Emma Gullon's review of 'From Highlights To Lowlifes'

True crime stories are dominating popular culture these days. Whilst they are entertaining, it’s important to remember these are real life accounts, and acknowledge the bravery of those ready to tell them. Tilly’s story, From Highlights to Lowlifes, gives a blunt, gripping and real narration of how one decision can lead to someone’s life falling apart.

When her family is plunged into crisis, Tilly is lured into the dangerous world of drug smuggling. This inevitably leads to her capture and imprisonment, and so begins a highly emotional rollercoaster as Tilly learns to adjust and cope with paying the price for her actions.

From the outset, you’re thrown in at the deep end – transported to the moment of Tilly’s arrest; you can feel her paralysing fear and the adrenaline of each heart-stopping moment. As her memories unfold on the page, flicking between her life before and during her prison stay, your emotions change with them: from sad to angry to empathy. Some of the events that happen to Tilly and her fellow inmates are hard to stomach, which could make the book harrowing to read, but her brutal honesty is admirable. It obviously took a lot of courage to share her story.

You see Tilly’s character development play out as the book goes on. Just as she seems to be getting to grips with prison life, she’s hit by problem after horrific problem. This woman really gets put through the ringer. You feel helpless and frustrated for her all at once.

As the tone changes to Tilly’s actual diary entries we see her become a much stronger woman, who looks at life more positively as her release nears. Even without knowing her, you can tell that her experience cannot have helped but shape the person she is today.

From Highlights to Lowlifes is a must read for any true crime fans, and even those new to the genre – this retelling of a true story will leave you shocked, saddened, angry, and eventually uplifted, by Tilly’s triumph over such harsh adversity.

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