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Today, Donna Hylton is a groundbreaking advocate for criminal justice reform–she was a featured speaker at the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, and she works hand-in-hand with other influential voices such as Eve Ensler, Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow), and Rosario Dawson to ensure prison safety and to end mass incarceration in the US. In fact, Dawson has signed on Today, Donna Hylton is a groundbreaking advocate for criminal justice reform–she was a featured speaker at the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, and she works hand-in-hand with other influential voices such as Eve Ensler, Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow), and Rosario Dawson to ensure prison safety and to end mass incarceration in the US. In fact, Dawson has signed on to play Hylton in a movie that’s in development now. But in 1986, Hylton experienced prison from the inside when she was sentenced to 25 years-to-life for kidnapping and second-degree murder. Like so many women before her and so many women yet to come, her life had been a nightmare of abuse that left her feeling alone and convinced of her worthlessness. With her sentencing, it seemed that Donna had reached the end–at age 19, due to her own mistakes and bad choices, her life was over. But behind the bars of Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, alongside this generation’s most infamous female criminals, Donna learned to fight — and then, to thrive. For the first time in her life, she realized that she was not alone in the abuse and misogyny that she experienced; as she bonded with her new sisters, she discovered that her pain was not an anomaly, but a commonality among women from all walks of life. It’s a reality that she has since vowed to change. Since her release in 2012, Donna has emerged as a leading advocate for criminal justice reform and women’s rights who speaks with politicians, violent abusers, prison officials, victims, and students to tell her story. But it’s not her story alone, she is quick to say. She also represents the stories of thousands of women who are unable to speak for themselves because they’ve been silenced, imprisoned, or killed.


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Today, Donna Hylton is a groundbreaking advocate for criminal justice reform–she was a featured speaker at the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, and she works hand-in-hand with other influential voices such as Eve Ensler, Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow), and Rosario Dawson to ensure prison safety and to end mass incarceration in the US. In fact, Dawson has signed on Today, Donna Hylton is a groundbreaking advocate for criminal justice reform–she was a featured speaker at the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, and she works hand-in-hand with other influential voices such as Eve Ensler, Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow), and Rosario Dawson to ensure prison safety and to end mass incarceration in the US. In fact, Dawson has signed on to play Hylton in a movie that’s in development now. But in 1986, Hylton experienced prison from the inside when she was sentenced to 25 years-to-life for kidnapping and second-degree murder. Like so many women before her and so many women yet to come, her life had been a nightmare of abuse that left her feeling alone and convinced of her worthlessness. With her sentencing, it seemed that Donna had reached the end–at age 19, due to her own mistakes and bad choices, her life was over. But behind the bars of Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, alongside this generation’s most infamous female criminals, Donna learned to fight — and then, to thrive. For the first time in her life, she realized that she was not alone in the abuse and misogyny that she experienced; as she bonded with her new sisters, she discovered that her pain was not an anomaly, but a commonality among women from all walks of life. It’s a reality that she has since vowed to change. Since her release in 2012, Donna has emerged as a leading advocate for criminal justice reform and women’s rights who speaks with politicians, violent abusers, prison officials, victims, and students to tell her story. But it’s not her story alone, she is quick to say. She also represents the stories of thousands of women who are unable to speak for themselves because they’ve been silenced, imprisoned, or killed.

30 review for A Little Piece of Light: A Memoir of Hope, Prison, and a Life Unbound

