Many years ago I visited a state prison for men in Illinois. My first time ever, in a prison, doing research for one of my plays. I was there to see a confessed murderer, Bill, and was writing his story. (Cook County Justice) I sat in the reception area, very nervous and scared; much like Kitty in the beginning of this story.
I was deeply moved by the nameless women around me who had come to visit their men. One woman told me that she was visiting her son and had been coming once a month and every holiday for thirteen years. During another time in her life she had faithfully visited her husband for fifteen years while he served out his time. Many of the children I saw had spent their growing up years in a visiting room behind bars.
The entry process that I write about [and went through] is accurate in this story. Most notable about the visiting room was the frustration, anger and fear, thick in the air. In the visiting room, the rage and disappointment emanating from inmates was palatable.
There seemed to be two types of prisoners; ones like Bill who kept their heads down, caused no waves, and spoke in a monotone. Or the other type who were aggressive, ‘in your face’ bullies and troublemakers. Always running a hustle. As I sat there interviewing Bill, I was struck on a visceral level about how these women coped year after year. How did they come to be here? Was it a simple matter of choosing the wrong men? Did they grow up with the same dreams most women have about living with a good husband and raising wonderful children? As I sat there, I wondered: where did it all go so terribly wrong?
Praise for Trisha Sugarek
Women Outside the Walls~~ ‘Step inside the sisterhood of the women with men behind bars. These women all come together in the waiting room and then visitor’s room at the prison while waiting to visit their men. They all have one thing in common and that’s the fact that they love their men. This is an honest book, which means that it’s not always a happy book. It will touch your heart in ways that you wouldn’t expect and is a book well worth spending the time to read. You’ll come away with a new respect for women in this situation and a bit more understanding of why they continue supporting the men they love, no matter what.’ ~~ Fresh Fiction
‘Love can see people through the roughest times. This novel, Women Outside the Walls, from Trisha Sugarek takes the reader along as she explores the nature of women outside the prison walls who are trying to get by as their men are serving time. Finding an unusual friendship through their tough time, more plight comes their way and challenges what they have left as independent women as one of their daughters goes missing. Women Outside the Walls carries a positive message, and shouldn’t be overlooked, very much recommended.’ ~ Midwest Book Review
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