William S. Hayes jumped into literature at an early age, reading the works of London, Stevenson, Dickens and many others. His hunger for words offered an escape from reality, and later, as a tool used for expression. Burden of Concrete offers the reader a harrowing account of the author’s life. His tale begins with his teenage years and a brief foray into juvenile hall, then on to the county jail. By the early ‘90s, in the midst of an exploding Seattle music scene, he falls victim to the scourge of heroin addiction. The chaotic lifestyle that ensues thrusts him into a world of concrete: polluted cells and streets. As his despair intensifies, the depravity and time does also, until he hits the road for Los Angeles in a feeble attempt to escape. Upon arrival, he manages to graduate to California’s prison system and the hell inside. Hayes portrays this world with a clear perception and casts a light on what it’s like to do time, not from the viewpoint of a convict trying to build a reputation inside the walls, but as a visitor. There are moments when you feel his fear and desperation, and others when you laugh with him. His love for prose is evident in the telling of his story, leaving the reader to question how a man with such an adept mind could find himself confined to a life of doing time. The honesty presented will have you hoping he breaks free of the shackles of torment and saddened when he succumbs to his demons yet again.
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