Interesting look into the system
Prison Diary is, by far, one of the most interesting books I have ever read. While some believe that Archer is egocentric (he does talk about himself quite a bit), I believe this adds importance to the story. Archer was part of the political system, yet he had no idea how horribly the prisons were run. He is now experiencing day to day life in the highest security prison in England. For a first-time offender, that has to be extremely overwhelming! He may complain about his conditions and the ordeals of his daily life, but wouldn't you if you were given a four year sentence for something that should have only gotten community service? His stories of the drug dealings, the prisoners inside the "lifers" wing, and the problems the guards face bring a new insight into prison life. Because Archer was not the "typical" con, everyone felt as if they could talk to him, thus, making this a well-rounded novel on the system. Overall, this is a well-written novel sure to shake things up a bit.
A Prison Diary
What a shock to the system,but what a good read this was as well.To go from the very top to the bottom in one easy lesson!
An Excellent Insight into Britains A-Cat Prisons
I actually originally read Volume III Heaven before finding a copy of Volume I Hell and have to say I think Heaven was a lot higher in quality than this book. Heaven is also a lot thicker with a lot more pages. In Volume I Archer shows more of himself through his writing than in the final volume which to be honest makes him a little bit less likeable and harder to relate to. In Heaven you assume he is an average guy (I mean you know he is a rich author and politician) but in Hell he portrays his upper class upbringing and lifestyle and comes across rather snobby at times when talking about his fellow inmates backgrounds or describing his conditions. He will only drink bottled water, can't eat the everyday prison food served at meal times even though there's a menu of three alternatives, had never even heard of let alone eaten Coco Pops (these as the same as Coco Puffs for North Americans) before getting them in a multipack of cereal, and in his opinion they weren't as good as Cornflakes. How he was amazed that drugs can get smuggled in obviously means he had never watched normal TV before in his life.
I found that the empathy I had for Archer in Volume III Heaven I just did not have reading Volume I Hell. Surely he also got some of his friends into trouble and a loss of their privileges or another 28 days added onto their sentences by revealing stuff like one of them who worked in the canteen stole him a bottle of water and passed it through the wire. Even if he uses fake names it is not going to be that hard for prison authorities to work out who it was from the dates in his diary. I'm glad he also got rid of the cricket score updates by the trilogy finale as these were pretty boring.
Saying all that though I still found the first volume of the Prison Diaries an entertaining read and an insightful look into the Class A prisons of Britain which I imagine would have many similarities to ones in Australia, North America and elsewhere. I'm just glad that he improved the diaries by the third volume and I will definitely be checking out Volume II Purgatory.
A prison diary
Incredible writing, totally expected of Jeffrey Archer.
He brings his artisary in fiction into this non-fiction giving you great insight in the lives of prisoners who we all love to think of as bad guys.
At the end of the book, the inmates are no longer bad guys but regular people who just want to get by with their lives living it as best as they can.
A definite must read for all lovers of a good book.
Absolute drivel, poorly written by an angry ego driven con. The only thing that does come out of this is the state of our prison system, Kudos to our Lordship for at least using his celebratory status to raise this issue. However, come on, if you are going to write about being in prison at least let us know that you were scared to death. He never really talks about what was running through his mind all those hours in lock up. If any of these men, including Fletch, had sat next to him at the theatre he would have called security.