Hard Candy, Nobody Ever Flies over the Cuckoo's Nest; Book Review
HARD CANDY: Nobody Ever Flies over the Cuckoo's Nest; Written by Charles A. Carroll is a must read.
This book should be sitting on the desk of every governor, senator, representative, every director, educator and all students in departments of human and social services, psychology and public health available as a ready reference to the bureaucratic nightmare and lost humanity of a system set up to protect and care for our abandoned children and our mental and physically deficient citizens of all ages. Hard Candy is a must read for anyone who even pretends to care about the welfare of our children. This is an unforgettable saga of the will of a young human spirit to survive incarceration in one of our nation's institutions with living conditions so sadistic, brutal and degrading that "child abuse' doesn't come near describing this disgrace.
I had the privilege of meeting the author and reading an advanced copy of this soon to be released book. The ever gracious host, Charles has devoted his life to the pursuit of knowledge and generating awareness about the abuse that still occurs to this day inside such institutions. Do not for one moment think that his is a tale of yesteryear and we have fixed the problems, improved the system.
Told with the innocent clarity of a young child interspersed with the accumulated knowledge and hindsight analysis of the adult, this true story travels through a decade during which the author as a young boy was repeatedly abandoned by the system and lost in the tombs of a bureaucratic hell.
Left on the doorsteps of an orphanage as a toddler with his less than one year older sibling who was probably borderline retarded, this is a tale of an enduring love between two brothers who had no one else in life but each other. Never loosing the impish grim and charming good looks, Charles along with his brother traveled from orphanage to foster home to state institution to foster home and back to state institution. As a court order required the brothers not to be separated, a terrified young Charles found himself joining his brother in a state facility for boys with mental disabilities, "a nuthouse" as one would call it. No one bothered to notice that this was not an appropriate placement for a perfectly normal little boy.
The story relates in chilling detail the daily living horror that was Charles' life. A normal youngster dumped in with society's outcasts in a nightmarish hell of abuse, hunger, filth, punishment, neglect and unending loneliness. A world where almost all adults he encountered continued the pattern of outright brutality and physical abuse or in true institutional form looked with strong blinders the other way and just did their time at the job. A world where children were left just to sit for years, suffering unending misery and boredom, never given the chance to develop their natural capabilities in any manner. The will to endure, protect his brother and survive kept Charles placing one small foot in front of the other each despairing day. The will to maintain his sanity in an insane place, to endure suffering no child should ever be expected to face and to survive to bear witness against an unjust and little known system gives Charles the strength to speak for the all but forgotten.
Clive King, who has died aged 94, was the author of several children's books and is best known for Stig of the Dump, the original and imaginative fantasy story of the friendship between Barney, a boy of the modern era, with Stig, a boy from long, long ago who lives in a nearby chalk pit in a home created from things he can creatively and skilfully repurpose from waste, including a chimney from tin cans and windows from glass bottles....
Films based on books might have the intolerable disadvantage of people smugly claiming "the book is so much better", but they also result in a huge boost at the box office.
According to new research from the Publishers Association, films based on books take 44% more at the box office in the UK and 53% more worldwide than original screenplays.
..."In short, published material is the basis of 52% of top UK films in the last 10 years, and accounts for an even higher share of revenue from these leading performers, at 61% of UK box office gross and 65% of worldwide gross," the report reads.
The New York Times has a rare interview with Anne Tyler to coincide with the publication of her latest novel, Clock Dance. Tyler rarely does interviews because she dislikes the way they make her feel the next morning. "I'll go upstairs to my writing room to do my regular stint of work and I'll probably hear myself blathering on about writing and I won't do a very good job that day. I always say that the way you write a novel is for the first 83 drafts you pretend that nobody is ever, ever going to read it."
The good news for fans is that Tyler has no plans to retire: "What happens is six months go by after I finish a book," she said "and I start to go out of my mind. I have no hobbies, I don't garden, I hate travel. The impetus is not inspiration, just a feeling that I better do this. There's something addictive about leading another life at the same time you're living your own." She paused and added: "If you think about it, it's a very strange way to make a living."
