5 Stars: "Prison is no Fairytale."
With A Bastard's Indie Book Review I carefully select books I want to read and from the description and sometimes the cover I like to anticipate that I will end up enjoying the book and writing a review. Reviews are essential for all authors out there trying to tell the world about their book, their insights on life, education with entertainment, whisking you away to another life, the more you relate, the more real it is to you. Beyond the Spiral Gates by Mutch Katsonga is the book that I relate to, as the narrator tells his truth a coming of age that reads more like a war journal but for boys. I say relatable because I saw glimpses of this institutionalized world with its foundation called foster care from my own life and what I shared in "Life of a Bastard" and from those that were left behind on "the battlefield," so many friends gone and lost forever, institutionalized.
Beyond the Spiral Gates's truly traumatized narrator reflects his life in Wicksfield, an institution for criminal boys, the writing will keep the reader invested in finding out what is this place. A reader could be naive that a situation like this could exist, but as Morgan Freeman once said "prison is no fairytale," knowing that I was once on that road of ending up in such a cold and loveless place unfit to reform, Wicksfield is all too real. The fast-paced and gripping narrative of Beyond the Spiral Gates adds to my appreciation that my coming of age didn't embark a prison stop. For the narrator, escaping Wicksfield and his religious tormentor's is the only logical answer from coping with isolation, exorcism, brutal abuse, and most likely a sad and lonely death. What about the dangerous criminal "boys"? The problem with our society is how do we properly reform "boys" when we have in the past created inhuman institutions run by sadists usual under the guise of GOD and country. Trust me I had a small taste of sadism in my coming of age, and from that, I never view it as reforming for the better, but a way to make a Frankenstein. The narrator's escape's plan becomes the battlefield with fellow soldiers, dangerous woods, hunting dogs, feverish guards waiting to get their hands on those who dare to flee from a house of horrors.
Mutch Katsonga explores human nature, spirituality, morality, and what kicked me in the heart is the betrayal that narrator felt a shared experience where you end up on the edge of insanity and eventually hitting rock bottom. I want a book to make me feel emotionally invested, angry, hopeful, and sometimes a sinister joy of the sadist or bullies getting theirs. I highly recommend Beyond the Spiral Gates by Mutch Katsonga as a significant and fresh coming of age story.