Chosen: A Memoir of Stolen Boyhood

Stephen Mills. Metropolitan, $28.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250823-21-2
Mills (Next of Kin) lays bare in this unflinching account the irrevocable impact of the sexual abuse he suffered as a teen. In 1968, while attending Connecticut’s Camp Ella Fohs, 13-year-old Mills was pulled aside by the camp’s director, Dan Farinella, for a private talk about masturbation. In the fall of that year, Farinella invited Mills to the camp off-season to “help out with some projects.” The sexual abuse started there and continued for years, with Mills silenced by his shame. As an adult, Mills struggled for years to find stability and a sense of purpose, committing petty thefts, taking drugs, studying at a yeshiva, and dropping out of grad school before therapy helped him understand that he had PTSD. Even with that diagnosis, Mills writes, the road forward was full of hurdles, and his efforts to bring Farinella to justice—after obtaining accounts from “a far-flung network of men” that had been abused by the camp director—fell short due to red tape and the low prioritization given to such accusations by police. While it’s a harrowing story, Mills’s ability to persevere and eventually build his own family offers hope, and his raw vulnerability inspires. This is a searing testament to human resilience. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/13/2022
Release date: 04/26/2022
Genre: Nonfiction
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