Warren Fellows is now forty-four years old and has been a free man since his return from Thailand in 1989. He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his mother.
Survivors' tales are almost always dramatic, and Fellows's, though often stalled in mediocre writing, is no different. In 1978, at the age of 25, the Australian was convicted for heroin trafficking between his country and Thailand. Sentenced to serve the rest of his life in prison, Fellows spent 12 years in Thai prisons, each one more atrocious than the next. He recounts in stomach-wrenching detail how the Thai guards forced him to crawl through a pool of sewage, and how he routinely watched such horrors as guards caning prisoners to death. He also tells of how he turned to heroin, partly to alleviate his loneliness and desperation, and of how guards turned a blind eye to the infraction. While Fellows's account isn't nearly as riveting as Billy Hayes's Midnight Express and suffers from jumbled passages and poor structure, it proves compelling and certainly buttresses his point that "there is nothing more precious than a free life." Fellows argues‘strongly‘that no crime warrants the dehumanizing punishment to which he was subjected. (Dec.)