Book Review: Breakfast at Bronzefield by Sophie Campbell

Breakfast at Bronzefield
by Sophie Campbell

Publication date: June 12th 2020
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 368


Summary:

HMP Bronzefield, the UK’s largest women’s prison: notorious for bent screws and drugs:

But what’s the truth behind the headlines?

Forced into signing an NDA when she arrived there on remand, former public schoolgirl Sophie risked extra time on her sentence by documenting her experiences of life inside.

Backed up by recent research and statistics, Breakfast at Bronzefield offers a powerful glimpse into a world few see: riots; unethical medical prescribing; and prison barons – key figures behind prostitution and drug-smuggling.

In a world where anything goes and being rehabilitated simply means saying ‘sorry’ right up until you’re released, how will Sophie cope on the outside, where she is expected to play by different rules? Will she succeed in creating the life she wants? Or, like most prisoners, will she end up back where she started?

‘Fascinating and provocative.’ LoveReading UK

‘Powerfully written… you give me hope.’ Dame Sally Coates

‘Eye-opening, thoughtful and determined. A thoroughly engaging piece of work that will challenge what you think you know about prisons and prisoners.’ Dr. Lamiece Hassan

Source: Goodreads


Thoughts:

I’m a huge fan of prison stories, both true and fictional, so was really looking forward to reading more about Sophie Campbell’s time in a couple of the UK’s female prisons.

Following a GBH conviction, “Breakfast at Bronzefield” follows Sophie from start to finish during a two year stint inside HMP Bronzefield, the largest women’s prison in Europe.

What I liked most about this book is how honest it is, as the author certainly doesn’t hold back. It’s full of gritty stories about the mental health of women she has encountered, about the drugs they took, the violence that broke out between them all and even her own admission of wrong doing when standing up for her rights.

All of this is supported by fact and there’s some really interesting statistics in these pages so it’s clear that this work was well researched. I was particularly interested to read about the lack of educational opportunities and general lack of support for women in prison. It was also really eye-opening for me to hear about the UK system as so often the stories I hear are from the US.

I’m a little torn with this though, as while I did find it really interesting and learned a lot from them, I felt that the facts that were included did take away a little of the personality from this memoir and at times it was a less enjoyable read because of this. I also felt that it was a little long, but that’s my criticism for most books to be honest!

Overall rating: “Breakfast at Bronzefield” is a honest, candid look at life in a female prison. Highlighting some of the hidden truths behind locked doors, this was a really interesting, educational read – an enjoyable 3 stars for me!

Thank you to the author Sophie Campbell for sending me a pre-release copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


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