Sweet Hell on Fire by Sara Lunsford

Sweet Hell on Fire

As a corrections officer at an all-male maximum security prison, Sara Lunsford worked with the worst of the worst, from serial killers to white supremacists. She knew that at the end of every day, she had to try and shed the memories of the horrors she had witnessed in order to live a happy existence. But the darkness invaded every part of her life. And dealing with a stressful divorce and a mother sucumbing to cancer led her to a complete immers...


Details Sweet Hell on Fire

TitleSweet Hell on Fire
ISBN9781402270765
Author
Release DateNov 1st, 2012
PublisherSourcebooks
LanguageEnglish
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction
Rating

Reviews Sweet Hell on Fire

  • Meghan
    1970-01-01
    This had the potential to be a much better book. The experiences that Lunsford lived through were genuinely fascinating but the story was hampered by a narrative voice that relied too heavily on cliches, posturing and self-justifications. More descriptive writing, stronger characterizations and more specificity overall would have heightened the drama and created more incentive for readers to become emotionally invested in the addiction-to-redempt...
  • Randal White
    1970-01-01
    I found that this book brought back a flood of memories. Like Lunsford, I worked in Corrections, 21+ years for the Federal Government. I began my career with them as a Correctional Officer, and worked my way up through the ranks to a long-sought retirement. I was also a second generation law enforcement professional, and also had a legendary father to try to measure up to. I experienced many of situations Lunsford had with inmates, including some...
  • K.A. Laity
    1970-01-01
    Wow. I’m not usually much of a memoir reader — a market that’s been done to death — but I fully recommend this one if you want to know just how much horror a person can go through and still emerge whole, better and truly triumph. This isn’t some suburban tale of boohoo cruel words. Lunsford’s account of being a prison guard while her life fell apart is harrowing from beginning to end, delivering an extra sucker punch just before redem...
  • Kathryn
    1970-01-01
    I don't know if having met the author has swayed me on this story, but it was a great read. I really feel her demons being excised here. This is not a light, fun read either. It's gritty and down and dirty. You're going to feel it between your teeth and toes for a bit.
  • Cassie Gutman (happybooklovers)
    1970-01-01
    I really enjoyed reading about the author's experience as a female maximum security prison officer. While there were parts toward the end (re: therapy) I didn't agree with, I do realize this is a memoir so is this author's experience, and it was interesting to see how she overcame and dealt with extreme sexism, tragedy, and hardships in her life.
  • Jaclyn Roche
    1970-01-01
    I just spent the last three days being taken on an emotional roller coaster through a year in the life of Sara Lunsford, a correctional officer who overcame herself and a traumatic incident. She came out stronger on the other side of that year despite life trying to knock her down. I straight up ugly cried at least four times throughout the memoir and laughed more than I could count. There were points while reading that I wished that I could reac...
  • Freda Mans-Labianca
    1970-01-01
    Detailed and gritty!Look, I know some of you are looking at the description or cover and thinking, "there's no way I'd read that, it's not my tastes." Well, get out of your comfort zone, and read it anyway! There is an amazing story to be heard right here. This lady, Sara, went through hell and back within a year, and not only became a better person, but changed her whole being. She's strong, confident, smart, and you root for her every step of t...
  • Cheryl
    1970-01-01
    Sweet Hell on Fire, indeed. The writing is excellent; Sara Lunsford's experiences are laid bare to her readers.It is horrifying what she survived inside and outside of those prison walls.While majorities of women have never been, and will never be, correctional officers, Sara still has a message that all women need. We can be free from our own prisons, “You define you.”It is my dream to find that same courage. In reading Sara's book, I discov...
  • Donna
    1970-01-01
    This is an amazing story of coming out the other side, of making the decision to be happy. There are two parts to this story work and the rest of her life. This book takes you through a pivotal year in the author’s life. Sara is a strong and effective correctional officer. Sara is also a young mother struggling with her inner demons. This story tells of her struggles and will leave you feeling better about the world. I could totally relate to t...
  • Leah Hallow
    1970-01-01
    What an amazing story! I couldn't put this book down! Poignant, humorous, thoughtful-all describe this memoir. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the prison system, gender politics, or needing a good, smart laugh!
  • Jene
    1970-01-01
    Why did a publisher put this book out? No offense to Ms. Lunsford but her story just didn't impress me or surprise me. I have known people in prison with far more graphic stories, and I have known addicts and alcoholics with far more tragic tales (eventually she even states she isn't an alcoholic, she just drank a lot).
  • Tara West
    1970-01-01
    One of the best books I've read in a very long time. I think every woman should read this. Sara Lunsford is an inspiration.
  • Nicholas Leggett
    1970-01-01
    sooooo bleh.
  • Crystal-Rain Love
    1970-01-01
    Most memoirs are by people telling you how great they are, or making excuses for their behavior. This memoir is a hard, bold and brutally honest review of a very dark part of the author's life. It was an extremely graphic look at what happens behind prison walls as well, one I had to take in small doses because wow... I wasn't expecting this book to be pretty, but I also wasn't emotionally or mentally prepared for what lay between these pages. Th...
  • Dana Delamar
    1970-01-01
    Damn, I could NOT put this book down! By turns fascinating, shocking, and harrowing (with a fair amount of black humor), this memoir makes you feel like you were there, walking beside Lunsford as she went about her duties at the prison. Lunsford does not spare herself -- the good, the bad, the ugly, and the downright heartbreaking all come out onto the page. A remarkable portrait of someone doing a damn difficult job and doing it well, at very hi...
