Letters to My Son in Prison: How a Father and Son Found Forgiveness for an Unforgivable Crime

Ken Guidroz

Publisher: Bublish Pages: 206 Price: (paperback) $17.99 ISBN: 9781647046781 Reviewed: July, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

Revisiting the darkest period of his life, Ken Guidroz shares the story of his transformative struggle with fatherhood and faith in Letters to My Son in Prison.

Lucas Guidroz was high on heroin “and a week into a raging drug-and-alcohol binge” when his car hit a 53-year-old bicycler, killing him instantly. While he “saw the crumpled body on the road and immediately knew what he’d done…he floored it.” He later turned himself into police and was convicted on a hit-and-run manslaughter charge.

In the aftermath, his father faces anger, shame, and a sense of failure as a parent. Guidroz is determined that Luke be held accountable for his actions and refuses to post bail. He finds himself wishing he had never had kids, acknowledging that his other sons also struggled with drug and alcohol and revolving doors of rehab, detox, and near felonies. “How did this become my family?” he asks, confident he had raised his sons right. In hindsight, though, Guidroz recognizes the pressure his position as pastor of an evangelical church put on his boys, who eventually pushed boundaries seeking freedoms.

Father and son, now in prison, write heartfelt, powerful letters to each other, inspired by great literary authors (Dostoevsky, Steinbeck), Bible stories (David), and films (Cool Hand Luke). They confess feelings and frustrations, revealing Lucas’s initial depression and eventual growing insight into his “horrible situation.” Guidroz’s own self-doubt and shaken faith are lifted. “Writing you changed me,” he tells his son. It “bonded the two of us for life.”

Guidroz writes candidly. His fears and self-doubts appear in italics, effectively revealing inner thoughts. Each letter is an intimate dialogue between the men, though none appear until about halfway through the work. Non-religious readers might be put off by the many theological deliberations. Additionally, references to Guidroz’s rocky relationship with his wife are largely unresolved.

Nonetheless, readers will appreciate the quickly unfolding story as it travels from a tone of despair to optimism in this uplifting account.

Author's Current Residence
Canyon Country, California