Filled with the local colour of life in rural North Carolina between the 1950s and 1970s, Doing Time is a poignant – and at times humorous – story of multi-generational trauma and abuse, and the journey of the human spirit to healing and redemption.
Doing Time is the compelling, true-to-life story of a young woman, Annabel Lee, who is wrongly convicted and imprisoned for a crime committed by her wayward husband. Beginning before her birth, the story opens in the rural American South of the 1950s, and tracks the brutal relationship into which Annabel Lee is born. As she grows, Annabel Lee cannot escape the cycle of violence and abuse that surrounds her. Naively, she elopes with her teenaged lover in the vain hope for an escape from her cruel past, only to discover that she has entered upon an equally harrowing stint in a women’s prison. In the unlikely fellowship behind bars, and through her relationships with inmates, staff and particularly the prison’s chaplain, Annabel Lee courageously moves from the scarred existence as a victim to the life of a survivor.
I’ve also written my reflections about writing Doing Time.
What others are saying about Doing Time
“I found the setting in the 1950s, the 1960s and the 1970s intriguing, culminating I suppose in 1976 USA. You offer a full account of North Carolina and this I did find fascinating, rather like the USA of TV series but much more genuine because the three main characters had three dimensions. The women’s prison was an eye-opener and it did seem to be a realistic picture. What was best about it was the range of bit parts, the many different women prisoners with their own characteristics… Anyway, thanks for a good story and lots of intriguing characters!”Dr Michael Honeybone, Norwich, England
“As a clinical social worker and psychotherapist in North Carolina for the past 35 years, I have seen many families with the tragic dynamics of violence, alcoholism and shame which are so aptly described in this poignant first novel. Jack Lawson, who has served as a prison chaplain and pastoral counselor, writes convincingly about how the hopes and dreams of young women in this era were controlled by the men in their lives. This is a book that will capture your mind and heart, as you laugh and cry with Annabel Lee on her journey towards self-worth and love.”Louise W. Coggins, LCSW, BCD
In 2014, my son decided to make a short film from a slice of Doing Time. It was his final project for his honours degree at London Southbank University. Although the setting and period of time have been changed, he has done a very credible job. But read the book first!