As hard as I try to read all the books on my Kindle, frankly I just don’t think that will ever happen. I’m too often tempted by books I see on Facebook or magazines and the ever popular celebrity book clubs. This time I logged into my local library website and this book popped up, Shakespeare Saved My Life. The description intrigued me.
I know very little about Shakespeare even though I consider myself fairly well read. Laura Bates taught Shakespeare in a solitary confinement unit in a prison. Prisons are something I know even less about so I saw the combination of the two as a learning opportunity.
Many Shakespeare plays are about murder, something many of these inmates could relate to. Dr. Bates taught the classes without seeing her students except through the small hole in the cell door where meals were passed through. One student in particular, embraced Shakespeare and because of his studies brought himself out of his darkness and began to set new goals for himself and his life behind bars.
The role of society as a whole played a large part in this story. But the most enlightening part was that of the prisoners. Not only has society failed them but they have failed themselves because they were not taught certain skills. And believe it or not Shakespeare and his plays to this day, held the power to help them change their lives even as they lived behind bars. Hats off to Dr. Bates for her work in the prison system and for sharing this story with the world.