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Hard Candy: Nobody Ever Flies Over the Cuckoo's Nest Paperback – October 30, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Incorperated; 1st edition (October 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932783342
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932783346
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,539,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Mr.  Carroll,
It's evident that you are committed to standing up in the face of injustice--may you  continue with that depth of commitment in your writing and all that you do. 
--Elie Wiesel
Recipient of the Congressional Medal of  Honor
Nobel Prize
Author of More Than 40 books

Mr.  Carroll,
I fully share your view that awareness and education are essential to child abuse prevention. and I do wish you every success with your project.
--Henry Waxman
Congress of the United States


HARD CANDY is brave, real, and ever so true to the real culprits of abuse; the people, secular authorities we've entrusted our children, and opens doors on our society's most hidden plague, the abuse of boys.
--Chuck Rosenthal, PhD
English, Loyola Marymount --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

Beneath the sanitized faÁade of the institutionís administrative offices and visiting rooms were cramped dormitories and dank basement hellholes.Lazy and inept personnel foisted off supervision of these children to ruthless monitorsóchildren themselvesówho maintained order through methods so sadistic and horrific that ìchild abuseî seems a chillingly inadequate label.

Charles was a victim of an uncaring, ignorant, and underfunded systemóone that was kept just out of the view of polite society.But the differentiating aspect of Charlesís incarceration in this ìnuthouseî is the ironic, cosmic hook in this story: he was not nuts.He was, in fact, a sensitive and perceptive child with a normal IQ.Moreover, Charles was consciously and painfully aware of every moment of his own abuse as well as the torment of his mentally defective fellow patients.Enduring their collective plight and clinging to his sanity, as one would a tiny glimmer of hope, he vowed to one day write this remarkable story of survivalónot for his sake, but for the sake of societyís outcasts and those too helpless to help themselves, then and now.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

ALERT! WHY A SECOND EDITION?
Two publishers handled the publication of this book over the past six years when a third publisher stepped in and bought the rights to the book--and that gave the author an opportunity to write a Home & College Edition; hence, the book has been revised, expanded, annotated and indexed, with updated links, fresh evidence of abuses in state residential facilities across the country, added photos, and scenes reinserted that were removed by the first publisher to shield themselves from potential liability. But now, with the approval of the author's New York liable attorney, and a nod from the publisher, the book is presented in keeping with the true story "they" never wanted written, and is offered as the author originally wanted it published. RIVETING. REVEALING. FORTHRIGHT. EXPLOSIVE. A PAGE TURNER. IT DELIVERS THE TRUTH!

DISTINGUISHED KUDOS
Mr. Carroll... It's evident that you are committed to standing up in the face of injustice--may you continue with that depth of commitment in your writing and all that you do.
--Elie Wiesel
Recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor
Nobel Prize

Charles Carroll, I fully share your view that awareness and education are essential to child abuse prevention... and I do wish you every success with your project.
--Henry Waxman
Congress of the United States

HARD CANDY is important and brave, comprehensive, real, and ever so true. It opens us to the real culprits of sexual abuse--the people, the secular authorities, to whom we've entrusted our children. It talks about who does it, how it happens, why it happens, how to recognize it, and what to do. Charles A. Carroll opens the doors on our society's most hidden plague, the sexual abuse of boys.
--Chuck Rosenthal
Author of the book: Never Let Me Go:
Professor of English, Loyola Marymount

There is one thing wrong with this book! If I were the publisher of this book, I would have insisted on titling it A Terrible, Terrible Crime or some other terribly dramatic title so that it would better attract the morbid curiosity of the mass reading public, become a bestseller and help end a terrible crime. This book deserves to be a bestseller!
--Art Kunkin
Founder, Los Angeles Free Press

The story Mr. Carroll tells will read like wild fiction to some readers. But I  can attest that the Hell he describes is no exaggeration. I represented several private psychiatric hospitals, orphanages, and child care facilities, public and private, in sex abuse and wrongful death cases. I learned what "positional asphyxia" can do to the body of a child, and how hard it is to find a resident who has wandered away before he freezes. Much of it I'm bound by privilege, But I've seen enough to know that Mr. Carroll's story is true.
--Author, Laura James, Esq.
Crime Historian/Proprietor of Clews

