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.
Denis Johnson, the award-winning fiction writer, poet, and playwright whose best-known and most influential work, the story collection Jesus' Son, turned 25 this year, has died. He was 67. The cause of his death has not been disclosed.
Jean Fritz, an award-winning writer whose work helped transform historical biographies for children from leaden recitals of battles and dates into warm, human narratives full of quirks and crotchets and satisfyingly strange facts, died on Sunday at her home in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. She was 101.
The author of more than four dozen books, Mrs. Fritz was known in particular for her biographies of many of the signal figures of 18th- and 19th-century American history.
America's libraries got a major boost this week on Capitol Hill as a group of leading publishing, information, software, and other businesses unveiled an organized effort to advocate for federal library funding. The move comes in response to the Trump administration's proposal to eliminate virtually all federal library funding, and the agency that distributes those funds to all 50 states.
Margarita Engle has been named the Young People's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. Awarded every two years, the $25,000 laureate title is given to a living writer in recognition of a career devoted to writing exceptional poetry for young readers. The laureate advises the Poetry Foundation on matters relating to young people's literature.
Suite Française, adapted from the bestselling book by Irene Nemirovsky will premiere on the Lifetime network May 22.
Represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, Book Passage--with stores in Corte Madera, Sausalito and San Francisco, Calif.--and co-owner Bill Petrocelli have filed suit against a state law that, the plaintiffs say, "will make it extremely risky, if not impossible, for stores to sell autographed books or host author events."
Petrocelli said that the law's "expensive mandates--with voluminous reporting requirements and draconian penalties--create a nightmare for independent booksellers that thrive on author events and book signings. Consumers will also suffer. The tradition of author events at bookstores, with opportunities for direct interaction between writers and readers, will be shattered. The cost of record-keeping and major liability threaten to make book signings impossible, and stores such as mine do not want to engage in the massive intrusion on customer privacy that is mandated by the law's reporting rules."
Several publishers and authors organizations have officially joined the many book world people criticizing Amazon's new policy allowing third-party booksellers to "bid" for the primary spot in buy buttons.
A statement from the Authors Guild called the move "deeply disturbing" and said it "has the potential to decimate authors' and publishers' earnings from many books, especially backlist books." It noted, too, that the policy might be connected with Amazon's desire to force publishers to use its print-on-demand services, if POD availability will essentially guarantee a top spot on buy buttons. Such an arrangement, the Guild wrote, "looks an awful lot like a 'tying' arrangement under the antitrust law."
The statement concluded: "Amazon has already done enough damage in the book industry. It has devalued books by setting the price and consumer expectations for e-books and hard copy books artificially low, even taking a loss to do so. And it extracts an unreasonable fee from the sale of any book through its site, as compared to the services it provides, and charges extra for things it calls 'marketing services,' such as making a book discoverable on its site. Amazon gets away with this because it has monopoly and monopsony power over the retail book industry. Without a fair and open publishing marketplace, publishers will soon lose the ability to invest in the books that advance our knowledge and culture."
A new program from Amazon is drawing a range of reactions from those across the publishing industry, from fear to downright anger. The e-tailer has started allowing third-party book re-sellers to "win" buy buttons on book pages. The program, publishers, agents, and authors allege, is discouraging customers from buying new books, negatively affecting sales and revenue.
Once every 10 years Granta issues a special issue focused on new American fiction, "showcasing the young novelists deemed to be the best of their generation--writers of remarkable achievement and promise, still in their twenties and thirties."
It's Best of Young American Novelists of 2017 list includes "21 outstanding writers who capture the preoccupations of modern America." The authors are: Jesse Ball, Halle Butler, Emma Cline, Joshua Cohen, Mark Doten, Jen George, Rachel B Glaser, Lauren Groff, Yaa Gyasi, Garth Risk Hallberg, Greg Jackson, Sana Krasikov, Catherine Lacey, Ben Lerner, Karan Mahajan, Anthony Marra, Dinaw Mengestu, Ottessa Moshfegh, Chinelo Okparanta, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Claire Vaye Watkins.
Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, died yesterday at age 88.
First published in 1974 by William Morrow, the book was a spectacularly popular philosophy book that was loosely autobiographical, tracing a father-son motorcycle trip and flashbacks to a period in which the author was diagnosed as schizophrenic. Its thesis was that quality is the basis of reality, and that this understanding unifies most East Asian and Western thought. Pirsig called this system of thought the Metaphysics of Quality.