The stories are enlightening and engaging even as they reveal the shady, often abusive tactics used to snap these troubled children into behaving in a way that society deems acceptable. This book is a necessary exposé for any parent who has considered sending their child to one of these camps. Rosen also gives voice to the thousands who have gone through these programs, and the text should be helpful in encouraging them to speak out about their experiences…Highly charged personal stories coalesce into a frank disclosure about the ‘forced redirection of wayward teenagers.’” —Kirkus Reviews
“In Troubled, Kenneth R. Rosen is the exact right Conrad to take us into the heart of this immense darkness. Rosen’s insight, rigor, and sympathy ensure this book will stand as the definitive treatment of this troubled, troubling industry. An experience you won’t forget.” —Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life and The Queen of Tuesday
“Troubled is a searing chronicle of the unfortunate era of ‘tough love’ programs for wayward American youth, told with detail and compassion, as well as an eloquent kind of well-merited rage.” —Luke Mogelson, contributing writer at the New Yorker
“Troubled by Kenneth R. Rosen is the first book written by a survivor to investigate the longer-term outcomes of adolescents who were subjected to this ‘treatment’…If you are a parent considering seeking help for your teenager or a program survivor, I urge you to read this book and heed its lessons.” —Maia Szalavitz, author of Help at Any Cost
“Profoundly unsettling, Troubled reveals a tough-love industry in disarray. Kenneth R. Rosen combines brilliant reporting skills and brutal firsthand experience in this captivating read.” —Michael Harris, author of Solitude and The End of Absence
“Kenneth R. Rosen is a relentless reporter, and he provides a piercing view inside the disturbing, largely unregulated teen-rehabilitation industry. Rosen ensures you ask the question of what we’re doing to our nation’s children and who, and what, is in fact ‘troubled.’” —Sylvia A. Harvey, author of The Shadow System
“A vivid and eye-opening plea for reform. Rosen writes as a journalist, but also from personal experience, about getting ‘kidnapped’ to live in the strange world of teenage behavioral boot camps—which is an industry in America with its own unsavory logic.” —Michael Scott Moore, author of The Desert and the Sea
“Troubled investigates the unregulated Wild West of programs that claim to treat delinquent teenagers but actually further traumatize and harm them. From wilderness programs to residential treatment centers, these institutions prey on desperate parents who believe their children can be scared straight. Kenneth Rosen’s heartbreaking, deeply reported book should be required reading for parents, therapists, educators, school consultants, and anyone concerned about the most vulnerable in our society: our children. Troubled follows four teens through four different programs, keenly documenting the resultant physical and mental abuse from those entrusted with their care. With a journalist’s eye and a former troubled teen’s heart, Rosen makes a powerful case for eliminating this cruel part of the school-to-prison pipeline. A powerful, revealing expose.” —Katherine Reynolds Lewis, author of The Good News About Bad Behavior
A look inside the “brutal” conditions of behavioral boot camps for adolescents.
When parents decide to send their troubled teenagers to wilderness treatment programs, they do so because they feel that they are out of options. Their kids, often angry, bored, or both, may be skipping school, abusing alcohol and drugs, or self-harming, and some may be facing jail time for minor crimes. Believing that time spent in the wilderness is a useful strategy for turning their children toward a better path, parents sign them up, and they are whisked away, often in the middle of the night. They are stripped of anything personal and then spend weeks hiking, learning survival skills, and eating inadequate food, far from anyone who knows or loves them. As Wired contributing writer Rosen explains through the eyes of four victims, these wilderness camps are largely unregulated, leaving windows of opportunity open for verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, nearly all of which goes unreported. Even after successfully completing their tasks and going home, the kids are often worse off than before they left, as they now have the added stress of their time in treatment. Himself a victim of such treatment, the author shares his personal story as well as the history and development of these profitable groups. The stories are enlightening and engaging even as they reveal the shady, often abusive tactics used to snap these troubled children into behaving in a way that society deems acceptable. This book is a necessary exposé for any parent who has considered sending their child to one of these camps. Rosen also gives voice to the thousands who have gone through these programs, and the text should be helpful in encouraging them to speak out about their experiences.
Highly charged personal stories coalesce into a frank disclosure about the “forced redirection of wayward teenagers.