  1. 5 out of 5

    Darcia Helle

    I'm not one to sit in judgement of someone else's life, nor am I qualified to assess the truthfulness of another person's story. And, yet, it's impossible to review this book without, in some way, judging both the person and the facts she shares. My truth is that I found this story difficult, if not impossible, to believe. Donna Hylton claims to have been abused emotionally, physically, and sexually by every single person who crossed her path during her childhood and young adult years. It was si I'm not one to sit in judgement of someone else's life, nor am I qualified to assess the truthfulness of another person's story. And, yet, it's impossible to review this book without, in some way, judging both the person and the facts she shares. My truth is that I found this story difficult, if not impossible, to believe. Donna Hylton claims to have been abused emotionally, physically, and sexually by every single person who crossed her path during her childhood and young adult years. It was simply too much. The abuse began with her birth mother. In fact, Hylton shares vivid memories from as far back as the age of 3. A stretch for me, but I wanted to believe her story. Then she comes to the US, where she is emotionally abused by her adoptive mother and sexually abused by her adoptive father. From there, her sexual abusers include: a female babysitter, her male teacher, a neighborhood man who impregnates her, an older man who kidnapped her, a minister, and a police detective she went to for help. We are repeatedly told how beautiful she was, as if that in itself is the reason every single person in her life wanted to rape her. No one, at any time, attempted to help this child. The school counselor even ignored her pleas. It's as if pedophiles and rapists surrounded her at every turn. Then, when she escapes all her abusers and has the baby daughter she claims to want to protect no matter what, she takes that baby and begs her abusive adoptive parents to take her and the baby in. Why would she subject her child to the same torment she'd endured? We are also repeatedly told, over and over and over, how brilliant she is. And, yes, she probably was a brilliant child. In fact, she supposedly won a full scholarship to a prestigious boarding school, which she didn't use because she ran away with the young man who abused her. I couldn't put together how a girl who ranked third overall in the nation could so easily slip from everyone's radar, with not one teacher or counselor taking an interest - unless it was to rape her. The sexual violence is graphic. For a book intended to offer hope, we have an abundance of extremely dark, detailed violence. Then we get to the part referencing her crime, for which she downplays and avoids responsibility. As with everything else in her life, she is the victim here. Her crime was not one of passion. She did not kill her abuser(s). Her claim, I think, is that past trauma made her vulnerable and led to her part in torture and murder. And, yes, I can understand how that could happen in certain circumstances. Abuse victims sometimes go on to abuse others. The culmination of everything, though, was too much for me. In prison, of course, she finds God and was saved. God seems to hang out a lot in prison, absolving sins and responsibility.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katie Fuller

    Please read this book. It will devastate you, and then it will lift and inspire you. Thank you to Donna for sharing her story. The more I work around issues of women and incarceration, the more I understand that the act of storytelling and sharing is actually quite radical. It forces us to look at the humanity we all share, teaching us that pain and suffering are universal, and that these emotions can lead us towards compassion and away from intolerance.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    This is a well written book. It's unbelievable how much this woman went through. This is a well written book. It's unbelievable how much this woman went through.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Janelle Bailey

    40: A Little Piece of Light: A Memoir of Hope, Prison, and a Life Unbound by Donna Hylton. Just wow. GO FIND A COPY RIGHT NOW, PLEASE. I’m serious. I don't give 5 stars to just any book, but I do when the writing is amazing and/or the story is. And this was most certainly one of the most important and most meaningful and most impactful books I have ever read. I cannot say whether it got that deeply into my head that I feel as I do...or whether Ms. Hylton’s story so invaded my heart and soul that 40: A Little Piece of Light: A Memoir of Hope, Prison, and a Life Unbound by Donna Hylton. Just wow. GO FIND A COPY RIGHT NOW, PLEASE. I’m serious. I don't give 5 stars to just any book, but I do when the writing is amazing and/or the story is. And this was most certainly one of the most important and most meaningful and most impactful books I have ever read. I cannot say whether it got that deeply into my head that I feel as I do...or whether Ms. Hylton’s story so invaded my heart and soul that it will be a while before I recover. It made me think about a lot. It made me realize how frequently I have bitten my lips...or cheeks...cringed in silence when I really wanted to speak...”taken the higher road” when my heart was breaking or broken, but I wasn’t allowed to say what I really thought or was feeling. I am so very happy for Hylton and her freedom, her ability to love...and all she is now doing and has for so long to help others. And I am so very proud of her for writing this important book. Everyone should read it. Really. Everyone...should read this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    thewanderingjew

