Red Carpet Book Awards 2014 Historical Fiction Readers' Choice Nominee
Rave reviews from Goodreads readers:
"It was definitely a page turner. I found myself caring about the patients and rooting for them to win. Well written J.M. Barlog!" -- Dawn, Goodreads
"It was incredibly hard at points to remember fact from fiction because the characters are so well formed." -- Gidget, Goodreads
"I loved the plot of the book and the many twists and turns it took me on as a reader." -- Teresa, Goodreads
"It's terrifying as it was derived from actual crimes against Native Americans, but it has moments of love, insight and suspense." -- Michelle, Goodreads
It was the roaring 20s, and Americans were living the dream, except for...
... those hundreds of Native Americans wrongly committed to our nation's only Indian insane asylum. Once there, they endured unimaginable torture and abuse with no hope of ever being free. These people were real. Their suffering was real. Their story will touch your very soul.
This powerful, heart-wrenching saga came from the records in the South Dakota State Archives for the Canton Indian insane asylum.
Highly-acclaimed, Fallen Hopes, Taken Dreams is a must-read for historical fiction and Native American fans.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)|
Read an Excerpt
February 27, 1924. A moonless, frigid night. Jimmy spent the waning hours of his nineteenth birthday alone, in a tenuous sleep, curled on a rickety pine bench in the rear of a covered truck. The nasty cold and endless hours of constant jostling drove him to exhaustion. A miasma of noxious engine fumes at his feet wafted up through cracked floor panels.
Brakes screeched. The sudden lurch slammed Jimmy face-first into the bulkhead. His nose cracked against the wood. The jarring movement toppled the bench, casting him into the deadly gases.
Dazed, Jimmy squirmed, desperate to draw his feet beneath him. The vile air invading his lungs burned like hell. Panic flooded his brain, triggering his survival instinct. He clamped his mouth closed, thrashing to rise above the caustic shroud caving in around him. As if the bench itself plotted against him, the leg pinned him to the floor. When his lungs threatened to explode, he gasped. More poisonous air rushed in. He coughed it out.
With his next inhalation, his head spun in wild gyrations. He jerked frantically. But the bench's weight held him hostage. Blackness poured in around him. His oxygen-starved brain began shutting down.
"Celia!" he screamed with a breath he thought to be his last.
Surrendering, Jimmy closed his eyes, wanting to die holding the image of his Celia in his mind. They had taken him from her. Now he would never see her again.
He swallowed blood gushing into his mouth, all the while clenching his teeth against a fire raging through his shoulder into the curve of his neck. He coughed hard to eject the deadly vapors. More rushed in. A single thought consumed his faltering brain: He must not die. He must get back to her.
But Death would be cheated this night.
The rear door screeched as it opened, welcoming in a mean winter wind, and with it, fresh breathable air. Jimmy coughed hard to eject the poison from his chest. With a loud sucking sound, he refilled his lungs.
"Move it," the gruff driver snarled, standing in shin-deep snow.
Jimmy squirmed rearward, not in obedience, but rather in frantic search for breathable air. He gulped it in; his sight began to clear. When he reached the opening, the driver snared his straitjacket's collar. Yanking downward, he jerked Jimmy headlong into the icy-crusted surface as if he were nothing more than a sack of soiled laundry.
The driver's callous laugh echoed inside Jimmy's head while shards of jagged ice slashed his cheeks. His coughing turned violent, which triggered his gag reflex, forcing him to purge more than just the remaining fumes from his lungs.
Blood splatters tainted the sparkling ice layer.
But he was alive.
"You're home," the driver added with a tongue-in-cheek snicker. He wore a worn leather patch to hide a deformed nose while his left eye drooped as if a claw had permanently disfigured it.
Jimmy gazed up into the perverse pleasure in the driver's inky black eyes. Then a muddy boot slammed his rib cage, urging him to his feet. He struggled to his knees without assistance, leaving behind a crimson crater in the snow. The driver aided him upright by jerking his arm straps until Jimmy thought his arms might pop from their sockets. He silenced an erupting scream. He would never reveal weakness in front of the white man.
Jimmy's head throbbed. His vision collapsed around the edges. An ethereal buzz roared through his brain from the exhaust fumes and the vile drugs they had earlier forced down him.
When he looked up, terror seized his soul. His eyes climbed a two-story brick building with iron grates securing every window. A few windows still glowed with a pale yellow, despite the late hour.
