Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Speedbumps

You Got Nothing Coming: Notes from a Prison Fish

Posted on

Jimmy A. Lerner, You Got Nothing Coming: Notes from a Prison Fish

You Got Nothing Coming: Notes from a Prison Fish

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Jimmy A. Lerner
publisher:
Broadway Books
genre:
Nonfiction

We gave it a B+

In another lifetime, Jimmy A. Lerner was a middle-aged middle-management type; his cubicle at the phone company literally faced that of Scott Adams, the man who would eventually chronicle the dreary workaday life in ”Dilbert.” But then the 47-year-old father of two befriended a drug addict and their twisted relationship ended in a drunken night of rage. Lerner was sent down a two-to-twelve sentence for voluntary manslaughter at a Nevada state penitentiary. Its nightmare of violence and noise is a familiar one, as seen in any brutal hour of ”Oz,” but You Got Nothing Coming: Notes From a Prison Fish also depicts the remnants of humanity that lie within, like the lifer who keeps a cat and a chess board in his cell. In the epigraphs that begin the book’s three sections, Lerner quotes Dante and Nietzsche. But the ”dawgs” he meets in prison have their own sense of hell-bound poetry, a language drenched in anger and the fear of regret.