______________________________________

THE PUBLICIST SPEAKS:
Are you an advocate for victims belonging to a group seeking a keynote speaker? Mr. Carroll is an award-winning author---and his book is a genre bestseller. He has spoken on the national, state and local levels, has lectured at colleges, rape centers, child abuse action committees and mental health organizations, advocating a voice for institutionalized victims still being gagged by state bureaucracies who continue to run their operations short of the Stone Age of insanity. Join the author in a memorable one-hour presentation that includes author interviews on NPR, PBS, and ABC television, a PowerPoint presentation, readings from the book, and why he wrote it--with a surprise ending. You won't forget this one. Email the author: hardcandy.2@Netzero.com. NOTE: To learn more about Mr. Carroll's media exposure, go to his website, WWW.HARDCANDYBLOG.COM
______________________________________

MY TRUE STORY IS AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY
Until you heal your past... you will continue to bleed, bleed, bleed

When I set out to write HARD CANDY I wanted to believe in the system. I wanted to believe things had changed, and I wanted to believe the public myth that is doesn't happen anymore, and had this been true, I would not have written the book, for with my story alone the reader would have concluded, Oh, well, that was more than 40 years ago, it doesn't happen anymore. Ladies and gentlemen, after working undercover and doing extensive research on the subject of state institutional abuse, the evidence is clear; the atrocities are current, ongoing and tragically appalling--and this was the sour elixir that injected iron into my backbone and sulfur into my blood, to be the voice for victims who, today, are still trembling behind closed doors awaiting redemption from their abusive reign of terror at the hands of trusted civil servants.

HARD CANDY is a human portrayal of an uncommon nature. No one thing contributes more to its value than its authenticity, but be forewarned, you will not find literary frills, polite language, soft corners of prose, soothing seams of dialogue, happy jingles or joyful songs, but you will find a thread of love that weaves together the entire story--a story about a special devotion shared between my brother and me; how we cared for each other when no one else would; how we understood each other when no one else did; and how we desperately clung to the needed components of love and friendship to survive together the horrific reality.

HARD CANDY will give you a glimpse into the bleak world of institutional "bad guys"; administrators, trusted civil servants, and resident monitors that stood side by side with idiots and madmen who deliberately committed atrocities against these children, causing many to flee into an unconventional brand of protection, which was a futile attempt to gain refuge because there was no legitimate protection for them. At the age of sixteen, after suffering a decade of abuse, I was released from the mental health system carrying the scars from having been denied my civil liberties, a right to an education, and any semblance of a humane existence--and because there was no habilitation, I felt lost and floundered for a number of years within the broad spectrum of human progress.

Though I was released from the state system with barely a third grade education, but gifted with an insatiable appetite for learning, I became a frequent resident of public libraries, reading every academic book I could get my hands on. After acquiring a bit of confidence, I entered adult night classes at Hollywood High School and quickly earned a diploma. To make sense out of the social system that failed Bobby and me, I transferred to Los Angeles City College and eventually earned an Associate Degree in Sociology. Unsatisfied, I transferred to California State University at Los Angeles maintaining a major in sociology, a minor in psychology, with an emphasis in Corrections. Then, while attending the final quarter of my senior year I received a formal letter from college administrators announcing cap and gown arrangements for graduation. Uninterested in an upper division degree, it gave me pause.

Having solved the riddle how the social system worked and failed, and now better equipped to one day write a book that would give a voice for victims, I left college, took the State Electrical License exam, passed, opened a successful contracting business in Los Angeles, and I subsisted on that business for the next 25 years--but not without the daily reminders of the tormenting screams of yesteryear's children still pounding on the walls of my soul, pleading that I one day redeem them. Finally, in 1989, I heeded their calling, closed my business, and began a six-year journey investigating New Lisbon and other state institutions like it across the country. And as part of my research project, I worked undercover at two residential mental health facilities to see if patients were being treated well. What I witnessed left me appalled. On the last leg of my journey, I went to the Star-Ledger, told them my story, and asked if they would go with me to New Lisbon unannounced. They agreed. There, I sat the CEO down for a serious talk. He was evasive, coy, untruthful, and not appreciative of my visit. The Star-Ledger ran the story. The front page headline read: MAN REVISITS HIS 'NIGHTMARISH' CHILDHOOD HOME. Finished with my shoe leather investigations, I set out to write HARD CANDY with the hope of making a profound difference.

