Prison Letters: Walking to Honor

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9780615818153: Prison Letters: Walking to Honor
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This book depicts two cousins, Fernando and Vera, growing up together. Through their stories, the reader experiences the tales of an undefeated football team, a horrid sprained ankle, hospital visits, a Super Bowl party, and a police visit that leads to the beginning of Fernando’s troubles. Fernando is sentenced to five years of incarceration for possession of drugs. While he spends time in prison, he writes to Vera about his troubles, family life, hardships, regrets, dreams, and forgiveness. In the end, he promises to leave the lifestyle that cost him his freedom.

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From the Author:

Take a moment to close your eyes, and visualize someone special.  It can be anyone.  When you open them, who did you see?  For me, I see my father.  He was there for me growing up, supporting me when I made wrong decisions, and I have made many.  My dad was at every basketball game, whether I played or coached them.  He was at every track meet, too.  The next day, at school, students would come up to me and ask about my dad.  When I bump into old friends or acquaintances from high school, they ask how my dad is doing, and I reply, "He's the same."  The school administration would call my Uncle Chunky's house to see if my dad was going to the high school games in order to beef up security.  He was the loudest, to say it lightly.  He said it was because I made him proud.
      I do not know if Nando ever had that feeling of someone being proud of him.  My guess is no.  I do not think anyone ever said those words to him, "I'm proud of you." Through his letters, the reader will see an insight, an insight that I did not fabricate or use my words to portray as his.  Nando was a very talented writer, among other things in which the reader will soon experience.  He loved animals, had a pet lizard he got for Christmas that kept him company.  He also had a turtle, cats, and a few dogs throughout his life.  
      Nando's troubles began in junior high when he started to disappear for days at a time. Nobody took the time to search for him. When I was at my Uncle Chunky's house, Nando was walking down the street.  He had been gone for a few days.  Monchi, his oldest brother, was upset.  He grabbed Nando by the back of his shirt and dragged him in the house. I don't know what happened or the talk they had.  The door was shut, and I was standing outside.  I do not know where he went or who he had been with.  I am not sure if anyone knew because when he was questioned, he did not answer.  Nando was in and out of jail, and then jail eventually became prison. Many family members expected this from him, expected him to go back in once he came out.  And he did.  He was not stupid.  He knew the consequences of his actions. I often wondered if he purposely chose to go back to prison.  
      His last time out, as a free man, the cops surrounded Uncle Chunky's truck, pointed their guns and had everyone come out and lie on the street.  Nando was on parole at the time, and that is when he was sentenced to five years in prison for possession of drugs.  The last time we were together, we went bar hopping at local dive bars in downtown with his sisters, brothers, and Uncle Chunky.  We had a lot of fun, laughing, sharing stories, clinking our beer mugs, and tequila shots, salud. At the end of the night, I took Nando's hand and danced with him in the streets, showing him some ballet folklorico steps my dad taught me when I was a little girl.
     To the reader, I share not only the stories of Nando and me growing up, but the relationship Nando had with the rest of our family.  His letters were written over a four-year period, letters I still have and hold dear.  Our book is a combination of two voices, two different points of view on life, hardships, redemption, mistakes, forgiveness, and change.  Nando paints himself as a person, not a felon, as society placed that label on him.  Nando will always be missed, always be loved.  With our book, Nando makes me proud.  I hope you feel the same

From the Inside Flap:

LETTER FROM NANDO: 

It's true what they say, "You never truly know what you have until it's gone."  Sometimes losing something really opens your eyes, though. It can be a trip sometimes to find out how you can relate to others around you, whether they are young or old. It's usually someone you wouldn't expect.  I used to feel trapped, like when I was younger, and I would be home alone.  Or even when I would be the only kid at the house. It happened often, at times. Pretty weird, considering I have three sisters and two brothers; just goes to show how much everyone liked being out of that house, away from everyone else.  My dad is a good example 'till this day.   

Sometimes, we might think what is best isn't, and sometimes, we might be confused all in one, while trying to gain happiness, only to make the wrong decision, causing us to lose sight of what happiness lies ahead.  It is something so simple, sometimes we're even unable to notice or find it.  Then, when we do notice, it is gone, just like that.
 
It's crazy that someone can be here one day and gone the next. There are very few things that are certain and death is one of them. You can't run or hide from it because if it wants you, it will get you.  I'm sure things will get easier eventually and not just for you, but for me, too.  We just got to keep hope alive no matter how hard things get or how depressing things may seem.  We got to continue to power through the strife.  We will most certainly die one day, but until that time comes, we must continue to live our lives, live our lives how we want to, live our life to the fullest, live our life hopeful and fearless.  Even though at times, we may not be the wisest, we must always survive the nonsense, the craziness, the weariness, and the darkness.  For we are not certain of what lies ahead, but no matter what it is, we must live through it and overcome it, in order to make it through life.  Stay strong because I'm going to do the same.

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