentenced as adults

David Chura taught high school in a New York county penitentiary for ten years—five days a week, seven hours a day. In these pages, he gives a face to a population regularly demonized and reduced to statistics by the mainstream media. Through language marked by both the grit of the
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Beacon Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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George Hamilton
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a non-fiction book, but many of David Chura’s stories about life on the inside of a detention centre for the juveniles that he taught there have a fictional quality. It’s funny in places, and in some, as lyrical as many of my favourite novels. We learn something of the drug addicted, alcoholic, and downright appalling parenting that led many of the young people down the murky path to a jail cell. The author points to the fact that many of the young people leave these institutions more ...more
Mar 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social-political
Through anecdotes/stories about prisoners, David Chura gives the reader an excellent look into the lives of teens and staff in adult prisons. What impressed me the most was that, while the title is Tales of Kids in Adult Lockup, Chura tries to tell the stories of both the teens and the staff who work at the prisons explaining to the reader in the introduction that all too often we believe there's a prisoners vs COs split or a good guys vs bad guys split, depending on who you think is a good guy ...more
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Good content, but poorly written. I would commend the author on not being holier than thou, but that’s not true of the main book; the forward was hard to read. I’d skim it.
Pros: I really like the way he includes himself and the COs as people who suffer in the system.

Great little vignettes about criminal life, a lot of great, first-hand observations. Details that make up the daily grind behind bars.

Some of these kids' stories are really touching. And the very real horror that they come from is so vast an evil... the book does a wonderful job of showing the absolute ineffectiveness of the prison system. Some of these kids are born to father's in prison, dither in
Martha Schwalbe
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a tough book to read, written by a teacher in a county penitentiary,several times I found myself thinking about former students who committed crimes and went to prison. I hope they found someone who encouraged them to read, to write, to earn their GEDs. The stories of prison were hard to take, the loss of space, the loss of individuality,the loss of who these young people were.

Several months ago I read a book called Stumbling toward Happiness about living in the moment and choosing to
David Mark
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Because of his years of experience teachings in prisons, Chura is able to paint a very clear picture of the inmates daily lives. You can easily picture each scenario as he lays them out without sparing any details. It was a very eye opening recounting of the conditions we provide for incarcerated minors. It was fascinating to get a broad perspective on various personalities of people through many age ranges. It was amazing to hear about the lives that these people had to deal with. It really ...more
A series of vignettes taken from the author's experiences working as a teacher for juveniles in an adult jail in New York. He takes the dialog down verbatim so expect to see plenty of F-words. Chura has a gift for capturing the personalities (both the kids and the prison staff) in just a couple of pages, and you wind up pitying all of them and wondering what could be done to fix the terrible mess that is the corrections system in America. I would recommend it with like books such as No Matter ...more
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: y-a
Non-fiction vignettes of ten years spent teaching incarcerated youth in a county facility in upstate New York. Chura does an amazing job of rendering both the comedy and tragedy in the daily existence of these young people. The writing compels the reader to keep going. It's poetic, flowing, dramatic, and infused with the drama of street language. The book is written as objectively as a self described "bleeding heart liberal" can manage. Chura does not attempt to solve the issues that result in ...more
Jun 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: yyay, nonfic
Every time David Chura uses a term like "shorties" in one of his narratives I could totally hear it said in a square white guy voice. Still, not many white guys can speak with such authority on the lives of young adults in adult prisons, and it was with great interest that I read through Chura's stories. Each chapter has sort of a theme or deals with one prisoner, so it's not a memoir, and I quite enjoyed the format.
Apr 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed-- something was missing for me in this book to make me read memoir-like books that document their careers dealing with people that others want to know more about (books about social workers, law enforcement, etc.).

I understand how he was detailing his situation through the lives that he came in contact with but it lacked something I just can't put my finger on.
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone who works with at-risk youths. The author speaks from experience, and his passion is palpable on every page. Real without being weepy, factual without being preachy, we need more like this one!
Oct 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Read the whole review!
The kids in this book are not lovable and some have committed terrible crimes. Yet the author does a superb job at demonstrating their humanity and protraying the terrible conditions of their upbringin. At times though, it is a bit cliche.
Jun 07, 2010 marked it as to-read
Shelves: youth, non_fiction
I Don't Wish Nobody To Have a Life Like Mine: Tales of Kids in Adult Lockup by David Chura (2010)
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
It could have been done better.
Oct 19, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read_and_review
So I thought this would be more like No Choirboy by Susan Kuklin, and I was disappointed that it's all from Chura's point of view. He's a good writer though.
Mar 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: nf
Sort of disjointed, didn't start to come to a point until we were several chapters in, and then the point was sort of lame. I enjoyed it because I have interest in this topic.
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction-read
Absolutely brilliant. Gripping, life-changing stuff here...
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David Chura has worked with at-risk teenagers for the past forty years. He has been a counselor in a community crisis center and in a psychiatric hospital, and a teacher in various alternative high school education programs. For ten years he taught high school kids locked up in a New York adult county prison. His creative nonfiction writing is often inspired by the people he's worked with and the ...more