Bear in mind, what happened to my brother and me stained our psychology, wreaked havoc with our spirit, and incubated an emotional worm that drilled holes in and out of our psyches until what was left of our psychology resembled the appearance of Swiss cheese. We had to fight off not only the sexual predators of the past who repeatedly raped us over and over again in our photographic memories (such is the case long after the predator is gone), but also deal with the lingering side effects of gender issues, sexuality, masculinity, bonding, trusting others and a host of other problems mandated by having been chronically abused for years--something like living with the erratic splashes of a Jackson Pollock painting, harbored by the dissident crescendos of a Stravinsky temperament. Yes, the innocent pay a life sentence for the guilty, but however challenging life's journey, quitters we were not, fighters we were, who like wild horses, we refused to be broken--and that is the essence and strength of our remarkable
story of survival.

BUT WAIT
Again, this is not just a true story of yesteryear, as HARD CANDY also dispels the myth that it doesn't happen anymore. Though protective mandates have been in place to protect these children for years, they haven't worked. The evidence from my research is clear; the abuses are horrendous and have already crept into the Twenty-first Century. Think not? Read what the U.S. Justice Department found behind closed doors in the appendices of the book. You'll be appalled by their findings.

MEDIA EVENTS & AWARDS
Mr. Carroll's has appeared on Live With Regis & Cathy in New York City, The Dr. Firpo Carr Show in Los Angles, interviewed on numerous NPR and PBS radio and television shows, was featured in People magazine (5 pages), and featured in many newspapers and magazines across the county. He has been a keynote speaker on the national, state and local levels speaking for victims without voice, and his book won the Hollywood Book Festival Awards and the Midwest Independent Publishers Awards (MIPA), receiving Honorable Mention for both.

GENRE BESTSELLER
Mr. Carroll's book made #1 on the Canadian Amazon bestseller list for the genre, Family/Childhood. In the U.S. on February 1, 2008, the book took #3 on the Amazon bestseller list for the genre, Memoir/Biography. On October 20, 2008, the book made #2 on the Amazon bestseller list for the genre, Dysfunctional Relationships, and on October 23, 2009, HARD CANDY made the Amazon bestseller list for the genre, Child Abuse--and continues to land on these genre bestseller lists.

Customer Reviews

HARD CANDY is a must read for anyone caring for the welfare of children.
Michelle D. Portney
I was appalled by the multitude of transgressions Mr. Carroll and his brother experienced as young children.
Nancy A. Huff
This book is masterfully written and tells a story that simply must be told.
K. Whitaker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By OFF ROADER on February 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
AS A VICTIM ADVOCATE AT A RAPE CRISIS CENTER, MYSELF AND TWO OTHER COUNSELORS COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN. WE ALL READ IT IN 3 DAYS TOTAL. I HAVE A SCHEDULED BOOK SIGNING WITH CHARLES AND I CAN'T WAIT FOR SOME QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE SPIRIT HE AND HIS BROTHER HAVE. THE BETRAYAL OF THESE TWO MEN HAS LEFT ME IN AWE OF THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS.THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ AND I HOPE IT GETS NATIONAL RECOGNITION.CHARLES WOULD BE A WONDERFUL SPOKESMAN FOR CHILD ABUSE.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rich on January 1, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I could hardly take it! I had to put the book down to walk away from the intensity... but I'd circle right back in to sweat out the relentless string of nightmarish horrors tripping into and over each other. Though not without relief, the dark tones of this memoir ring in the colorless realities of Chuckie and Bobby, two orphaned brothers in dire need for the love of family and home. They were neither "insane," nor "retarded," but there they were, shuffled into the mix as such, foisting upon them the ravages of a dignity-stripping, state institution, archaically run, and fraught with stomach-turning abuse--sexual, physical, and psychological.