    A Little Piece of Light, by Donna Hylton, Kristine Gasbarre, authors, Donna Hylton, narrator Reading this story about the life of Donna Hylton, forces one to suspend disbelief. The horrific life that she experienced from the first moment of her birth, defies reality. Raised for the first seven years by a mother who was not emotionally stable, she learned to have out of body experiences to survive. Then, at age seven, she was basically sold by her mother, and she was adopted by a couple from Ameri A Little Piece of Light, by Donna Hylton, Kristine Gasbarre, authors, Donna Hylton, narrator Reading this story about the life of Donna Hylton, forces one to suspend disbelief. The horrific life that she experienced from the first moment of her birth, defies reality. Raised for the first seven years by a mother who was not emotionally stable, she learned to have out of body experiences to survive. Then, at age seven, she was basically sold by her mother, and she was adopted by a couple from America. She was taken from Jamaica to the United States by strangers who promised her Disney and gave her a nightmare life instead. Exceptionally intelligent, she was also extraordinarily naive. She received a scholarship to a prestigious private school but never attended because over and over, she was abused physically and sexually and taken advantage of by people who had no morals, no standards of ethics and no right to be on the street, free. Yet she always found them, or they found her. She had no one to trust. Every authority figure she encountered, from law enforcement officers to ministers, who should have been her friend and moral compass, took advantage of her. Rape became common stance for her. When she was only 14, Donna ran away with a man 10 years her senior who promised to help her to get away from her abusive adoptive father. However, Alvin turned out to be just as abusive as Roy had been. After bearing his child, while still a child herself, her life took on a different meaning. She was filled with love for Adrienne and wanted only to provide for her and prevent her from having the same kind of life that she had experienced. She wanted to protect her. However, she was already on a downward trajectory and the descent could not be stopped. Donna got involved with the wrong people and she naively agreed to help them. Soon, she was in over her head. They threatened to harm Adrienne if she did not cooperate. Then the final blow was struck. She was implicated in a murder. Although she proclaimed her innocence, and there was no evidence of her having been present at the time, she was convicted as an accessory. Her sentence was 27 long years. Once again, she had failed to make the right decision. Over and over, throughout her life, Donna always blames herself and feels guilty for the situations in which she has been involved, in which she has been totally manipulated because she is not street smart. Her life in prison is fraught with danger and abuse, as well. In some cases, punishment is doled out so severely, it seems inhuman. Hopefully, her revelations and descriptions about the disgraceful things she experienced in prison and the abusive prison guards will bring about an improvement to these dreadful conditions, but it is bound to be a painfully slow process. While she is incarcerated, Donna educates herself and helps fellow inmates to do so as well. Early on, Pell grants are available to prisoners and she is able to take advantage of the program. She actually attains advanced degrees while serving her sentence. With the help of a nun that takes her under her wing, a woman she begins to think of as her mother, as someone who finally cares for her and doesn’t hurt her, Donna becomes interested in women’s issues. She soon devotes her life to prison reform and to helping women who are incarcerated. Reading this story will make one wonder how anyone could have survived what Donna went through and come out whole. As a youngster in Jamaica, she believed she could fly out of her body to avoid the abuse and pain that was inflicted upon her and in America, she did so for awhile as well. Perhaps, she, like her mother had a mental illness which went untreated, but which also helped her to survive. The prison system fails many of the women sent there. They are often jailed for crimes committed while defending themselves from abuse. Their sentences often seemed excessive. There was little compassion shown for their plight. Donna mentions the names of many famous prisoners with whom she shared her life in prison. However, few can come out and actually have a life after being in prison so long. Life in prison becomes more protected and safe for many of them than life on the outside. There is no support system that is strong enough to help them overcome the challenges they will face. Still, she devotes herself to helping them and has achieved great success, especially now, on the outside. When the reader realizes what the little piece of light represents, they will realize what Donna has had to overcome to survive and be in awe of her accomplishments.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Grant Cousineau

