When Keri Blakinger first made big headlines, it wasn’t for a good reason. She was a former figure skater turned heroin addict, charged with a second-degree felony for having about $50,000 worth of the drug.

She’s now a staff writer with the Marshall Project, covering prisons and jails.

So how did Blakinger get from point A to point B? Or, really, from point A (skater) to B (felon) to C (respected journalist)?

That’s what she writes about in her memoir Corrections in Ink, which came out last year. She details her skating career (she reached nationals in pairs skating), eating disorder, attempted suicide, drug addiction, life behind bars, and how she found sobriety and journalism.

Parts of the book, especially about Blakinger early life, reminded me of the work of Caroline Knapp (RIP), specifically Drinking: A Love Story and Appetites: Why Women Want. All three books address trying to fill a gap in their lives with someone else, whether that was alcohol, drugs, or trying to wrest control of something by beating up their bodies through food or lack thereof.

They’re all engrossing but tough reads, and I don’t recommend them if things like descriptions of food rituals and/or disordered eating are a trigger for you. Maybe set them aside for now, and read Knapp’s Pack of Two about dogs, or Blakinger’s work at the Marshall Project, which is having a real impact on the lives of inmates, for now instead.

Corrections In Ink isn’t perfect. I felt at times that Blakinger was holding back when writing about her parents, and it seems that they have a tenuous relationship that she might not want to disrupt (and as someone who wrote a memoir: I get it, but it felt like something was missing here). That doesn’t mean not to read it, especially if you’re concerned about this country’s often cruel criminal justice system and absurd incarceration practices.

Nail polish: Willa by Zoya.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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