This Is Not My Life

This is Not My Life low res

(An imprint of HarperCollins Canada)
ISBN: 9781443434201
ON SALE APRIL 26, 2016

“It is safe to say that never once in my life had I dreamed of being in bed with a convicted killer, let alone one with his teeth in a margarine container in the kitchen, his mother in the next room, and the word HI! tattooed in tiny blue letters on his penis.”

For almost six turbulent years, Diane Schoemperlen was involved with a prison inmate serving a life sentence for second-degree murder. The relationship surprised no one more than her. How do you fall in love with a man with a violent past? This Is Not My Life is the story of the romance between Diane and Shane — how they met and fell in love, how they navigated the obstacles of passes and visits and parole hearings, and, eventually, how things fell apart, were reconciled, and then fell apart for good. In this candid, often wry, sometimes disturbing memoir, Schoemperlen takes us inside a complex and difficult relationship as she journeys through the prison system with Shane. Not only did this experience enlarge her capacity for both empathy and compassion, but it also forced her to more deeply examine herself.


This is an important book. In this searing, painfully honest account of both a relationship and a prison system “gone bad,” we see a bleeding heart that breaks through concrete. I am in awe of her courage.
— Plum Johnson, author of They Left Us Everything

An honest, beautiful, painful, and important story, This Is Not My Life sheds light and understanding on the dark and segregated world of prisons and those doing time — inside and outside the walls. Above all, it is a masterful examination of the doing and undoing of a relationship that will compel readers to ask: Can love really conquer all?
— Shannon Moroney, author of Through the Glass

With scalding candor, bravery, and a considerable amount of humour, Diane Schoemperlen has written a moving memoir about unexpected love. She reminds us what love is, and how even if it can’t always have a fairy-tale ending, it nonetheless offers redemption.
— Lauren B. Davis, author of Against a Darkening Sky

Diane Schoemperlen brings her masterful storytelling voice to her personal odyssey in a raw, honest way that took my breath away; I couldn’t put it down. This Is Not My Life offers an intimate account of the author’s struggles with her partner to overcome the shadow of a life sentence and institutionalization. This compelling memoir tackles the complexities of human relationships, the fragility of identity, and the sad truth that love does not always conquer all.
— Stacey Hannem, PhD., Department of Criminology, Wilfred Laurier University

What a brave examination of the entrapment of the heart! Both confessional and confident, This Is Not My Life illuminates the hidden yet incessant desire, at all costs, for love.
— Michael Winter, author of Minister Without Portfolio

Fascinating, compelling, and honest, Schoemperlen’s memoir lays out the often harrowing challenges in loving a convicted murderer who has been shaped by thirty years inside the prison system. I couldn’t put it down.
— Susan Swan, author of The Western Light