    At its heart, this is a memoir about accountability. Donna's childhood began with abuse, and after her adoption by a New York couple, with whom she'd spend the next eleven years of her life, she was surrounded by abuse, sexual assault, and rape at every turn. When her adoptive mother--who hardly expressed love toward Donna--didn't believe her stories about Donna's adoptive father and the things he did in the closet, she sentenced Donna to a life of misery. According to her account, Donna would l At its heart, this is a memoir about accountability. Donna's childhood began with abuse, and after her adoption by a New York couple, with whom she'd spend the next eleven years of her life, she was surrounded by abuse, sexual assault, and rape at every turn. When her adoptive mother--who hardly expressed love toward Donna--didn't believe her stories about Donna's adoptive father and the things he did in the closet, she sentenced Donna to a life of misery. According to her account, Donna would later also be raped by her math teacher, a detective, three random men when she was kidnapped for an entire week, and a man she put her faith in and ran away to Philadelphia with, only to find out he was worse than the rest, and would later be the father of her child. After returning to New York, she'd get mixed up with the mafia through a coworker, and play a role in the kidnapping and murder of a man blindfolded and restrained to his bed for days. (Coerced, she really had no choice.) Though she never did anything to kill the man herself, she didn't save him either, leading to her sentence of 25 years to life in prison, where she would be sexually assaulted repeatedly by a prison guard. Despite all this, prison would be both the worst and best thing to ever happen to her. In the era of #MeToo, and believing women, this is a challenging book, not only for its grisly, dark details, but to wrap your head around the amount of tragedy that befell Donna. It's almost as if she spent most of her young adult life surrounded by Harvey Weinsteins, with an amount of sexual abuse so inescapable that it could only be God's will. Other reviewers have found her story difficult to believe. Some believe her, but see her childhood as an excuse to skirt her own culpability in a major crime. As evidence, they point to the original trial, sentencing, and her failure to win any of her many appeals over the years. The challenge for a middle class white male such as myself is that this Hylton comes off as possibly the most abused person I've ever read about. It's like trying to imagine a trillion grains of rice--you vaguely understand, but not really. In any case, I don't think Hylton's purpose was to invoke pity for the crimes committed against her. Rather, it's about survival. It's about finding hope in a hopeless world. And in her prison time, she transformed her fear and anger and sadness into something purposeful--a cause, trying to help terminal inmates spend time with their families outside of prison before their death. It's about accepting our faults with grace and honesty, which she does by the end. Don't let other opinions get inside your head. This is a powerful story, told at a pivotal time in history. Despite her past, Hylton has managed to find the light in her extraordinary life.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stephan

    Once in a while, I check out a book that grabs me from the start. I don't plan for it to happen because it's often the book I grab on a whim. The concept of one woman's struggle against the prison system seemed catchy, but what I discovered was a whole other level of pain and sadness. The Jamaican born author was sold as a child to a "wealthy" couple residing in New York. From the age of 8, she was primed to be their servant and trophy kid. Her adoptive father, Roy, took to molesting her and her Once in a while, I check out a book that grabs me from the start. I don't plan for it to happen because it's often the book I grab on a whim. The concept of one woman's struggle against the prison system seemed catchy, but what I discovered was a whole other level of pain and sadness. The Jamaican born author was sold as a child to a "wealthy" couple residing in New York. From the age of 8, she was primed to be their servant and trophy kid. Her adoptive father, Roy, took to molesting her and her adoptive mother became the ruthless jealously queen who didn't want to upset her husband. Ms. Hylton had a chance as a teenager to escape the trauma through college scholarships earned by her skills on the running track, however, her "mother" couldn't possibly be bothered to drive her to the most important track event of her life. From this point, her life spirals out of control as no one believes her about her sexual abuse, and ultimately ends with her being caught up in a kidnapping that turned fatal. Ms. Hylton served 28 years for her part in a crime she didn't know was occurring. This book is a must read. It highlights the struggle many young women face when dealing with sexual predators, as well as, a jaded criminal justice system which harbors a unfair basis toward black people.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Linda Layne

