Changing Lives Through Literature
University of Notre Dame Press, 1999
Changing Lives through Literature depends on the belief that modern literature is the best tool our society has to explore human identity. Through their tireless work in the Massachusetts prison system, co-editors Robert Waxler and Jean Trounstine discovered that a study of modern literature enhances readers’ verbal skills through an engagement with language, opens experience to a multitude of perspectives, enriches our sense of human diversity, and makes us self-reflective and thoughtful.
The stories included in this valuable anthology are written by notable contemporary raconteurs such as T. Coraghessan Boyle, Joyce Carol Oates, Toni Morrison, and Raymond Carver, and have been successful in exciting conversation among the “Changing Lives through Literature” groups.
—This book is the result of work that Waxler and Trounstine have done within the Massachusetts Correctional System….Changing Lives Through Literature, encourages offenders to examine their lives through discussions of literary works. This book contains selections used in the program as well as discussion ideas. In addition, before each section readers will find discussion of the theme (i.e., violence, identity/voice, friendship/love, and family) and explanations of why the particular stories were selected and how they can be used to facilitate discussion. The authors represented include James Dickey, John Steinbeck, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, and Jack London. An interesting addition to criminal justice, penology, or social welfare collections, this might also work in education collections for teachers who are looking for innovative ways to teach contemporary classics. Danna C. Bell-Russel, Library Journal
—Through their work in the Massachusetts prison system, Waxler (English, U. of Massachusetts) and Trounstine (humanities, Middlesex Community College) discovered that a study of modern literature enhances readers’ verbal skills through an engagement with language, opens experience to a multitude of perspectives, enriches our sense of human diversity, and makes us self-reflective and thoughtful. The anthology represents literary works they presented to criminal offenders to help them to see how stories can save us from the chaos of our lives. Book News, (booknew.com)