The Prisoner’s Wife is a memoir by Asha Bandele. It is a love story of a young Black woman and a Black man who meet and fall in love in one of the most difficult places…prison. This book is romantic, exciting and sexy. It is, in every sense of the word, a love story. I borrowed this book from the library, so I no longer have it, but I read through it so quickly that is how well-written it was. Asha Bandele is a Black woman from a middle class background who has everything going for her. She is intelligent, attractive and married. However, her life isn’t what it seems. After her first marriage ends, Asha decides to start living her life for her. She begins by embracing her literary voice in poetry and this is what ultimately leads her to meet the man who she falls in love with in prison.
The two are separated by metal bars, guards, fences and phone booths, but that does not stop Asha from opening up to her lover in a way that she never has with anyone else. Not only does she fall in love, but her lover shows her that with patience and understanding, she can learn to trust. He helps her come to terms with a trouble past and trust him enough to love her.
I loved reading this book because not only was it romantic and touching, but it as refreshing. It’s not that often that we get to read true love stories about Black women. Not only that , but I appreciated that this memoir highlighted the humanity of a man who was sentenced to prison. So often in society, people want to stereotype prisoners are being subhuman or unworthy of dignity, but you learn that people are people. Throughout the novel, Asha faces scrutiny for falling in love with a prisoner, but her memoir shows that there is more to a person than their criminal background or what society labels them as. They don’t just have a fling, they have an intimate and strong emotional relationship. Also, there is this one love scene in the book that was very sexy and jarring, yet intimate and sweet.
But, back to Black women and love stories. Yes, this book highlights the complexity of relationships. I feel like so often in society relationships between Black women & Black men are made into these jokes or are not taken seriously. We have books like the Notebook that highlight the humanity of the white men and white women who fall in love, but we don’t often get that with Black people. This book is just an intimate and personal account of one woman’s romance, yet it speaks to many women and men. So many women have fallen in love with a man who may be looked down on in society or people may not want their relationship to continue. You may not have dated a man in Prison, but we’ve all had that forbidden love in some way. This is why this is a great book and one of my favorites.