    I was not sure what to expect from "A Little Piece of Light," when I first pulled it from the shelf. But as I skimmed over the first few pages, I felt pulled to check out Donna Hylton's work. I finished her book in just 2 and 1/2 days. "Piece of Light," is a page turner. It is filled with pain, suffering, frustration, and sorrow. But one of the aspects I liked about Ms. Hylton is her including how she found healing and her ability to connect with others. She was and is concerned with others in h I was not sure what to expect from "A Little Piece of Light," when I first pulled it from the shelf. But as I skimmed over the first few pages, I felt pulled to check out Donna Hylton's work. I finished her book in just 2 and 1/2 days. "Piece of Light," is a page turner. It is filled with pain, suffering, frustration, and sorrow. But one of the aspects I liked about Ms. Hylton is her including how she found healing and her ability to connect with others. She was and is concerned with others in her position. She wants to help others to heal, to find a way of escape a little more possible. She was faced with extreme hardship and Ms. Hylton is working with others to better the system as much as possible, despite the fact that the battle is far from easy. I would recommend "A Piece of Light" for anyone interested in memoirs or especially those interested in improving the lives of those imprisoned. Society - the outside world, has no idea what goes on behind the razor wire or the prison walls, so people need the voices of others like Donna Hylton to raise awareness and continue to work towards change.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Donna's story is worth reading for many reasons. From the very first sentence to the last, I admired how she was able to keep the focus on the points within her childhood that would ultimately seal her fate. Though the first half of the book left me in awe, the second half showed how Donna was able to embrace her prison community and excel socially and academically. Her story sheds light on the injustices abused girls face before they enter and as they grow into women from behind the walls of pr Donna's story is worth reading for many reasons. From the very first sentence to the last, I admired how she was able to keep the focus on the points within her childhood that would ultimately seal her fate. Though the first half of the book left me in awe, the second half showed how Donna was able to embrace her prison community and excel socially and academically. Her story sheds light on the injustices abused girls face before they enter and as they grow into women from behind the walls of prison. There is a lot of that should be explored, discussed, and acted on as a result of this book. This was a gripping read that features a bit of the ongoing work of Eve Ensler. Donna Hylton was a member of Eve’s women’s writing group at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, where she was able to explore more deeply the stories that led her to a 25 to life sentence. Ensler wrote the forward to the book. Donna is now a free woman and she continues to work as an advocate for women’s rights and prison reform.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    A Little Piece of Light by Donna Hylton is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early June. Biography of Donna, who's spent 27 years in prison after being an unwilling accomplice in some very harrowing mob dealings where her actions led to the death of a man held captive.  Her story begins when she is born in Jamaica to a mother with severe symptoms of bipolar disorder and is later sent to live with the Hylton family at nearly age 8.   She reads constantly, excels in school and track, but has an A Little Piece of Light by Donna Hylton is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early June. Biography of Donna, who's spent 27 years in prison after being an unwilling accomplice in some very harrowing mob dealings where her actions led to the death of a man held captive.  Her story begins when she is born in Jamaica to a mother with severe symptoms of bipolar disorder and is later sent to live with the Hylton family at nearly age 8.   She reads constantly, excels in school and track, but has an overarching theme in her life of being molested and raped by men in the guise of helping or praising her. In prison, she is c ounseled by Catholic sisters, retreats into childhood memories while in solitary confinement, shares kinship with other inmates, goes back to school, works to protect her daughter Adrienne when she learns she was also raped.  The last few chapters gel into a kind of resume when she is ordained as a minister in 2011 and released from prison in mid-January 2012.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jill Dobbe

