Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyThis harrowing volume tells of a young boy ripped from his secure middle-class existence and placed in the thick of California's abusive penal system. In the early 1950s, when Abbott was nine years old, his parents were badly injured in a car crash. Housed for four months at Los Angeles Juvenile Hall, he was beaten by the other children and sexually molested by a counselor. This experience began a nonstop pattern of abuse, retaliation and incarceration. Abbott's chronicle takes him from reform school to federal prison, detailing inmate honor codes and caste systems, as well as the diligently enforced homosexual roles of ``straight'' (dominant) and ``punk'' (passive). Although supported by his parents throughout his ordeal, a tragic lack of communication prevented any constructive bond with them. Only through his friendship and eventual affair with Stubby, a fellow Youth Authority prisoner, did Abbott receive and give love during this period in his life. The author's well-written story comes at the reader fast and furiously, Abbott easily achieving his desired goal of shocking readers into an awareness of the inhumanity of America's juvenile penal institutions. Abbott is currently an inmate in the California State Prison; Carter is a freelance writer. (July)
Library Journal - Library JournalWhen Abbott was nine, his parents were disabled in an accident. This put him into a juvenile institution where he was physically and sexually abused. He became an angry youth; violence and arrests followed. He has now spent 38 of his 50 years in institutions or prisons. His message is clear and compelling, but the text is disappointing. Abbott chronicles one horror after another with no analysis or literary relief. He was obviously so deeply involved in the events that he could not write about them objectively. The book is saved by the summary written by coauthor Carter from an outsider's point of view. Not an essential purchase, except for criminal justice collections or legal libraries.-- Frances Sandiford, Green Haven Correctional Facility Lib., Stormville, N.Y.
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