Reviews of Corrections in Ink by Keri Blakinger

Corrections in Ink

A Memoir

by Keri Blakinger

Corrections in Ink by Keri Blakinger X
Corrections in Ink by Keri Blakinger
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Jun 2022, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Valerie Morales
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About this Book

Book Summary

An electric and unforgettable memoir about a young woman's journey - from the ice rink, to addiction and a prison sentence, to the newsroom - and how she emerged with a fierce determination to expose the broken system she experienced.

Keri Blakinger always lived life at full throttle. Growing up, that meant throwing herself into competitive figure skating with an all-consuming passion that led her to nationals. But when her skating career suddenly fell apart, that meant diving into self-destruction with the intensity she once saved for the ice.

For the next nine years, Keri ricocheted from one dark place to the next: living on the streets, selling drugs and sex, and shooting up between classes all while trying to hold herself together enough to finish her degree at Cornell. Then, on a cold day during her senior year, the police caught her walking down the street with a Tupperware full of heroin.

Her arrest made the front page of the local news and landed her behind bars for nearly two years. There, in the Twilight Zone of New York's jails and prisons, Keri grappled with the wreckage of her missteps and mistakes as she sobered up and searched for a better path. Along the way, she met women from all walks of life―who were all struggling through the same upside-down world of corrections. As the days ticked by, Keri came to understand how broken the justice system is and who that brokenness hurts the most.

After she walked out of her cell for the last time, Keri became a reporter dedicated to exposing our flawed prisons as only an insider could. Written with searing intensity, unflinching honesty, and shocks of humor, Corrections in Ink uncovers that dark, brutal system that affects us all. Not just a story about getting out and getting off drugs, this galvanizing memoir is about the power of second chances; about who our society throws away and who we allow to reach for redemption―and how they reach for it.

Chapter 1

Ithaca, 2010

I have problems: I am out of clean clothes, I cannot find my glasses, my English paper is late, and my pockets are not big enough for all the heroin I have.

But, honestly, more than anything, I want a cigarette.

I'm only ten minutes from where I'm going, and it's cold outside. The sun is deceptive; it looks like a nice upstate New York morning, but really it's December and the wind is whipping up from Ithaca's gorges. I stop walking and push my fingers deep into my pockets in search of a Parliament.

In a minute, there will be police, with questions and handcuffs. By tomorrow, my scabby-faced mugshot will be all over the news as the Cornell student arrested with $150,000 of smack. I will sober up to a sea of regrets. My dirty clothes and late English paper—one of the last assignments I need to graduate—will be the least of my problems.

But that's all in the future. Right now, I just want that cigarette. Where the fuck did I put them?

When I woke up this ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

While Corrections in Ink is an immersive account of an athlete dealing with self-loathing, it also clarifies addiction for the untutored: It's not about what you do to yourself but rather how you feel about yourself. When Keri was competing, she was also vomiting and starving herself. But once her figure skating dream crashed, she was still self-harming. We're conditioned to believe that athletes can overcome their failures through willfulness, but Blakinger reminds us that some have a spotty relationship with themselves...continued

Full Review Members Only (931 words).

(Reviewed by Valerie Morales).

Media Reviews

BookPage (starred review)
An exceptional debut...a singular reading experience. Raw and important.

New York Times
Keri Blakinger's brave, brutal memoir, Corrections in Ink, is a riveting story about suffering, recovery and redemption...Blakinger's fine book offers promise to sufferers of addiction, eating disorders, depression or other manifestations of psychic pain, and to those serving time...inspiring and relevant.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Blakinger's voice is frank but compassionate, as she lovingly but truthfully owns up to her mistakes. Her deeply researched analysis of the dehumanizing nature of incarceration is trenchant and infused with the passion of her personal experiences. The story moves quickly, populated with characters who are deeply flawed yet often sympathetic. A gorgeously written, page-turning memoir about addiction, prison, and privilege.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A resonant call for criminal justice reform rings out from investigative journalist Blakinger's extraordinary debut...Her self-awareness is bracing and her indictment of the prison industrial system raises searing questions around its punitive culture. This is absolutely sensational.

Booklist
Transferring powerful internal dialogue onto the page, Blakinger offers vulnerable, honest recollections, and a story that won't be forgotten and could even inspire much-needed change.

Author Blurb Elon Green, author of Last Call
Blakinger's harrowing tale of her stretch in the American carceral system is one of the more foreboding in recent memory. Thankfully, it's also punctuated by wonderfully bone-dry humor, which makes the book not only bearable, but brilliant. When it's over, you'll want to raze every correctional facility in the land.

Author Blurb Piper Kerman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orange Is the New Black
Corrections in Ink is a groundbreaking debut from an extraordinary writer; in her memoir, Blakinger offers a searing work of self-examination, an inquiry of power, and a funny, provocative, and inspiring personal story of addiction, prison, and investigative journalism. Her book stands as a feminist response to David Carr's The Night of the Gun, a testament to where a woman can go after rock-bottom, the power to transform oneself, and the imperative to discover and tell the truth.

Author Blurb Sarah Hepola, New York Times bestselling author of Blackout
[Corrections in Ink] is a hair-raising tale of a girl torn between perfectionism and self-destruction, and a woman who uses her profound gifts to help set others free. How that girl became that woman demonstrates the beauty of storytelling―and sobriety.

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Beyond the Book

Eating Disorders in Figure Skating

Silhouette of figure skater on ice A tiny, limber child, Keri Blakinger at the age of nine yearned to be smaller than her six-year-old dance classmate. To spite her health-conscious mother, Keri began sneaking brownies and cookies and the occasional Big Mac. Then, she would bike four blocks away and vomit in the bushes. "I've puked here so many times," she writes in Corrections in Ink, "that the whole building emanates a vomity aroma on rainy days. Other people can smell it while they walk by."

Blakinger was well practiced in starving herself. It was something she would do now and again, a game of will. If she was successful in denying herself, she felt joy. If she couldn't resist a temptation, she became anxious.

"The less I ate, the more I thought about it. ...

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