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When Ron Decker is convicted of selling narcotics, he winds up in San Quentin. Earl Copen, a long-time resident, takes him under his wing. As friendship buds between the men, can Ron stay alive long enough to get paroled?Prison life has always held a strange fascination for me. By most accounts, The Animal Factory is one of the better prison novels.Written during one of his prison stints, Edward Bunker crafts a tale of two men trying to get by in San Quentin. Not surprisingly, it carries an air
”The trouble with being a criminal is that you get two bad breaks--mistake, luck, whatever--and you’ve blown a couple of decades. I’ll be nearly forty when I get out and what else can I do to catch up except put a hacksaw blade to a shotgun and run off into a bank or something?” There was a movie version based on this book that came out in 2000 with Willem Dafoe playing Earl Copen and Edward Furlong playing Ronald Decker. Ronald Decker is a successful drug dealer. Some would say he is even s...
Modest little 200-page novel about the friendship that develops between two convicts- one in his late 30s, having spent most of his life in prison, and the other in his early 20s, having reached a bit too far for the good life- within the walls of San Quentin. It feels a bit like a workshop novel- let's balance plot, character and dialogue, you can imagine Bunker thinking, hit all the right notes, and bring the plane in for a smooth landing. And I think that's generally in keeping with Bunker's
Eddie Bunker's thinly veiled autobiographical novel of his time in prison is a revelation of terse, authentic feeling, observational prose; a prison novel that doesn't glamourise its setting or apologise for its violence, he takes the detached yet constantly on guard attitude of the long serving criminal and infuses an entire novel with it forcing the reader to constantly suspect the worst. As such it's not an easy read, you find your shoulders tensing just waiting for an unnoticed shiv to come
Note to self, I won't be taken alive, stay out of prison.Written in '77 it was re-released in the last few years. A compelling and terrifying read. Middle-class drug dealer gets sent to San Quentin where he befriends hard con Earl. Essentially a story of how prison makes criminals hardened just so that they can survive. The story seems a bit dated and familiar, but that's probably because there have been many books, movies etc that have followed its footsteps.
i don't wanna go to no prison
His first published novel. A bleak tale of life inside a maximum security prison. It's not the Shawshank Redemption, it's the real deal.
PROTAGONIST: Earl Copen, inmateSETTING: San Quentin prisonRATING: 4.25WHY: Earl Copen has been in and out of San Quentin for about 18 years. He's come to know the place inside and out. He's respected inside and outside of his Brotherhood, including by some in authority. When a pretty boy drug dealer named Ron Decker is admitted, Earl becomes his mentor and protector. There a lot of incidents occurring daily. The one with the most impact on the narrative is the attempted rape of Ron. The portrait...
Fine prison novel from a writer who knows what he's talking about. Edward Bunker was a long-time, long-serving criminal who eventually cleaned up his act and went straight (writing novels, screenplays, and acting in numerous films (including Reservoir Dogs)). The ending is quietly heartbreaking because Bunker spends time getting readers to know and like Ron and Earl. Recommended.
This was ex-con Bunker's second novel, and to some extent his inexperience shows: there is unnecessary repetition, and the narrative is episodic. Since he actually did time in San Quentin one assumes the setting and action are fairly authentic, but there is an odd streak of romanticism running through it all. Do cons really sit in the Yard and read Teillard de Chardin? Do they really quote Milton and pass around copies of Dostoevsky? It's certainly a change from the countless lurid Hollywood mov...
This was the first book of his that I've read, and Bunker's style put me off slightly, in the beginning -- he seemed to be reaching in a pedantic way that called attention to the language, and thus got in the way of the plot. Good thing the plot steamrolls like a fucking 18-wheeler barreling down a mountain without jack brakes. The brutal imagery and complex tension between the main characters more than makes up for the occasional awkward construction here and there. Highly recommended for fans
The book is much better than the movie; you get a much better idea of why Ron and Earl strike up a friendship, and much greater awareness of why they Earl would risk it all to try a break out after so many years of comfortable existence in jail. Their dynamic is still really good – that awkward tension between Earl’s paternal and yet sexual desire for Ron, and Ron’s platonic love for Earl.
