SEVEN LONG TIMES by Piri Thomas

SEVEN LONG TIMES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Shot while trying to rob a bar with some compadres, the author was lucky to get away alive, and he never really forgets this through the six long years at Comstock in upper New York State while he lays bricks for ten cents an hour and dreams about the girl back home. Ironically, prison has many of the same problems as life outside (copping dope/liquor or cigarettes -- the prison currency -- discrimination against blacks and Puerto Ricans in everything from jobs to haircuts) in addition to those peculiarly its own (boredom, trying to stay alive without turning into either an informer or bully's punk, keeping out of trouble in order to appease the parole board while maintaining human dignity against the degradation of being treated like an animal). Although in a sense the energetically bouncy style works against the content (the outrage and anger are disguised by the cheerful persona the author apparently adopted to get through sane), the writer's subsequent life is ample proof that even supposedly hardened convicts can be rehabilitated, especially if they are able to publish a book about their experiences -- or even two -- for the author covered some of the same turf in his earlier bestseller, Down These Mean Streets.

Pub Date: June 17th, 1974
Publisher: Praeger