An elite, competitive figure skater growing up, Keri Blakinger poured herself into the sport, even competing at nationals. But when her skating partnership ended abruptly, her world shattered. With all the intensity she saved for the ice, she dove into self-destruction. Then, on a cold day during Keri's senior year, the police stopped her. Caught with a Tupperware container full of heroin, she was arrested and ushered into a holding cell, a county jail, and finally into state prison. There, in the cruel 'upside down, ' Keri witnessed callous conditions and encountered women from all walks of life—women who would change Keri forever. Two years later, Keri walked out of prison sober and determined to make the most of the second chance she was given—an opportunity impacted by her privilege as a white woman.
... brave, brutal ... a riveting story about suffering, recovery and redemption. It’s funny at times — and I felt bad laughing about someone sinking as low as Blakinger did, but she’s sardonically witty, so I couldn’t help myself. Ultimately, there’s nothing comical about her descent ... When I read that passage, I was tempted to close the book — it’s hard to witness self-harm — but Blakinger is a gifted writer and she’d ensnared me. I needed to stay with her; I wanted her to be OK ... Blakinger’s fine book offers promise to sufferers of addiction, eating disorders, depression or other manifestations of psychic pain, and to those serving time. However, Corrections in Ink doesn’t stop at recovery ... inspiring and relevant.
[Blakinger's] book’s prose is utterly readable. Its structure braids chapters about Blakinger’s jail time with backstory until her past catches up and we seamlessly find ourselves in prison alongside her. With Corrections in Ink, you get what you came for. In some of the flashback chapters, we’re yanked into wild scenes ... At times, I felt Blakinger was apologizing for writing about her lived experience in a criminal-justice system that disproportionately impacts people of color. While white privilege did help her avoid scrutiny from the law, it also enabled a decade of uninterrupted hard-drug use. Blakinger’s privilege could easily have landed her among the astonishing number of dead white Americans who, like my brother Eugene, have overdosed during America’s generational opioid epidemic — a rate that exceeded the one for Black Americans until very recently ... To me, the fact that Blakinger has made a career of criticizing the institution that probably saved her life is the paradox of the book, one that she doesn’t acknowledge ... For me, the lingering conflict in the book is when Blakinger telescopes out from her specific story and examines systemic racism in prison and policing, then brings it back to herself ... These journalistic digressions are informative, but the way she inserts them takes away from her own difficult experiences ... I wanted Blakinger to write more personally about her privilege: It must have struck constant cords of shame in her, as it has in me, to have had tremendous opportunities and yet land in a place where most had none ... The formerly incarcerated folks who are creative enough to recognize the moment we’re in — aspiring poets, journalists, filmmakers, podcasters — must learn that leaning into the internal and external conflicts of the convict experience will give them an advantage. Blakinger realizes this, and it’s why she has succeeded.
Exceptional ... Corrections in Ink is written with deep insight and urgency, and Blakinger’s gripping insider knowledge and experience is supported by research, strong analysis and a blistering indictment of the criminal justice system. It’s this rare combination of personal narrative and reporting that makes Corrections in Ink such a singular reading experience ... Blakinger’s raw and important memoir isn’t only a drug recovery and success story. It’s a searing condemnation of our cruel and unjust project of caging human beings, a firsthand account of what this entails and a challenge not to look away from America’s flawed and punitive carceral system.