The driver tugged Jimmy up six concrete stairs to enter through the main door, where warm air assaulted them. Jimmy welcomed the heat. He wore only a wool shirt beneath their straitjacket. In the incandescent light, he stared at the paunchy driver, whose unshaven face encircling sparse teeth gave him a wickedly nasty appearance. That smile, and his days-old smell, would sicken even the stoutest stomach.
"You wanna hit me, injun?" the driver said then chuckled. He grabbed Jimmy's straitjacket to throw him into the wall.
Tongue clinched between his teeth, the driver jabbed a buzzer thrice with a grimy fat nub of an index finger, whose tip had been excised at the first joint. While waiting with crumbled BIA papers in hand, his eyes made no attempt to conceal his contempt.
Soft footsteps rose from the interior. Then the wire-reinforced glass window beside the inner door slid open. A woman's appearance momentarily disarmed Jimmy. She wore an unflattering black uniform dress, trimmed with a white apron and white sleeve covers. Her coffee-colored hair she had wrapped in a tight bun neatly on the back of her head. A faint smile crossed thin, almost colorless lips as her deep-ocean blue soulful eyes reached out, attempting in her own way to reassure Jimmy.
"You're rather tardy this evening," she said in an edgy, all-business British voice directed at the driver. She accepted his papers sharply, lobbing back disdain when she noticed Jimmy's blood-smeared face.
"Hey, he fell," the driver offered curtly, avoiding eye contact.
She figured that to be a lie. Her eyes read the papers sufficient enough to ascertain that everything was in proper order, lest she suffer the wrath of her irascible boss.
"Heavy snow coming outta Kansas. ... That's why I'm so late ... not that it matters to you."
While they waited, Jimmy took in as much of the woman as he could. She, however, avoided his eye contact. Instinct backed him away when the inner door unlocked. It swung open easily, soundlessly.
Jimmy tried to swallow — found it impossible. The locked door, the grated windows. He knew the kind of place this was. The pungent vile smell of unkempt men assaulted his nose. He knew that odor, that air of sickness and death. Fear propelled him toward the outer door. But before his second footfall, a short, bull-shaped man in dingy white shirt and dungarees snared him at the collar.
Jimmy's upper body turned rock hard in resistance.
Their eyes locked, each sizing the other in that brief second. This one refused to back down, so Jimmy yielded, severing the intimidating link between them.
"Thank you," the woman offered the driver in return, hoping her etiquette might become infectious. She received a grunt for her effort.
"You need to sign ..." the driver pointed out, stabbing the top sheet with his nub to indicate where. "Or I don't collect my bonus."
"I know exactly what I must do," the woman parried back.
She scribbled her signature before returning the top sheet to the driver, who accepted it with a toothless grin. Now he could collect his three dollar government bonus for completing his assignment without incident. His relief swelled. At last he was rid of this nuisance charge.
"We'll have him from here," the man in white said.
Jimmy appraised the short man in that tense second. A stone face. Mean, hard green eyes, riddled with scorn. Smile-less. An empty vacant stare designed to unsettle. But Jimmy also detected a trembling hand clamping his collar. A weakness this one failed to realize he was offering up at that moment. His unflinching face, though granite, appeared strictly a façade.
Jimmy cataloged his observation.
"Nathan will have him from here," the woman said.
"Gets mean when the drugs wear off," the driver offered.
"Tried to kick me in my privates, he did."
"That so? We'll be fine, won't we," Nathan said with a perfunctory smile meant to inform Jimmy intimidation would be fruitless. Nathan's eyes barely glanced into Jimmy's before turning away to shuffle him through the door.
Jimmy offered no resistance, even though at five-foot-eight, he stood half a head taller than this Nathan nudging him along. He could kick this frog of a man then bolt for the door.
That desire vanished, however, as quickly as it rose. He could never free himself of the straitjacket. And as such, he would get nowhere without the use of his hands. He trusted his moment would come not now, but at another time.
Once inside the inner door, all friendliness disappeared from Nathan's face. Jimmy seized that moment to appraise the woman more fully. Something about the way she looked at him disarmed him. Did she seek to convey with her eyes that this was not the terrible place he believed it to be?
Then his eyes slid off her to surveil the darkened hall with doors lining both sides. The low light coupled with his muddled vision made it difficult for Jimmy to discern the more subtle details of his new surroundings. He pressed his brain to accumulate information.
"Where do I stick him, nurse Thompson?" Nathan asked.
"In there's fine. I'll advise Dr. Wallace of his arrival."
Thompson indicated the room to their left, three doors down from where they had entered.
The sound of Nathan locking that inner door was deafening.
Jimmy's heart sank into the darkest pit of his gut. He needed no more to understand where he had been placed.
