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[Review] Doing Time With Charlie by Kay Page

Title: Doing Time With Charlie
Author: Kay Page
Publisher: Deep River Books, October 3, 2013
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Theme: Woman begins a relationship through a pen-pal program with a man in prison.
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1937756956
Age: Adult
Pages: 192
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Free copy from Deep River Books and Bring It On Communications, Tell Us The Truth Reviews.

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Kay began writing to a prisoner named Charlie Page, an inmate at the Maine State Prison. She hoped her church would begin a new mission project ministering to prison inmates. A prison pen-pal could be a link to begin this ministry. Through letters Kay began a deeper bond, one she had not anticipated. Their blossoming relationship revealed many surprises to Kay.
  • Charlie's honesty about his crime.
  • Prison system, its culture and language.
  • A prejudice outside world against prisoners.
  • Unresolved issues and memories.
God used Kay and Charlie as a testimony of His love and grace.

Until last year I had not known anyone personally who had been in jail. I had known people who'd been arrested, but not in jail for a lengthy time. I have a close relative that was incarcerated in a county jail for several months last year. This is an experience I would not wish on anyone, not for the person locked up, nor for the loved one that is in the "waiting game". The shame and stress that went along with this experience is profound. There were only a few (very few) people whom I told. Even some of them had strong opinions and voiced them. We all have opinions, but timing and tact is everything. These blabbers failed to realize they were not hurting the person in jail, but me.
One close friend, Mary, knew firsthand what I was going through. Last year when I called Mary, to share what was going on, she listened with patience and simply said, I'm so sorry Annette. Her simple statement, said in love, meant the world to me.
I share my experience with you, in order to identify with any reader who has or is going through a similar circumstance. I was drawn to Doing Time With Charlie, hoping that by reviewing this book it will be a link to minister to a community that is too ashamed to reach out for help. Sometimes the Church is more judgmental than the world. The condemned in prison is ostracized and so is their family.

Three strong points are lived out in its main characters:
  1. Surprised by joy. During the most difficult of times there can be joy. Joy in suffering seems like an oxymoron, but it is a mystery brought about only by the Holy Spirit. Even during pain and suffering, there is a inner joy in priceless captured moments. Those moments of joy are grasped hold of and remembered as a gift for later. 
  2. "The righteous shall live by faith." Romans 1:17 ESV. As Christian's we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. We also "live by faith", believing and trusting that Jesus Christ is going to carry us through.
  3. Grace and forgiveness. As believers in Jesus Christ we are agreeing with God about our own sin and need for forgiveness. We are saved from our sin only by God's grace through Jesus Christ. In return, we should be a people of grace and forgiveness.