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Letters to My Son in Prison
Ken Guidroz, author
My son, high on heroin, killed a man with his car. In prison we had to find a way to rebuild what opioids had stolen. Letters proved to be the way. In this book I tell of how we got so bad off and how we recovered.
This emotional memoir, written partially in epistolary format, explores Guidroz's relationship with his son, Lucas, through heartbreak, tragedy, and forgiveness, after Lucas is sentenced to 10 years in prison for vehicular manslaughter. Guidroz's life begins to spiral as he questions his impact as a father and spiritual leader and also his faith. Building a better connection and relationship with Lucas through their correspondence while Lucas is in prison, Guidroz not only learns more about his son and addiction, but also much about himself—as a father to Lucas and his other two sons, as a son to his own father, and as a believer who deeply values his relationship with God.

Powered by raw honesty and feeling, Letters to My Son in Prison finds Guidroz (co-author of Beyond the 401(K)) opening up to his son and reflecting upon himself and his faith in these letters, sharing his deepest fears, new joys, and biblical stories (Guidroz writes on David, Joseph, Adam and Eve, and “Solomon, the most famous addict in history—one who shared many of Lucas’s tendencies toward excess”) that resonate with both father and son during Lucas’s three years of incarceration.

Just as Guidroz uses the letters to express himself with refreshing candor to his son, Lucas in turn does the same, sharing his experiences of imprisonment, offering revelations, and taking accountability for his actions. He inspires in his father newfound interests in books and his education. "Writing you changed me" Guidroz writes to Lucas, celebrating this rare yet physically distant intimacy. Both men reflect on good and bad times of their upbringings and their interactions with each other, allowing each to see the other in a new light that strengthens their bond. Readers will become invested in both father and son's journey through this traumatic experience and get a touching glimpse into the ups and downs of a father's unconditional love.

Takeaway: Emotionally charged memoir of a father and son connecting after trauma.

Comparable Titles: Kwame Alexander’s Why Fathers Cry at Night, Jeri Ross’s See You in the Sky.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A