However, at that moment Jimmy had no idea he had been dealt a death sentence. He held no understanding of where he was, nor why he had been placed here. He just knew this place he would come to loathe.CHAPTER 2
"Let me out of here!" Jimmy screamed, kicking and hurling himself into the reinforced oaken door. His effort, however, inflicted such agony that it felt like someone had stabbed his shoulder a hundred times with a gutting knife.
Nathan stared at him through the glass of a small window in the door. His face remained unchanged. He neither smiled nor frowned. He simply stared unflinchingly into Jimmy's brown eyes.
Jimmy spat on the glass. The bloody saliva oozing down kept Nathan from observing him. Nathan's chapped lips never turned up even the slightest.
"I did nothing. Let me out of here," Jimmy pleaded.
Blue eyes appeared. A hint of sadness surfaced that the nurse could never deny. For a moment, Jimmy paused to stare at her, hoping. Then Nathan's unaffected green eyes took her place.
With his back to the window, Jimmy slid from Nathan's sight to stare vacantly at his new world: a twelve-by-twelve room with colorless, peeling plaster walls and nothing more than a slumping bed shackled to rings in the floor beside a rain-stained window with a steel grate over it.
"I did nothing," Jimmy muttered to himself.
At the sound of approaching footsteps, he sought refuge in the room's darkest corner. For a time he rested very still on his haunches. Muted voices crept under the door. Jimmy strained to hear; their words remained indiscernible. When the voices grew louder, Jimmy rose in anticipation. He pressed against the wall to gain the greatest leverage. Then he readied himself by filling his lungs with several deep breaths.
Keys rattled. The lock clanked. The handle turned.
As light from the hall fell into the room, Jimmy launched himself at the silhouette breaching the doorway.
It was that Nathan.
Jimmy slammed into him, driving him against the opposing wall. But without the use of his arms, he could accomplish nothing more damaging, and with a jerk of Jimmy's arm, Nathan deflected him away, regaining control. However, in so doing, Nathan had brought his head too close.
Jimmy lunged, sinking teeth into the base of Nathan's neck. Nathan growled and cracked Jimmy's jaw with a force that sent Jimmy reeling back into the bed in the opposing corner.
Before Jimmy could kick back to his feet for another attack, Nathan strapped his legs to the foot of the bed. Heaving, Jimmy lay as helpless as a calf roped by a seasoned ranch hand.
"Let me out of here," he snarled. He wore Nathan's blood proudly on his teeth.
Nathan finished him off by strapping Jimmy to the bed at the chest. Then he stepped back and crossed his arms, as if his task had been properly accomplished. The unruly frightened calf had been subdued. The moment between them lingered.
Fallen Hopes, Taken Dreams 11 "Sonofabitch injun bit me," Nathan said, wiping away blood trickling down his shirt.
"Nothing serious, I'm sure," Dr. Wallace offered. He stood in silhouette in the doorway holding a tray with metal instruments Jimmy had never seen before.
"I've had worse," Nathan replied.
"Let me out of this!" Jimmy insisted.
"It keeps you from harming yourself," Wallace replied in a soothing matter-of-fact tone. He wore glasses that in reflecting the weak light hid his eyes, while his weathered face carried the wrinkled strain lines that came from his years of administering this facility.
"Harming myself?" Jimmy said.
"We're going to help you, Jimmy. Here, you need to drink this."
Nathan tilted a small paper cup to Jimmy's mouth. Jimmy responded by spraying the caustic liquid into Nathan's face.
Unfazed, Nathan wiped his eyes with his sleeve and turned to receive another dose. They had been expecting that. The tray held five small cups.
Jimmy averted his face as much as possible against his restraints. Though inconsequential, his defiant act revealed much to Wallace. Despite the restraints, Jimmy still sought any way possible to resist.
"This goes much easier if you cooperate, Jimmy," Dr. Wallace said, pausing to allow his paternal tone to sink in before continuing. Always respond to outrage with calm. A simple edict Wallace reminded himself to practice daily. The doctor's voice worked in concert with his eyes to diffuse anger, though Jimmy thus far proved unreceptive.
"You must be thirsty after such a journey," Wallace added.
He handed Nathan another cup, which he pressed again to Jimmy's lips. This time Nathan tilted Jimmy's head slightly to force some liquid down his throat.
Jimmy swallowed against his will, only because Nathan had pitched the medicine to the rear of his throat, limiting its ejection. At the same time, he clamped Jimmy's nose.
"You see, progress already," Wallace commented plainly.
