Mike Tyson Slept Here by Chris Huntington, Boaz Publishing Co., 2011,202 pp.
When I first read the title of Chris Huntington's novel, Mike Tyson Slept Here, I immediately began reminiscing about my celebrity "guest" in the 1990s, James Brown of "I Feel Good" fame. I'm relatively certain that my reaction would be the same for many corrections professionals; many people of note have "spent time" with us regardless of their socioeconomic status. Chris Huntington, winner of the third Fabri Literacy Prize for this novel, has spent almost 10 years working for the Indiana Department of Correction. He notes that most of his adult writing falls into one of two categories--his experiences in prison and his experiences of adoption and fatherhood.
May has arrived, and 22-year-old Brant Gilmour, recently graduated from college, takes a job teaching GED classes at Plainfield Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison outside Indianapolis housing nonviolent offenders to include drug dealers, housebreakers and sex offenders. Other characters include: Isa Boone, another teacher with whom Gilmour has a relationship; Officer Englehart, who is eventually terminated for trafficking; Marie Simmons, a nurse who is sued for giving the wrong dosage of medicine to the wrong inmate; John Winston, another correctional officer; and, of course, the offenders. A few "free world" people are also included, but their stories all connect with the prison and with Gilmour.
While this novel mainly follows the protagonist and his experiences while working in a prison, it is also interspersed with stories of other people within or connected to the prison system, and...