My Life Had Stood a Loaded Gun by Theo Padnos

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In a nely wrought memoir, thirty-three-year-old Theo Padnos describes his experiences teaching a literature class inside a locked prison room at the Woodstock Correctional Facility in Vermont. His students, ages seventeen to twenty-ve, stand accused of grisly, calculated crimes: beatings, rape, drug dealing, and murder. All are drifting, including the teacher himself. By rejecting standard prison safety precautions-videotape, monitored windows, an open door-Padnos creates an atmosphere of trust, and through the works of seminal American writers, enables these young prisoners to talk about their lives and the apocalyptic myths and metaphors that motivate their crimes. Armed with self-deprecating humor, Theo Padnos guides his students to discover themselves and each other through the power of the written word-and nds himself along the way. My Life Had Stood a Loaded Gun is a clear-eyed work that penetrates a formerly unmapped territory and unflinchingly tackles questions that haunt us.

About Theo Padnos

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Published January 28, 2004 by Miramax. 304 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Young Adult, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction

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Padnos wants his students to find some reverb with the material, to stitch it together with what motivated their acts and what they had hoped to achieve by them: “The goal was to jerk them out of their routine, to help them see their lives with the clarity of an observer.” Often enough, this lead...

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Publishers Weekly

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An obsessive interest in Lance Stanard (who murdered his mother) occupies the book's center, augmented by Padnos's interest in the teenage murderers of two Dartmouth professors in May 2000.

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