NOTE: I am not going to rate this because I don't feel like I got far enough into the book to rate it fairly. I just can't make myself keep reading this when I don't enjoy it and there are so many other things on my shelves right now I would rather be reading.
Maybe the rest of the book is amazing, but the beginning was just not for me. The narration feels long and drawn out, and while I like the conversational tone, the fact that the entire story is written by one person talking about other people with little personal experience gives the whole thing a very strange, disassociated feel that I didn't care for. The best and most interesting parts of the book were the interactions the narrator has with the guards and other prisoners, but those moments are too few and far between (at least in the portion I read) for me to keep going with this.
If I had given this more of a chance, maybe I would have been pleasantly surprised and really loved it as many others do, so don't take my negative comments as a reason not to read this--give it a shot and see if the writing style and subject matter appeal to you. Many others obviously feel it is an instant classic so there must be something to adore about it.