When you lose yourself in a book…


I don’t usually share links in my blog but I couldn’t resist posting this one. I finished Anne Frank’s Diary yesterday and was searching for some articles about her when I stumbled upon this website. The blog’s actually about Prison Book Program which brings solace to prisoners through books. I was so moved by this particular post by a Prisoner about how some books changed his life. You can find it here or read it here (if you are too lazy to click on the link )

“I would like to share my story of how books have changed my life.

First, I think I should give you a brief history of my life. I am a 45 year old man who has been an addict since the age of 10. Drugs were introduced to me by older kids in the neighborhood. They thought it would be funny and “cool” to see me stumble around saying and doing goofy things. I didn’t make it past 7th grade and ended up in prison at the age of 18. I have since spent 28 years in and out of prison for crimes committed to support my addiction.

At the age of 43 I was once again in prison. I was severely depressed and had no hope for ever breaking the cycle of drugs and prison. I was completely alone and contemplating suicide. That’s when I saw the last 30 minutes of the movie The Diary of Anne Frank. I was moved so much that I went to the prison library looking for a copy of her actual diary, but they didn’t have one. I heard about an interlibrary loan project that might be able to help me find a copy, and in 6 weeks I had this smiling little angel in my hands.

I read her diary in one sitting and I have not been the same ever since. This little girl made this grown man cry. This little girl held mirrors up to me from every angle, making it impossible for me to avoid myself any longer. All my self pity and blaming had disappeared. This little girl smacked me across my face and forced me to wake up.

I’d like to share one of the many quotes by Anne that helped change me forever. “If you know you are weak, why not do something about it? Why not train your character? Because it’s easier not to.”

It has been 2 ½ years since I first found Anne Frank and a lot has happened with me since then. I wrote everyone and anyone with requests for more books about Anne and the Holocaust in general. I saved my prison allowance and purchased several books of my own. I had never read this many books in my entire life.

I gained an education from these history books that changed my life forever. My depression lifted. I admitted myself into an intense six-month in-house prison drug and alcohol and behavior modification program from which I graduated. I completed a course in basic automotive technology and I have spent the past 8 months in upholstery class recently completed my first reupholstered chair.

I must also mention the effects all the other books [about the Holocaust] have had on me. One in particular is Alicia: My Story by Alicia Appleman-Jurman. She survived the Holocaust, but her story was like nothing I had ever heard. I will no longer complain about prison food or clothing. I am completely aware of how fortunate I am and this awareness will never leave me.

I owe so much to Anne, Alicia, and the 6 million other beautiful souls [I read about]. The only way to honor them is to devote the rest of my life to helping others. I now have a purpose in life.”

I have heard about Yoga and Meditation Programs to Prisoners but this book-reading concept is quite new to me. After all, Paper is more patient than Man and this is such a wonderful way to bring about a positive change in their lives. As this article wonderfully put it :

Sometimes, characters in books can become friends in a lonely persons mind and heart. Books are physical manifestations of the imagination.


About vandysnape

Hi ! I'm Vandhana. Books. Blogging. Rickmaniac. Titanic. Time Travel. UFOs. Madras. Travel. History. Quirks. Shopaholic. Sinatra. Mozart. Beatles. Amelie. Me :)
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16 Responses to When you lose yourself in a book…

  1. Aarthi sathya says:

    Such a awesome piece of wisdom.Kudos dear vandy!

  2. transplantednorth says:

    thank you SO much for sharing this one. If only Anne knew that she is still touching and changing lives today, it makes it all the more tragic that she died just six weeks before Auschwitz was liberated. If she only knew…

    • vandysnape says:

      Very true. Anne was too young to die. I remember a line from the book – “I want to continue living after my death”. Her wish came true 🙂 Anne has touched so many lives 🙂

  3. Sanju says:

    I have’nt read read such a touching story before about book-reading ..! Thanks for sharing..

  4. yazh26 says:

    No words Vasu…:) you always bring an awesome feel while readung your blog…. its true that character become friends of the self…experienced many times…:) it would be lovely :):) Nice work 🙂

  5. nabadip says:

    books are physical manifestations of imagination.
    So true.

  6. mahesh says:

    Thanks for sharing this 🙂 a good book is truly the greatest friend one can ever have 🙂

  7. ganeshputtu says:

    great post vandana…btw, the american prison system has such useful techniques, dont they? here our prisoners are just made to do hard labor…what chance is there to develop their minds. anyway, i have read anne frank’s diary a long time ago..but still cant forget the effect it had on me..thanks for reminding me to read it again soon

  8. Thanks Vandhana for sharing this one. Makes me think hard about the age old piece of wisdom that “books are indeed a man’s best friend”

    Makes sense all the more after reading this post!

  9. interesting -n- interactive…

  10. wow- that is a tremendously powerful story! I had the good fortune to be in Amsterdam this summer and was able to visit the Anne Frank museum and hide-out where she lived while she was writing the diary. I love that her powerful words and bravery are still touching people.

  11. sash says:

    just dropped by to say – ‘hi’

    hope all is well. 🙂

  12. sash says:

    btw, i thought i read and commented on this earlier! I am sure, I read. about my comment – don’t know where it has gone! 😦

    It is a good reference for us! thanks for sharing. V is for Victory. 🙂

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