The Boys of the Dark: A Story of Betrayal and Redemption in the Deep South

Robin Gaby Fisher with Michael O’McCarthy and Robert W. Straley, St. Martin’s, $24.99 (254p) ISBN 978-0-312-59539-5
Though the abuse O’McCarthy and Straley suffered as teenagers in the late 1950s and early ’60s at the Florida School for Boys, a reform school, was horrific, journalist Fisher’s (After the Fire) maudlin tone dilutes their inspirational story. Both O’McCarthy and Straley were subjected to brutal beatings in a building known as the White House and heard rumors of other boys who were whipped and never seen again. The 2006 death of a 14-year-old boy in a Florida youth boot camp forced Straley to confront emotions and memories he’d bottled up for decades. He contacted O’McCarthy, now a journalist who’d made a documentary on the 1923 Rosewood massacre, and the two men tracked down other survivors of the Florida School for Boys, enlisting the help of former Florida legislator and children’s crusader Gus Barreiro. Fisher is strongest at detailing Florida’s lackluster history of treating youthful offenders but when conveying the emotional and often troubled lives of O’McCarthy and Straley in and after reform school, she adopts the tone of a cheesy after-school TV special. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/17/2010
Release date: 08/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-250-03925-5
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4299-6468-5
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