The Dead Inside: A True Story

Cyndy Etler. Sourcebooks Fire, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4926-3573-4
Etler’s unnerving and heartrending memoir begins in 1980s Connecticut when she was 13; Cyndy’s father died years earlier, leaving her in the care of her mother, whose second husband sexually abused Cyndy. When Cyndy began fighting back and attempting to escape, she fell in with a bad crowd from nearby Bridgeport. Choosing to enter foster care rather than live with her mother, Cyndy was eventually sent to Straight, Incorporated, an ostensible rehab program/“boarding school” where she spent more than a year being abused, bullied, and brainwashed into believing she was a drug addict. Given Etler’s recounting of absurd and abusive scare tactics such as “spit therapy,” in which Straightlings are spit on by higher-ranking children, and “carrying,” in which newcomers are carted around by their belt loops and underwear, readers may be stunned that a place like Straight could exist, let alone that a parent would willingly send a child there. Details about the history of Straight, Inc., are included in an afterword, not seen by PW. Ages 14–up. Agent: Myrsini Stephanides, Carol Mann Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/2017
Release date: 04/01/2017
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4926-3574-1
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-4926-5279-3
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4926-3575-8
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