Smitowicz’s wildly original book--crafted with meticulous care and incorporating a litany of experimental literary techniques and visual elements--is a darkly comic addition to the great pantheon of socially relevant incarceration stories. The memoir brims with stupendous barbarism and corruption. Like the underfed author’s weight-plummet of 19 pounds in just 27 days. Like the rampant mistreatment of serious medical conditions by incompetent, even sadistic guards and health care staff. And like the judge’s astonishing offer to cut Smitowicz’s sentence nearly in half [from seven years down to four] if he paid a $25,000 “fine,” allowing his family to literally buy a far less severe prison term! And yet--despite Rebel Hell’s veritable horrorshow of human depravity--its unremitting, shamelessly blunt humor delivers ample reprieve from the dire circumstances. In the end, this uniquely stylized narrative coalesces into an unsettling microcosm of contemporary U.S. society—and an unforgettable story.