Saturday, June 27, 2020


Have you ever read a book's description that made you not only cry, but made you immediately purchase the book? I did today. "Beautiful Prison: A Memoir of Isolation, Neglect and Abuse," by Michael Lechner, did that for me today. This book is not your ordinary memoir, in fact, it is compelling. I highly recommend this book for your summer reading list. First discover what the book is about and then meet one of the authors in today's author interview.

Beautiful Prison: A Memoir of Isolation, Neglect, and Abuse Paperback – June 11, 2020

by Michael Lechner (Author), Angee Costa (Author)


A gripping and emotional but seriously flawed life of one family’s will to survive alone together, off-the-grid, while braving the wilderness with the courage to survive and with a desire to defy the odds to remain alive - all based on a true story.
Beautiful Prison is a story of a family suffering from domestic abuse by a manipulative and abusive father who isolates his family into the wild, untamed Idahoan Mountains. The incredible true story portrays the lessons learned through the eyes of childhood emotional neglect from an emotionally immature parent and how eight siblings who survived an unspeakable childhood found the road back from surviving the forest.
One mother discovers all that’s wrong with the spiral of toxic events, which led to the ultimate survival of her children and why a meaningful life is not supposed to be this way. Running on empty, she learned how to stop doubting and do what it takes to reverse childhood adversity and promote self-healing through self-discovery.

Product details

Paperback: 172 pages

Publisher: Independently published (June 11, 2020)

Language: English

ISBN-13: 979-8619520606


Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches 

Beautiful Prison: A Memoir of Isolation, Neglect, and Abuse Paperback – June 11, 2020
by Michael Lechner (Author)


Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

I grew up all around the United States with my eight siblings and parents. My family moved around a lot because my father could never find a spot to settle down. I spent a lot of my childhood in Ohio, Florida, and Idaho. I currently reside in Indiana with my fiancée and have no plans on moving in the future. Education was peculiar, to say the least, growing up. I was taken out of school after only a single year of kindergarten because my father wanted to keep his children secluded from the world. He wanted to isolate us so much; he moved my entire family to a mountain in the wilderness of Idaho, where survival was our only form of education.

What inspired you to author this book?

I have told the story of my childhood several times over the years. The events are met with two responses: disbelief or encouragement to write a memoir. I spent four years of my life living without electricity, running water, and education. It took me many years to recover socially and mentally from living on the mountain. Still, to this day, it all feels like a dream. When I started writing Beautiful Prison, I felt that somehow getting everything down on paper would make me stop doubting myself, and maybe help others who experienced similar events from abusive parents.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

Crystal Peak, the mountain nearest to where I lived in Idaho, was a beautifully forested mountainside. Miles in any direction were endless evergreen and tamarack forests. It almost felt as if the trees were slowly creeping in to envelop my family. In the middle of our lives was our “cabin.” That is what dad called it, but it more resembled a shack. This was our prison where we spent every day, behind those thin walls, inside the small confined spaced. The cover design speaks to the absolute isolation we felt and the disconnect from society.

Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

Living without electricity left most of my entertainment to reading. That is when it wasn’t dark. Candles and oil lamps can only offer so much illumination. I found the fantasy of Tolkien and Beowulf to be the most enjoyable tales. In every direction, I was surrounded by endless forests that left my childish imagination run wild. I felt like the adventures told in these epics were something I could relate.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

Education has been my most difficult hurdle. I had to make up every year that I did not have any formal sense of school. I spent two years in high school after my mother divorced my dad, but I was so far behind I had to drop out and get my G.E.D. It also took me many years to adjust to normal life and be able to function outside my family. While I believe my lack of education growing up was a disadvantage, I do not believe in letting anything come in between you and your dreams.

Tell your readers about your book.

Beautiful Prison follows my family from the Florida suburbs to the wilderness of Idaho. We were completely unprepared for the life we were about to start. Throughout the story, me being only ten years old at the time, slowly realizes my hero is actually my family’s abuser. We suffered long, cold winters with little more to eat than pinto beans, cornmeal, and flour. All while we suffered, my father took every opportunity to leave us behind because living in the cabin he built was too unbearable to him. My mother finally got the courage to leave him once a chance arose, and I haven’t made an effort ever to contact him again.

Who is your target audience, and why?

My story is for anyone who cares to listen and be cautioned of abusive spouses and parents. It is very easy to look at my situation and see how it was terrible, but to a kid who loved his father, it was an adventure.

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

Being able to go to college and get my degree. Everywhere I went once I left the mountain, I was told I wasn’t qualified for scholarships, special programs, and advancements because I was a drop-out. I felt stupid having to learn things as simple as verbs and nouns that children half my age knew. Once I began college, I found out I was intelligent, just sorely under-educated. Getting my bachelors felt like the biggest accomplishment I could ever receive.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

My memoir isn’t unique when it comes to abuse. Where it differs is the isolation we experienced. I know other memoirs exist which are similar, but I feel like none of them were met with the unpreparedness we had living “off the grid.”