In the faint light, evidence of a smile appeared on the doctor's face. The backlight falling in from the hall made the doctor appear taller, broader than he actually was. Jimmy surmised this Wallace to be no taller than him.
"Why am I here? What are you going to do to me?" Jimmy pressed.
"You'll be fine. I'm Doctor Wallace. I'm going to help you while you're here with us."
"Where is here?"
"The Canton Insane Asylum, Jimmy."
"Why did they bring me here?"
"Because you need help. This is the only place you can get it."
"Help? This is the white man's way of helping me?" Wallace retreated to the door.
"If you wish to help me, unstrap me and release me from this jacket," Jimmy pleaded.
Nathan tried forcing more liquid down Jimmy's throat.
"All in good time," Wallace replied.
Jimmy spat the liquid into Nathan's face. Jimmy knew exactly what they intended to do. A moment later, Nathan turned back to Wallace for direction.
"Leave him for the night. And cut that damn hair," Wallace said as he retreated into hall.CHAPTER 3
Still clamped arm-over-arm in his straitjacket, Jimmy sat in diffused morning sun strapped to a chair positioned near the window while Nathan hacked with dull shears at ruffled shoulder-length hair. Their forced medication anesthetized Jimmy's mind and fogged the periphery of his vision. He could only discern clearly that which appeared directly before his eyes.
A clump of hair, black as a moonless midnight, fell through his narrowed field of vision.
Inside Jimmy cringed. A piece of him fell to the floor. A part of who he was had been sheared away by the white man.
Others in his tribe — mainly the youth — had begun cutting their hair as a matter of convenience. Jimmy had refrained to honor his father. New ways must replace the old, he had said to a father's deaf ears. His father had shaken the words off as if they were infectious. The old man would hear none of the white man's propaganda.
Despite Jimmy's goodwill gesture, their relationship still deteriorated — the logical outcome when young men challenged the ways of the old. The past year had been a tense one.
Centuries-old traditions fell to the rise of modern, white man's ways. Unsheared hair had always separated them from the white man. Jimmy feared he might surrender part of his culture if he parted with his. Now they had decided that for him.
Nathan paused. For a moment, Jimmy thought the orderly had at last finished. Then a scissor point pricked his Adam's apple. Only the faintest sensation of pain wormed through their medication. But Nathan plied his intent indelibly into Jimmy's brain.
"Any savage shit, you never live to walk out of here," Nathan whispered with a diabolic glint. He said no more, allowing silence and time for the words to penetrate Jimmy's thick Indian skull.
Snip. Snip. The shears resumed.
Jimmy flushed Nathan's words from his mind while blood trickled down his neck. He knew for now he must temper his anger; he must learn everything possible about this place and these people. He must prepare for when his time came. And his time would come; he knew it.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Fallen Hopes, Taken Dreams"
Copyright © 2011 J. M. Barlog.
Excerpted by permission of BAK Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a well written and plotted book This book tells the story of a small group of young Native Americans forced to endure great suffering at the hands of a few evil men. The character development, to me, was well thought out and kept you interested in their lives from beginning to end. There are sad moments that make you pause and even a few happy moments that brought a smile. Since its fiction, we don't know what really happened in that place. Though I guess it would have been impossible to write such a story as non-fiction. But they say the best fiction is rooted in fact, and if that is the case here, this story is definitely worth its five-star rating.
Such a sad story. I could literally feel what the characters were feeling. I can't even begin to comprehend how ignorant people could have mistaken simple illnesses for mental disorders that didn't even exist. Even though this is a story written by a person i can cleraly picture situations like this happening in real life.
This is possibly the best book covering this aspect of our history that I have ever read. I am Cherokee myself and am always seeking information on the plight of the Native American both in history and today. I love the information in this book and thank the author for sharing it. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
This is one intense read! It’s a credit to the author that at times it’s difficult to believe that this is a work of fiction, that doesn’t mean that nothing like this ever happened, as most people shall readily recognize the Native American Indians were treated harshly and unfairly on many occasions. This book is intense and shines a spotlight on a part of history that a lot of people may find uncomfortable and so they choose to ignore it. I highly recommend this book to everyone, it’s really well put together and flows nicely whilst not detracting from the fact that for some this book that we refer to as fiction was in fact reality. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
This is an excellent book that does not follow any standard fictional formula. The characters are well developed and the plot grips from the beginning to the end. Definitely worth reading.
An excellent Native American novel If you're a fan of Native American reading, you have to read this book. Not so much because it's a romance of a different kind, but because it's unforgettable.
Very intense book. I lost sleep over this one. I couldn't put it down at times. What they did to the Indians there was terrible.