    The true story of a young girl from Jamaica whose mother sold her to a neurotic and dysfunctional New York couple who physically and emotionally abused her. Her naivety and continual need for love and safety guided her toward more abusive and destructive relationships. While in her early 20's, the author's life goes haywire and she suddenly finds herself in prison, possibly for a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I made the mistake of looking her story up before I got too much The true story of a young girl from Jamaica whose mother sold her to a neurotic and dysfunctional New York couple who physically and emotionally abused her. Her naivety and continual need for love and safety guided her toward more abusive and destructive relationships. While in her early 20's, the author's life goes haywire and she suddenly finds herself in prison, possibly for a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I made the mistake of looking her story up before I got too much into the book. There are more negative accounts, than positive, about her role in the murder of a man she didn't even know and her release from prison, which may have clouded my perspective. However, her claim of finding friendship and a family in prison, while working for the rights of female prisoners has since turned her life around. Thank you Netgalley.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Freeman

    At first it's pretty hard to find any little piece of light in this memoir, as it seems that every adult in young Donna's life let her down in horrible ways. After being sentenced to 25 years to life for her involvement in a crime resulting in a man's death, Donna Hylton landed at Rikers Island and then Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Donna's fellow inmates, resilient spirit, religious faith and the love of some strong women, particularly a nun who became her true mom, encouraged Donna and At first it's pretty hard to find any little piece of light in this memoir, as it seems that every adult in young Donna's life let her down in horrible ways. After being sentenced to 25 years to life for her involvement in a crime resulting in a man's death, Donna Hylton landed at Rikers Island and then Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Donna's fellow inmates, resilient spirit, religious faith and the love of some strong women, particularly a nun who became her true mom, encouraged Donna and she began to thrive for the first time in her young life. Since her release after 27 plus years, she has become a strong advocate for criminal justice reform and for women's rights - especially survivors of abuse and violence. There is more work to be done.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mmfniteowl

    A woman who was abused, in many ways, finds herself at Bedford Correctional center. She finds people who believe in her worth and encourage her. She received her bachelor and master degrees in prison. Is now an advocate for criminal and justice reform and women's rights. She foundedLife to Life, an organization that helps women reenter society after incarceration. It is amazing that she was so abused by many of the people in her life, yet she came out with a purpose. It seems the more I read, the A woman who was abused, in many ways, finds herself at Bedford Correctional center. She finds people who believe in her worth and encourage her. She received her bachelor and master degrees in prison. Is now an advocate for criminal and justice reform and women's rights. She foundedLife to Life, an organization that helps women reenter society after incarceration. It is amazing that she was so abused by many of the people in her life, yet she came out with a purpose. It seems the more I read, the more I become aware of the abuse , not just sexual, that many people endure in their lives. At times, I think that it must be more than 60% of women who suffer this abuse. How does one live through this???

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Ule

    My take away from this grim story is that most of the women in prison were abused by someone and that it often was that abuse which set them on the personal spiral to prison. For some women, prison was the first time they were physically safe--though not always since sadistic guards often inflicted more damage and the women are not believed yet again by those in authority. While the book ends with promise and joy--the author found her life in gaining an education and serving the women with whom sh My take away from this grim story is that most of the women in prison were abused by someone and that it often was that abuse which set them on the personal spiral to prison. For some women, prison was the first time they were physically safe--though not always since sadistic guards often inflicted more damage and the women are not believed yet again by those in authority. While the book ends with promise and joy--the author found her life in gaining an education and serving the women with whom she spent 25+ years in prison--I found the earlier part far too grim. It's the truth of her life, but so depressing, I could only skim.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Loretta Rinzel

