Review: Walls, Wires, Bars and Souls

I chose to read Peter Grant’s memoirs of his life as a prison chaplain even knowing it would be a difficult topic to read. I was right, on one level, and on another it is easier than I had ever expected.

His experiences, while set within the most starkly terrifying walls any of us can imagine, are leavened with his dry humor and skillful writing. I found it a smooth read, organized to keep a reader’s interest without becoming dry as dust. The prisoners are drawn with an empathetic hand, no matter how inhuman their behavior is.

I may use this as research material at some point in the future, as it is richly detailed, giving enough description to really imagine oneself in the prisons, walking alongside Peter at his tasks. it’s a whole different world, one Hollywood frequently gets wrong, and this book is a window into the forgotten realm, one that may disgust you and disturb you, but it exists and we need to be aware of it, and the people locked within it.