A riveting account of an injured prison worker’s harrowing road to recovery.



In this memoir, a woman conquers a broken system that nearly crushed her.

Plante’s book could have been entitled Twenty Seconds Changed My Life Forever, which is how the young former prison worker depicts a horrific beating by an inmate that left her invisibly, yet indelibly, scarred. Few people under the age of 30 have experienced enough to write their life stories, but the attack and its aftermath eclipse what most folks may encounter if they live to be 100. Her vivid descriptions are in a gripping you-are-there style (The inmates “started walking themselves to their rooms. They, too, were all too familiar with the drill. Click, click, click, the doors locked behind them. Except that last door never clicked”). The engrossing work reflects the author’s courage and persistence in a recovery process so demoralizing that she contemplated suicide as she battled with traumatic brain injury, post-concussion syndrome, PTSD, and partial loss of vision and balance. From childhood, she had dreamed of working for a law enforcement agency. She was offered two positions with state prisons and chose the juvenile facility because she wanted to help misguided youth. One Saturday night while she was working in the high-risk male unit, an inmate, without warning, mercilessly pummeled her. A staff member paired to work with her stood behind the inmate, merely waving his arms. His inaction—and even more so, his indifference—struck a nerve in Plante and seemed to inspire the title of this illuminating book, as did her handoff from one medical provider to another. No one seemed interested in helping her until she was assigned to a case manager named Donna. Infuriated to discover that the proper diagnostic tests had never been ordered, Donna forced the issue. A surgeon finally made the correct diagnosis and relieved the author’s searing migraine headaches by removing a nerve in her head. Plante emerged on the other side and found work as a state revenue agent. (She is now a principal revenue agent.) The author met with her attacker, accepted his apology, and forgave him. Three years after the assault, she wrote her chilling story to throw a solid lifeline to other trauma survivors and to educate their caregivers. This stirring, instructive memoir should especially appeal to readers interested in criminal justice and traumatic brain injuries.

A riveting account of an injured prison worker’s harrowing road to recovery.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-5445-0930-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature.


The creator of the hit internet series Humans of New York takes it global, chasing down a panoply of interesting stories.

In 1955, Edward Steichen staged a show called “The Family of Man,” a gathering of photographs that emphasized the commonality of humankind. Stanton’s project seemingly has much the same ambition. “You’ve created this magic little corner of the Web where people feel safe sharing their stories—without being ridiculed, or bullied, or judged,” he writes. “These stories are only honestly shared because they have a long history of being warmly received.” The ask is the hard part: approaching a total stranger and asking him or her to tell their stories. And what stories they are. A young Frenchwoman, tearful, recounts being able to see things from the spirit world that no one else can see. “And it’s been a very lonely existence since then,” she says. A sensible teenager in St. Petersburg, Russia, relates that her friends are trying to be grown-up, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, whereas she wants to remain a child close to her parents: “I’d like these times to last as long as possible.” A few stories are obnoxious, as with a Dutch incel who has converted himself into a pickup artist and outright cad: “Of course it’s manipulation, but why should I care? I’ve been manipulated so many times in my life.” A great many stories, some going for several pages but most taking up just a paragraph or two, are regretful, speaking to dashed dreams and roads not taken. A surprising number recount mental illness, depression, and addiction; “I’d give anything to have a tribe,” says a beleaguered mother in Barcelona. Some are hopeful, though, such as that of an Iranian woman: “I’ve fallen in love with literature. I try to read for one or two hours every day. I only have one life to live. But in books I can live one thousand lives.”

A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11429-7

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

A refreshing celebrity memoir focused not strictly on the self but on a much larger horizon.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


One of Hollywood’s biggest stars delivers a memoir of success won through endless, relentless work and self-reckoning.

“My imagination is my gift, and when it merges with my work ethic, I can make money rain from the heavens.” So writes Smith, whose imagination is indeed a thing of wonder—a means of coping with fear, an abusive father with the heart of a drill instructor, and all manner of inner yearnings. The author’s imagination took him from a job bagging ice in Philadelphia to initial success as a partner in the Grammy-winning rap act DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Smith was propelled into stardom thanks to the ministrations of Quincy Jones, who arranged an audition in the middle of his own birthday party, bellowing “No paralysis through analysis!” when Smith begged for time to prepare. The mantra—which Jones intoned 50-odd times during the two hours it took for the Hollywood suits to draw up a contract for the hit comedy series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air—is telling, for hidden within this memoir lies a powerful self-help book. For Smith, all of life is a challenge in which one’s feelings are largely immaterial. “I watched my father’s negative emotions seize control of his ample intellect and cause him over and over again to destroy beautiful parts of our family,” he writes, good reason for him to sublimate negativity in the drive to get what he wanted—money, at first, and lots of it, which got him in trouble with the IRS in the early 1990s. Smith, having developed a self-image that cast him as a coward, opines that one’s best life is lived by facing up to the things that hold us back. “I’ve been making a conscious effort to attack all the things that I’m scared of,” he writes, adding, “And this is scary.” It’s a good lesson for any aspiring creative to ponder—though it helps to have Smith’s abundant talent, too.

A refreshing celebrity memoir focused not strictly on the self but on a much larger horizon.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984877-92-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?