    This was an amazing book. I received it as an arc but it got lost in the shuffle of my bookshelf and life. I just got to reading it now. This is a story is about Donna, who was born in Jamaica and was sold at age six by her mother to a NY couple. She grows up in NY with her new “parents” who showed her no love or affection. Being left to grow up and fend for herself she doesn’t know what right and wrong really mean. She puts trust into anyone who shows her a shred of attention. She is molested a This was an amazing book. I received it as an arc but it got lost in the shuffle of my bookshelf and life. I just got to reading it now. This is a story is about Donna, who was born in Jamaica and was sold at age six by her mother to a NY couple. She grows up in NY with her new “parents” who showed her no love or affection. Being left to grow up and fend for herself she doesn’t know what right and wrong really mean. She puts trust into anyone who shows her a shred of attention. She is molested and then raped by her father. Her life goes in a downward spiral of horrifying events. This was heartbreaking to read, but as years go on, changes come about for her which made me smile

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I was provided a copy of A Little Piece of Light in exchange for an honest review. A Little Piece of Light was the most tragic and beautiful story I have ever read. There are many triggers within this story that could be really detrimental to someone working through trauma. I would not recommend this book for a HSP. But, if you're able to get past the gruesome details of abuse Donna suffered, you will learn and grow and be inspired by her life and her bravery. I really enjoyed this book and it's I was provided a copy of A Little Piece of Light in exchange for an honest review. A Little Piece of Light was the most tragic and beautiful story I have ever read. There are many triggers within this story that could be really detrimental to someone working through trauma. I would not recommend this book for a HSP. But, if you're able to get past the gruesome details of abuse Donna suffered, you will learn and grow and be inspired by her life and her bravery. I really enjoyed this book and it's honest look at the cycle of crime and abuse particularly in regards to women.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Apex157x

    This book was well written and with a lot of heart. I've not been in her circumstance but the faith she develops is a reminder to us all that we are never alone, even in our darkest hours. She wrote with clarity and skill, and did not sugar coat her experiences. This book will resonate with many who have and are in that circumstance. A true gem of a book written by someone with a huge heart! Good job! Thanks Netgalley for this advance reader copy, this fact did not influence my opinion of the bo This book was well written and with a lot of heart. I've not been in her circumstance but the faith she develops is a reminder to us all that we are never alone, even in our darkest hours. She wrote with clarity and skill, and did not sugar coat her experiences. This book will resonate with many who have and are in that circumstance. A true gem of a book written by someone with a huge heart! Good job! Thanks Netgalley for this advance reader copy, this fact did not influence my opinion of the book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    Donna Hylton has led a horrifying and extraordinary life. Halfway through reading this, I found myself thinking, "God, someone should make this into a movie" - and was thrilled to find out that, in fact, that a movie is already in the works! Donna is a powerful voice for the importance of criminal justice reform, and her story - one that is far too common - as well as her honesty and openness - are incredible. Highly recommend. Donna Hylton has led a horrifying and extraordinary life. Halfway through reading this, I found myself thinking, "God, someone should make this into a movie" - and was thrilled to find out that, in fact, that a movie is already in the works! Donna is a powerful voice for the importance of criminal justice reform, and her story - one that is far too common - as well as her honesty and openness - are incredible. Highly recommend.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ruthann

    I am a big fan of "Orange Is The New Black" and thought I would find Donna's prison story interesting. Wow! It is more than interesting it's a cry for help. Donna and countless women who become incarcerated everyday have been sexually, physically and emotionally abused. They are not just so-called bad women. I'm sure some are just evil people, but the majority of them have never known love. This is a wake-up call and also shows how finding love and support can turn a person's life around. I am a big fan of "Orange Is The New Black" and thought I would find Donna's prison story interesting. Wow! It is more than interesting it's a cry for help. Donna and countless women who become incarcerated everyday have been sexually, physically and emotionally abused. They are not just so-called bad women. I'm sure some are just evil people, but the majority of them have never known love. This is a wake-up call and also shows how finding love and support can turn a person's life around.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