The New York Times reports on the changing face of the romance novel genre:
...The landscape is slowly starting to change, as more diverse writers break into the genre, and publishers take chances on love stories that reflect a broader range of experiences and don't always fit the stereotypical girl-meets-boy mold. Forever Yours, an imprint at Grand Central, publishes Karelia Stetz-Waters, who writes romances about lesbian couples. Uzma Jalaluddin's debut novel, Ayesha at Last, takes place in a close-knit immigrant Muslim community in Canada, and features an outspoken Muslim heroine who falls for a more conservative Muslim man, a Darcy to her Lizzie Bennett...
...."Readers want books that reflect the world they live in, and they won't settle for a book about a small town where every single person is white," said Leah Koch, co-owner of the romance bookstore the Ripped Bodice in Culver City, Calif. Last year, six of her store's top 10 best-selling novels were written by authors of color, Ms. Koch said.
Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient (Bloomsbury), the story of an injured, anonymous English WWII pilot and his Italian nurse, has been named the winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize, awarded to the best work of fiction previously awarded the Man Booker Prize over the last 50 years.
In a brief statement released late Tuesday afternoon, Barnes & Noble said CEO Demos Parneros (who had been named CEO in April 2017) had been terminated for "violations of the Company's policies." While not saying what policies Parneros violated, B&N said his termination "is not due to any disagreement with the Company regarding its financial reporting, policies, or practices or any potential fraud relating thereto." In addition to being fired immediately, Parneros will not receive any severance, B&N said. B&N said Parneros's removal was undertaken by its board of directors, who were advised by the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.
In his first interview since being accused of inappropriate behavior with women, celebrated novelist Junot Díaz adamantly denied the allegations, including a claim he once "forcibly kissed" writer Zinzi Clemmons.
Díaz, who was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, said he was "distressed," "confused," and "panicked" by the accusations, but insisted he had not bullied the women or been sexually inappropriate.
Harlan Ellison, a major figure in the New Wave of science fiction writers in the 1960s who became a legend in science fiction and fantasy circles for his award-winning stories and notoriously outspoken and combative persona, died this week 84. During his life, he wrote more than 1,700 stories, film and TV scripts. The Guardian recommends five of his best...
Donald Hall, a prolific and award-winning poet and man of letters who was widely admired for his sharp humor and painful candor about nature, mortality, baseball and the distant past, has died. He was 89.
Atlas Obscura explains the history behind the, arguably nonsensical, grammar rule about not ending a sentence with a preposition which, "all goes back to 17th-century England and a fusspot named John Dryden":
There are thousands of individual rules for proper grammatical use of any given language; mostly, these are created, and then taught, in order to maximize understanding and minimize confusion. But the English language prohibition against "preposition stranding"--ending a sentence with a preposition like with, at, or of--is not like this. It is a fantastically stupid rule that when followed often has the effect of mangling a sentence. And yet for hundreds of years, schoolchildren have been taught to create disastrously awkward sentences like "With whom did you go?"
...Born in 1631, John Dryden was the most important figure throughout the entire Restoration period of the late 17th century... Dryden twice stated an opposition to preposition stranding. In an afterword for one of his own plays, he criticized Ben Jonson for doing this, saying: "The preposition in the end of the sentence; a common fault with him, and which I have but lately observed in my own writing." Later, in a letter to a young writer who had asked for advice, he wrote: "In the correctness of the English I remember I hinted somewhat of concludding [sic] your sentences with prepositions or conjunctions sometimes, which is not elegant, as in your first sentence."
Dryden does not state why he finds this to be "not elegant." And yet somehow this completely unexplained, tiny criticism, buried in his mountain of works, lodged itself in the grammarian mind, and continued to be taught for hundreds of years later. This casual little comment would arguably be Dryden's most enduring creation.