Throughout the story, told in a balance of narration and dialog, young Charles voices his experience; the lurid details of trust gone to betrayal, innocence thrust into vulgarity, dignity that compromises for protection, and yes, the occasional wisps of light and hope silhouetting relationships the "normal" outside world could never understand. This is Chuck's heart-rending, tell-all story of coping, courage, and survival. Deftly written and easy to follow, the story really moves, never once palling; the base line, flashbacks, and vignettes, each swapping in and out for center stage in perfect timing--artfully composed. Yet, the book's purpose is not merely of entertainment but one with a particular voice.

For the many children who have suffered the torrid abuse and neglect, "Hard Candy" speaks graphically on their behalf as part of today's vanguard to advance the call for protection of all those who are vulnerable to the crude indifference of those "in charge.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Keri Mcparland on January 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is Charles Carroll's unflinching memoir of his and other boys' brutal treatment while wards of the state (New Jersey) during the 1950s. Mislabeled retarded and institutionalized, Mr. Carroll endured years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his caretakers and other boys. The book is well written with an adult insight into some of his experiences. Though definitely not a pleasant afternoon read, it is certainly a worthwhile one. He also includes an extensive appendix with examples of modern day abuses of the system; just in case you might want to solace yourself with the thought that things have been fixed in modern day society.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michelle D. Portney on December 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
HARD CANDY: Nobody Ever Flies over the Cuckoo's Nest, should be sitting on the desk of every governor, senator, representative, director, and educator, and all students and professionals in human and social services, psychology and public health as ready reference to the complete failure of state mental institutions that maintain they protect its children, and it should be in the hands of every parent worldwide, to be used as a textbook in the protection of their children from pedophilia and child abuse. HARD CANDY is a must read for anyone caring for the welfare of children.

Hard Candy is an unforgettable saga of a young boy and his determination to survive appalling odds in one of our nation's mental institutions, where living conditions were so sadistic, so brutal and degrading, that "child abuse" doesn't come close to describing its disgrace.

Mr. Carroll has devoted his life to the pursuit of knowledge and generating awareness about the abuses that still occur inside such institutions. Do not think that his is a tale of yesteryear, nor take for granted that we have fixed the problem, for Mr. Carroll states, "Such atrocities do exist today, only today they are better hidden."

The author, with ample evidence, makes a good case for immediate public and bureaucratic concern, as this story is told with the innocent clarity of a young child, yet interspersed with the accumulated knowledge and hindsight analysis of the adult. It is a true story that travels through a decade of the author's childhood, beginning when he was seven years old, at which time he was repeatedly abandoned by the system and lost to the tombs of a bureaucratic hell.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Laura James on November 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
The fastest growing shelf in the bookstore has to be true crime as memoir. Many authors came out this year with books that take on heinous crimes committed against children they knew. In Hard Candy: Nobody Ever Flies Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the author writes true crime as memoir from the victim's point of view. And the crimes committed against Charles Carroll were inflicted by the state.

Charles and his older brother were abandoned by their parents. In 1951, when their foster care placement failed, they were reclassified and institutionalized in a state mental hospital. Charles, a perfectly normal child, was locked up with the mad and retarded at the New Jersey State Colony for Boys. If you read this unforgettable book about his hellish American childhood, you can never, ever complain about your own, no matter how bad you think it was.

Charles Carroll begins the story on the day of his entry, and we curiously follow him as he is thrown out of the Twentieth Century"and discovers that the place where he will grow up is a "nuthouse."The sexual abuse and vicious emotional abuse begins on the day of his arrival. He remained there for nearly a decade.

The story Carroll tells will read like wild fiction to some readers. But I can attest that the Hell he describes is no exaggeration. My mother worked at state mental hospitals in Michigan in the 1980s and 1990s. I worked in private care, lasting all of three months. As an attorney, I represented several private psychiatric hospitals, orphanages, and child care facilities, public and private, in sex abuse and wrongful death cases. I learned what"positional asphyxia"can do to the body of a child, and how hard it is to find a resident who has wandered away before he freezes. Much of it I'm bound by privilege not to repeat.
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