    This was the second audio book I have ever listened too. I never thought I would enjoy listening to books but I do believe I would have rated this less reading the book. I believe it is one that should be read to you! Just living the life this young child endured; uff but it is still no excuse for harming someone. This is an eye opener book of a woman behind bars and how she got there and made the best of her life in prison.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    It's truly amazing how the human spirit can survive awful series of events. The author had a horrible childhood filled with neglect and abuse. She spent 27 years in jail after being an accessory in a crime. Although the story of her childhood is not unique, what find interesting is her quest for education and services for women either currently in jail or upon release. This was a very quick read, albeit a little sad, it did have a "happy ending," so to speak. It's truly amazing how the human spirit can survive awful series of events. The author had a horrible childhood filled with neglect and abuse. She spent 27 years in jail after being an accessory in a crime. Although the story of her childhood is not unique, what find interesting is her quest for education and services for women either currently in jail or upon release. This was a very quick read, albeit a little sad, it did have a "happy ending," so to speak.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Heartbreaking story told from the point of view of a woman who was sent to prison and turned her life around. She shared her struggles from being sold into adoption by her own mother in Jamaica and shipped to live with a couple in New York who did not treat her like a daughter should be treated. A very fascinating book for anyone looking to learn more about America's Prison system. Heartbreaking story told from the point of view of a woman who was sent to prison and turned her life around. She shared her struggles from being sold into adoption by her own mother in Jamaica and shipped to live with a couple in New York who did not treat her like a daughter should be treated. A very fascinating book for anyone looking to learn more about America's Prison system.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Suzi

    I absolutely could not put this book down. Donna Hylton definitely got shafted by the justice system and wrongfully spent 29 years in prison. She had a horrible and abusive childhood. But she changed her life around, got a college degree and is now a women's right activist and criminal justice reform advocate who has dedicated her life to helping others. Amazing book, amazing woman. I absolutely could not put this book down. Donna Hylton definitely got shafted by the justice system and wrongfully spent 29 years in prison. She had a horrible and abusive childhood. But she changed her life around, got a college degree and is now a women's right activist and criminal justice reform advocate who has dedicated her life to helping others. Amazing book, amazing woman.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Susie

    What a remarkable woman! She tells her heartbreaking, and then hopeful story with courage, honesty and an indelible message. Speaking up truthfully about their experiences and helping each other with compassion, love and action, is how women can support each other as we move through the journey of life.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Meika Harris

    REQUIRED I enjoyed reading this memoir. Donna is a very bold and strong woman. It's a great that she allowed us into her life. As tragic and disturbing as it was. There so many women living their lives in this fashion. I believe this book will give women the strength to speak their truth. And use resources to help them. Hopefully before she ends up in prison. REQUIRED I enjoyed reading this memoir. Donna is a very bold and strong woman. It's a great that she allowed us into her life. As tragic and disturbing as it was. There so many women living their lives in this fashion. I believe this book will give women the strength to speak their truth. And use resources to help them. Hopefully before she ends up in prison.

  26. 4 out of 5

    LaShay

    Captivating This book captivated me from the first page. The amount of emotion felt throughout this book is breathtaking. To read someone's story and see how they have turned what can be classified as tragedy into triumph, speaks to Donna as a person. I felt every detail of this book, I did not want to put it down. Captivating This book captivated me from the first page. The amount of emotion felt throughout this book is breathtaking. To read someone's story and see how they have turned what can be classified as tragedy into triumph, speaks to Donna as a person. I felt every detail of this book, I did not want to put it down.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Henricks

    I abandoned this one about halfway through. The abuse and violence to her as a child was super hard to read. After Googling the author and learning more about what happened to land her in prison I didn’t want to spend any more time with the book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    gail perkins

    Powerful this a must-read for everyone you can go from victim to victorious this proof. I was moved by the of the way it was written I can become made whole again and with will and determination, you can do anything.

  29. 4 out of 5

    diantha randolph

    A bright light I enjoyed reading this book. The beginning was very exciting. I did not want to stop reading.It took a little more effort to get through chapter 10 and the remaining ones.👍🏾

  30. 5 out of 5

    Glenna McCarthy

    Donna is a well spoken and intelligent woman whom has rewritten her life and I applaud her.

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