I very rarely give five-star reviews. This book deserves it: dark, gritty, true; it has it all.The author's personal experience gives him the edge, but it's his style of writing that takes that edge and goes so much further. Recommend.
Honesty, intelligence, momentum
Another good example of a worthwile prison-diary book.The first 60 to 80 pages were only so-so. Worth not more than three stars. The main reason for this, is the writing style of the author. The story didn’t really ‘flow’ in the first part of the book. But after that, the story became very good! Close to even five stars... So on average, I rate this book as a four star read.It was interesting to see that prison life in the 70’s wasn’t that much different as it is state-of-art nowadays. One can r...
"Fuck rehabilitation...it's a full-time job to stay alive." My background with prison books is small it includes Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and then the Green Mile. This books is in a different universe compared to those. It struck me as a plain Jane novel nothing really spectacular about it or nothing to write home about. Did I like it? Yeah, it was okay it served its purpose of entertaining me. I don't think I liked any of the characters at all. It really reminded me of Last Exit t...
Any book about San Quentin in the bad old days written by one who was there should be taken seriously. The words of Dostoyevsky - something about judging a society by how it treats its prisoners - were in the back of my mind as I read this. At the very least, we can judge that society’s legal system. Ours, in Bunker’s view, doesn’t come out smelling like a rose. At the same time, none of the cons in this book are innocent. They are human, though. That came across very clearly, and is, for me, a
Well written diary of life inside "the joint". Bunker lived it. After fifty pages or so, Bunker's behavior reflects the world of old thinking and recidivism that occurs as a result of a correctional facility culture that is a sad hypocrisy of the very word. Obviously, society and the law have shaped the convict's mind and outlook on life. Crime and hustling are the only options for a broken man that hasn't the willingness or the know how to turn elsewhere. The movie, meh. But this book is loaded...
The story gets to a bit of a slow start. But once it gets rolling it's a great prison story and I enjoyed it thoroughly. However, without spoiling anything the ending is just a little too abrupt and anticlimactic. I felt that part could've used at least a little more work. As somebody mentioned here in the reviews, at least an epilogue of some sort would've been nice. But, if you like reading about prisons and inmates, go get this book.
Simple writing that makes events appear more brutal than they are themselves, with some nice touches of sophistication (vocabulary, elegance, references to other authors). Good tension all the way to the end.The themes could have been expended and explored more. The ending feels either too open in preparation for a sequel or rushed.
Fascinating story of life in one of the world's most notorious prisonsHugely enjoyable read, populated with believable characters. From a man who has been there! Bunker paints a lavish account of prison, and it's inhabitants. Excellent!
It was okay. I got caught up by the end, and thought that it really got stronger as it went. So I was glad I stuck it out. Seemed to me unlikely that Ron and Earl wouldn't have had a more intimate relationship. I just didn't feel like it was honest. Possibly, this is just my deal though.
I never want to go to prison. Not that I wanted to in the first place.
This was excellent! Now I'm going to want to read everything he wrote!
First Bunker book I've read. Excited to read more.
Great story. Really liked it. Prison = hell.
great book read it because Mr blue was so good.
Within the first ten pages of this book I knew that Ed Bunker had himself spent time in prison. No one could write such bold realistic scenes about that environment unless they have been there. I was not a Born Again believer at the time, so honestly I enjoyed reading this book. Jails and prisons are animal factory's. I prefer to call them human warehouses where violence and hate is the only form of communication that is constant and understood. This book was made into a movie I believe, and Du
My first crack at Edward Bunker was a very rewarding one. I know some folks consider him a seminal crime writer but I had no real expectations walking into this. Bunker's a great story teller. His language is mostly simple but he certainly fancies himself a wordsmith at times. Ron Decker is a white collar drug dealer who winds up being convicted and sent to San Quentin, where he meets a variety of characters, but the story revolves around his relationship with Earl Copen, a seasoned and hardened...
This is a prison story, and sort of a love story, without too many of the details a straight male reader might hope to skip in a prison love story. A young, ‘pretty’ drug dealer is busted and is befriended by a wise old con who does his best to look out for him during their mutual stint in San Quentin. There is great insight into the paranoia, tension, and inside dealings that go on in the various levels of prison life - from the sweetest livin’ cell blocks to the hole.And of course, after 18 ye...