Friday, February 04, 2011

The Animal Factory by Edward Bunker

(pb; 1977)

From the back cover

"The Animal Factory goes deep into San Quentin, a world of violence and paranoia, where territory and status are ever-changing and possibly fatal commodities. Ron Decker is a newbie, a drug dealer whose shot at a short two-year stint in the can is threatened from inside and outside. He's got to keep a spotless record or it's ten to life. But at San Quentin, no man can steer clear of the Brotherhoods, the race wars, the relentlessness. It soon becomes clear that some inmates are more equal than others; Earl Copen is one of them, an old-timer who has learned not just to survive but to thrive behind bars. Not much can surprise him -- but the bond he forms with Ron startles them both; it's a true education of a felon."


The Animal Factory is an immediately immersive, character-intriguing and waste-no-words novel that's simultaneously a caveat and a pulp read (inherent, given its subject matter).

This, for me, is a perfect novel. All the delicate plot and character elements work together to form a raw-truth, hard-to-lay-down read that should appeal to those who've read prison writing before, as well as those who haven't.

Worth owning, this. Landmark, informative work.


The resulting film was released stateside on January 24, 2000.

Steve Buscemi produced and directed the film, from a script by book author/co-producer Edward Bunker and John Steppling.

Willem Dafoe played Earl Copen. Edward Furlong played Ron Decker. Danny Trejo played Vito. Mark Boone Jr. played Paul Adams. Seymor Cassel played Lt. Seeman. Mickey Rourke played Jan the Actress.

Tom Arnold played Buck Rowan. John Heard played James Decker. Chris Bauer played Bad Eye. Michael Buscemi, Steve Buscemi's brother, played Mr. Herell.

Book author Edward Bunker played Buzzard. Director Steve Buscemi played A.R. Hosspack. Independent filmmaker and actor Larry Fessenden, billed as Larry Fesenden, played Benny. Independent filmmaker, producer and actor Sal Mazzotta played Florizzi.


Hope said...

thank you for your visit and comment
Have a wonderful week!

B. Meandering said...

I orginally wrote this as an email, but then realized there was no email address. So I'm putting it here.
Thank you for the compliments on both posts. I checked out your sites and am intrigued. I am constantly on the hunt for books that will get and keep my high school students interested in reading. If you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them. I read some of your reviews and a couple of kids came to mind. But our school is conservative, so the content can't be over the top graphic. However, the librarian and I are more open-minded and we essentially stock the library.

As for your comment on 'religious work' you created a smile internally and externally. I'm a Methodist preacher's kid who has known too many 'holier than thou Christians' and have been personally burned by them. I believe that the love of Jesus Christ in a person should be seen in quiet, every day actions and not by declarations, judgements, criticism, and 'helpful' advice. My father accepted folks just the way they were and he was loved for it---the cussing, drinking, swearing rough men invited him along on boat trips and to their homes because there was something about him that drew them. He always told me that it's not our job to judge and that's something I remind myself of often.

I sometimes am criticized at school because of how I interact with and teach the rough or 'bad' kids. They're not bad. They're just dealing with stuff that would send a lot of 'holier than thou' Christians running for cover.

So thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment. I'm trying to get in touch with the artist that I buried in my first marriage.


Steve Isaak said...

Thanks for the thought-provoking feedback, Beth.

If I come across any non-controversial-in-a-conservative-setting books, I'll float suggestions your way.

Read/write you later, my friend. =)

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