Cover image for A little piece of light : a memoir of hope, prison, and a life unbound
Title:
A little piece of light : a memoir of hope, prison, and a life unbound
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hachette Books, 2018.
ISBN:
9780316559256
Physical Description:
xv, 254 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
The prisoner of Boynton Avenue -- Golden child -- Two birds in a cage -- Inmate #86G0206 -- Jail sisters -- Agents of change -- Mother Mary and the end of violence -- An education -- Daughters and a circle of abuse -- Finding our voices -- Changing minds,changing lives -- Women's search for meaning -- Carrying the torch.
Abstract:
A groundbreaking advocate for criminal justice reform and featured speaker at the 2017 Women's March describes her collaborative efforts with other influential voices to promote prison safety and end mass incarceration.

"A bold new voice from the frontlines of the criminal justice reform movement. Like so many women before her and so many women yet to come, Donna Hylton's early life was a nightmare of abuse that left her feeling alone and convinced of her worthlessness. In 1986, she took part in a horrific act and was sentenced to 25 years to life for kidnapping and second-degree murder. It seemed that Donna had reached the end--at age 19, due to her own mistakes and bad choices, her life was over. [This book] tells the heartfelt, often harrowing tale of Donna's journey back to life as she faced the truth about the crime that locked her away for 27 years ... and celebrated the family she found inside prison that ultimately saved her. Behind the bars of Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, alongside this generation's most infamous criminals, Donna learned to fight, then thrive. For the first time in her life, she realized she was not alone in the abuse and misogyny she experienced--and she was also not alone in fighting back. Since her release in 2012, Donna has emerged as a leading advocate for criminal justice reform and women's rights who speaks to politicians, violent abusers, prison officials, victims, and students to tell her story. But it's not her story alone, she is quick to say. She also represents the stories of thousands of women who have been unable to speak for themselves, until now."--Dust jacket.
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Book 365.9747 HYLTON 1
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Prescott Public Library1Received on 6/12/18

Summary

Summary

Random Family meets Orange Is the New Black in A Little Piece of Light , a memoir of survival, redemption, hope, and sisterhood from a bold new voice on the front lines of the criminal justice reform movement.

Like so many women before her and so many women yet to come, Donna Hylton's early life was a nightmare of abuse that left her feeling alone and convinced of her worthlessness. In 1986, she took part in a horrific act and was sentenced to 25 years to life for kidnapping and second-degree murder. It seemed that Donna had reached the end--at age 19, due to her own mistakes and bad choices, her life was over.

A Little Piece of Light tells the heartfelt, often harrowing tale of Donna's journey back to life as she faced the truth about the crime that locked her away for 27 years...and celebrated the family she found inside prison that ultimately saved her. Behind the bars of Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, alongside this generation's most infamous criminals, Donna learned to fight, then thrive. For the first time in her life, she realized she was not alone in the abuse and misogyny she experienced--and she was also not alone in fighting back.

Since her release in 2012, Donna has emerged as a leading advocate for criminal justice reform and women's rights who speaks to politicians, violent abusers, prison officials, victims, and students to tell her story. But it's not her story alone, she is quick to say. She also represents the stories of thousands of women who have been unable to speak for themselves, until now.


Reviews 2

Kirkus Review

A criminal justice reform advocate's story about how her personal history of abuse and poor judgment led to incarceration for crimes she did not commit.Hylton was barely 8 when she left her native Jamaica with Americans Daphne and Roy, who promised her a "magical" trip to Disney World. Instead, she found herself in New York, the unwitting adopted daughter of a cold woman and her sexual predator husband. A school guidance counselor later confronted Daphne with Hylton's story of sexual abuse, but Daphne denied it and forced Hylton to apologize. Desperate to flee a dysfunctional family situation, the author applied for a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school. In her confusion, she ran away with Roy's friend Alvin, who offered sanctuary but instead made her pregnant. She spent the remainder of her teens trying to be "a mother, find a job, and straighten out my life" and recovering from a series of rapes. Eventually, she found a stable job as a shop clerk and befriended a woman named Maria, who promised she would help Hylton find money to begin a modeling career. Instead, Maria drew the author into a web of mob intrigue that led to Hylton's wrongful conviction for kidnapping and second-degree murder. Over the next 25 years in prison, she came into contact with women of all backgroundsincluding "Long Island Lolita" Amy Fisherwho had also been victims of molestation and abuse. Hylton formed powerful relationships with them and became involved in prison groups promoting pathways beyond hopelessness and despair. Intimate and disturbing, the book reveals the ways women are silenced and victimized in society, and it also tells the inspiring story of how one woman survived a prison nightmare to go on to help other incarcerated women "speak out about the violence in their lives."A wrenching memoir of overcoming seemingly insurmountable abuse and finding fulfillment. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Hylton, formerly known as inmate #86G0206, begins her gripping memoir with her earliest memory. A young toddler, she's being tossed high in her mother's arms while she and her mother laugh. Then she is falling, cracking her head hard on concrete: her mother dropped her on purpose. What unfolds from this moment to Hylton's sentencing of 25 years to life for kidnapping and second-degree murder is a heart-wrenching exploration of the atrocities vulnerable young girls, especially those without an adult in their lives who they can trust, can endure. However, despite the horrific events in Hylton's early life, her book, written with coauthor Gasbarre, tells a tale far beyond tragedy. It is a meditation on redemption and learning to love and forgive, because she found her true self in the darkest of all places prison. At Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, Hylton realized she wasn't alone in her experiences and decided to become an advocate for women's rights and criminal-justice reform. A film based on Hylton's inspiring story, starring Rosario Dawson, is currently in development.--Spanner, Alison Copyright 2018 Booklist


Table of Contents

Eve Ensler
Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xiii
Chapter 1 The Prisoner of Boynton Avenuep. 1
Chapter 2 Golden Childp. 34
Chapter 3 Two Birds in a Cagep. 67
Chapter 4 Inmate #86G0206p. 127
Chapter 5 Jail Sistersp. 136
Chapter 6 Agents of Changep. 147
Chapter 7 Mother Mary and the End of Violencep. 157
Chapter 8 An Educationp. 171
Chapter 9 Daughters and a Circle of Abusep. 178
Chapter 10 Finding Our Voicesp. 188
Chapter 11 Changing Minds, Changing Livesp. 201
Chapter 12 Women's Search for Meaningp. 216
Chapter 13 Carrying the Torchp. 232
Acknowledgmentsp. 253