The Slumber Party from Hell, the book Sue Ellen Allen published in 2011, seems like an intimate chat with an old chum. It’s a book that is more like an overheard
conversation. You feel you’re intruding but you can’t stop listening.
In this well written work, The Slumber Party from Hell puts the spotlight on the Arizona prison system that is penalizing, but not rehabilitating its inmates.
Allen says it took her seven years in prison to realize the Arizona prisons are part of the problem as they focus narrowly on penalizing and punishing our prison population. She believes her life has changed completely from this experience of dealing with breast cancer as a prisoner, as well as the unnecessary death of her friend and roommate Gina to cancer while she too was in prison.
Allen knew it was the end of the world as she had known it once she stepped in to that life and she was determined to make the best of it.
Allen puts some of her self-made power to work by being a leader and role model while behind bars by volunteering her expertise and ideas learned on the outside as a professional woman and community leader. She helps many of the younger women who are struggling develop themselves within the confines of an unfair and unjust prison system.
She also attempts to shrink the negative impact of prison for herself and her fellow inmates by starting programs positive in nature. This is no easy feat because most of the rules are unrealistic and frustrating at best.
Although often her writing leaves you wishing things were not as she describes them, you find joy and humor in the small things she celebrates during those seven years of incarceration.
You are able to decipher what is really going on in some of the chaos and craziness to make a little sense of the journey, but in most areas to no avail. It is what it is and the few gems in the story are Sue Ellen herself, along with a couple of her friends – inside and out.
This is a story of a few founders of the truth in a world where innocence and beauty do not exist. Some readers will be engaged by Allen’s fierce convictions and continuous mentions of hope and gratitude for the lessons she is learning and the person she is becoming.
Others will be turned off by the blatant honesty of life in the Arizona prison system and the horrors she witnessed. But throughout it all, you will find humor and humanness to admire just as I did. You will find respect for her in your own way and you will surely be grateful for your life just the way it is today.
This week she is celebrating three years since her release March 18, 2009. She celebrated 10 years cancer free on Valentine’s Day, Feb 14, 2012.
Patricia L. Brooks [email protected]
President/Founder – Scottsdale Society of Women Writers
President/Owner – Brooks Goldmann Publishing, LLC
Author – Gifts of Sisterhood www.amzn.com/B006MLA91Q