  • Jessica
    1970-01-01
    I read this for a book club. What a waste! The storyteller is so braggadocios that it makes it hard to believe anything she says. It feels like page after page of posturing with very little actual storytelling. She seems to think she is the only person on Earth who is not an idiot and treats people as such. This had a lot of potential but, it just never made it. I finished it because I felt like I had too in order to speak in an educated fashion ...
  • Darla
    1970-01-01
    I LOVED THIS BOOK. IT SHOWS HOW THE HUMAN SPIRIT CAN SURVIVE TRAUMA AND COME OUT THE OTHER SIDE AND BE WHOLE. IT MAKES YOU LAUGH, IT MAKES YOU CRY AND MAKES YOU TAKE A LONG LOOK AT YOURSELF. FOR MANY YOU WILL BE ABLE TO EMPATHIZE AND WALK SOME OF THE SAME ROADS. THE AUTHOR IS A COURAGEOUS WOMAN AND SOMEONE YOU WOULD BE PROUD TO CALL FRIEND. I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS STORY TO ALL OF MY FRIENDS TO READ.
  • Deborah Hall
    1970-01-01
    An enjoyable read, easy on the brain, not a easy subject. Not an easy life.
  • Denise
    1970-01-01
    Very gritty and straight forward. Not for the faint of heart
  • Alyssa Yates
    1970-01-01
    I'm not usually much of a memoir reader, but I fully recommend this one if you want to know just how much horror a person can go through and still emerge whole, better and truly triumph. This isn't some suburban tale of a cruel words. Lunsford's account of being a prison guard while her life fell apart is harrowing from beginning to end, delivering an extra sucker punch just before redemption. From the first burning image of trying to clean brain...
  • Karyl
    1970-01-01
    I admit that part of the reason I didn't particularly like this book is it reminded me of a woman I know that I don't particularly care for, so that colored my views. But I also think there should be a limit on how many times one should be allowed to drop the F-bomb in one book. I'm not a prude; that's not the problem. I understand that there is a ton of profanity between inmates and correctional officers, so any time she quoted herself or an inm...
  • Vivi Dumas
    1970-01-01
    Sometimes it's frightening when life imitates art and the monsters from the pages or screens appear in real life. Sweet Hell on Fire is a raw, eye-opening looking into a year in the life of correctional office turned writer, Sara Lunsford. I have to applaud Ms. Lunsford's bravery at laying out her world for all to see. It can't be easy to expose one's open wounds to be scrutinized by readers, to allow strangers into your intimate thoughts and fea...
  • BRNTerri
    1970-01-01
    I've been interested in nonfiction, specifically true crime, since the mid-1990s and jumped at the chance to review this. I like reading and watching shows about the darker side of life. I thought it would be real interesting to read about working in the prison system from a woman's point of view.The book was everything I thought it would be- disturbing and disgusting. Did I mention the cup of semen Sara found in an inmate's cell? The author's na...
  • Bethany
    1970-01-01
    Books about prison fascinate me. It's a whole culture and lifestyle that I cannot wrap my mind around, and honestly that's probably not a bad thing. I like books about prisons and prisoners...written by CO's, inmates or former inmates, I'm not fussy, I just like the insight.This book appeased my guilty pleasure in that it definitely offered up some insight as to what life is like inside those walls. The problem I had with this book is that I stru...
  • Caitlin
    1970-01-01
    Sweet Hell on Fire is one of the best memoirs I've read this year. It is in all ways funny, insightful, gripping, educational, and just plain inspiring. Ms. Lunsford is brutally honest about her years as a corrections officer, giving us a glimpse into a world most of us will never see from either side of the bars. Her story is rich in detail and she is not afraid to tell even the worst, most embarassing parts of it.Having been one of the few wome...
  • Chloë Yates
    1970-01-01
    Honest and inspiring. Talking about "narrative arcs" and "storytelling voice" in relation to a memoir like this is redundant, not to mention somehow snarkily oblivious, if you will. This is life lived (almost) one day at a time. You don't get arcs in life, you just get life. Lunsford's account of her year is brutal and you get a no holds barred sense of a quest for self - or, more appropriately, the regaining of self - whether she thought she wan...
  • Chloe
    1970-01-01
    I won this from Goodreads first reads.This is an insightful and mostly interesting look into how life is for both convicts and officers in modern prisons. Sara shows us a year in her life coping with the stress and horror of dealing with inmates five days a week.I find most memoirs pretty boring, but this has captivating tidbits every few pages that kept me engaged. The strongest parts of Sweet Hell on Fire are the stories and experiences Sara ha...
  • Joy
    1970-01-01
    I enjoyed reading this book. Sara tells it like it is , takes no crap from anyone.. She is a very strong woman. I'm not brave enough to do her job but thank god for her and others that are able to work in the prisons and keep us safe .. It takes very strong people to do her job. Her stories will make you laugh out loud. I was sadden and angry about the scariest night of her life ~ nobody should be treated the way she was by law enforcement just b...
  • Dottie Hill
    1970-01-01
    Lunsford spins a gut-wrenching, truthful tale about her own personal Hell and how it was undeniably intertwined with the Hell inside of a Kansas prison. While she slashes open the outer layers of her own life she also brings prison life to the forefront, depicting the evils of gangs, drugs, and sex with inmates. While Lunsford was an outstanding officer, promoted before she left to pursue her dreams and never once crossed the line when it came to...
  • Cari
    1970-01-01
    This is a great book. Reading it was like sitting down with a friend and a cup of coffee. Next thing I knew, the conversation was over, but I was changed. Though Sara's stories of the prison may not have been unique to only her (any CO will tell you a lot of these stories), it was the way she told them that made the book interesting. Her witty humor, the bluntness of it all- it just drew me in. Her world was falling apart before she took The Job....