The Prisoner's Wife: A Memoir

How did a beautiful, talented college student fall in love with a man serving twenty to life for murder? And why did she marry him? At a time when one in four black men are caught in the web of the criminal justice system, Asha Bandele shatters the myths of prisoners' wives and tells a story of embracing the beauty of love in the ugliest circumstances and of people's ability to change, to do better, to grow. Whether she is describing her restricted but romantic courtship with Rashid -- when letters were like dates, like "whispers on the slow, blue-light dance floor" -- or riding the bus upstate with the other wives and girlfriends, Asha Bandele creates haunting images and reflections so powerful and unique that they beg to be reread and savored. At the same time that she recalls the extreme ups and downs that accompany a relationship constantly scrutinized by guards and surveillance cameras, she confronts her own dark secrets and sadness. The love of a man with an ugly past but a firm belief in redemption is what heals her broken spirit and grants her the courage and confidence to embrace life again. This is a love story extraordinary in its circumstances but universal in its message. With unblinking honesty, Asha Bandele writes about the tenuous balance of power upon which most relationships rest, the deep needs that bring two people together, the jealousy and insecurity that can drive them apart. But most of all, The Prisoner's Wife reminds us why we love -- what we give up for it and what we receive from it.

Author of The Prisoner's Wife: A Memoir