Welcome to Hotel Kerobokan.
Written by Kathryn Bonella, the co-author of Schapelle Corby’s autobiography (Schapelle Corby was convicted of smuggling 4.2kg of marijuana into Bali in her boogie board bag in 2004, which she insists was planted), this book paints a very vivid, mad, sickening picture of real life behind one of Bali’s most notorious prisons.
I anticipated a story of filth, violence and dark stories attached to mad prisoners trying to pass the boredom of their days in jail, but nothing could actually prepare me for this book.
In a country where drug-related crimes are taken seriously enough to warrant the death penalty, I was beyond shocked at the drug-fuelled inside of Hotel K. Those that ‘checked in’ clean were soon walking around in a smack induced haze, due to the availability and necessity of drugs in this jail. The corruption, violence, and twisted existence that is painted of the inside from the true stories of its’ inmates is almost unreal. Money rules above all else, and even with it you can be screwed over time and time again. It’s an unjust and cruel existence. There is no order. Everyone is in the same hell, from rapists to junkies to holiday makers having been set up for a drug bust. It is unnerving to say the least.
As disturbing as it is, I couldn’t put it down. I had to read each and every story and continue to be shocked by the goings on inside Hotel K. It was incredibly well written and so honest, I felt like I was there (except I could escape by putting the book down for a break!).
I’m glad it’s over. And I’m glad I read it. I am so grateful for my life and freedom and also COMPLETELY TERRIFIED for my upcoming holiday to Bali. I reckon I’m going to pack only a few bikinis in my hand luggage and sleep on it, just in case. Parents, make your teenagers read this book – they will never touch a drug or commit a crime in their lives. Guaranteed!
10/10, what an excellent book. I’m so happy to put it away and go outside to smell the lavender bushes and spend an hour in the bath and breathe in all the fresh air in the world, while hugging all my friends and family at once. Sheesh.