Hello friends! I hope you’re all doing amazingly. Today I bring to you a review of Diary of a Prison Officer by Josie Channer – a fantastic insight into the life of a Black British prison officer.
Publication Date: August 1st 2020
‘It’s 2003, Tony Blair is still Prime Minister and a shy loner from London, Amber Campbell, joins the prison service searching for purpose.
Behind the walls of the women’s prison Amber is determined to prove that she has what it takes. She makes a packed with two close friends to support each other no matter what. However, the three Black women struggle when they experience discrimination and disappointment at every turn.
There is rising racial tension in her home town when twelve far right local councilors are elected. Amber reflects on the prison system in her blog and takes an emotional journey off the beaten track through Africa to find love.’
Thanks so much to Josie Channer and Rachel’s Random Resources for a free review copy of this novel!
Riveting and meaningful, Diary of a Prison Officer is undoubtedly an important read about a topic often not touched upon. This is a wonderfully important read to add to your bookshelves.
Diary of a Prison Officer is a vital narrative in detailing the experiences of a Black woman during the early noughties. From both the overt and systematic racism she faces from her co-workers, to the more political events of 12 BNP councillors being elected, this is an important novel. It shows us not only have times changed so little, but also that there is so much more that non-Black people can do to change things for the better.
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The story is told in a divided timeline, between Amber’s time as a Prison Officer and her time backpacking in Africa. This made for such a well-rounded reading experience, and I really loved reading about the reflections that Amber makes about the former time during the latter. Amber’s search for identity and belonging on her travels makes for a meaningful contrast to the life she lived whilst working in England. But overall, Channer’s writing style in general makes for a really smooth read – something that I really appreciated given the changes in timelines.
This book is a must-read for anyone looking to gain a new perspective on a topic that is not talked about often enough – even more so if you want to support and uplift Black writers and their stories!
About the Author
Josie worked as a prison officer at Holloway Prison for many years and has a unique and specialist knowledge of how a prison is run.
Josie likes writes about criminal justice system, politics, women’s issues and Black British history. Her work has been published with online political magazines a number of times. She is passionate about addressing the barriers that women of colour face.
You can follow Josie Channer at @JosieChanner !