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We Can't Be Friends: A True Story Hardcover – October 3, 2017
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"Etler's gutsy present-tense narration of her feelings of insecurity and isolation is interwoven with the sublime moments of joy she experiences in music, in writing, and in her relationships; her prose dazzles with infectious verve. A powerful story of a survivor whose irrepressible personality shines throughout even her darkest moments.
" - Kirkus
"This is a gritty, hard-hitting, and, for many readers, unfortunately necessary exploration of what's really behind the lures of self-destructive behaviors, and what real recovery is and isn't.
" - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
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In We Can't Be Friends, YA phenom writer and and advocate Cyndy Drew Etler opens up about life after hell. Yes, as our recently departed Tom Petty proclaimed for all of history, you CAN stand your ground at the gates. But only Etler can describe what it's like to come through to the other side as a brain-washed shell of a kid who lives in fear of screwing up and being sent back into the arena.
In The Dead Inside, Etler described the horrors of a well-known, for-profit "drug rehab" for '80s kids. Nancy Reagan just about plotzed herself in glee when she toured a facility and saw the work being done in the "Just Say No" era. Only Etler and other Straightlings know the truth: the institutional abuse that masquerading as "help" left an entire generation of teens floundering for a place in the world once they were finally freed from the warehouse.
How do you go home again after that? How do you hug your mom, how do you make friends, how do you turn in homework and look forward to prom after you were locked up in hell? You don't. And Etler's sequel to her first memoir installment explains why.
This is not a story simply about survival or designed to shock. It is a critical examination of our society, and what we STILL perceive as normal and acceptable. What happened to Cyndy was in NO WAY her fault. Victim-blaming needs to end.
The person Cyndy really falls in love with is herself.
An absolutely horrid Recovery story that painfully depicts many of the sad realities of the Tough Love centers so popular in the 90s.
I was honored to receive an advance read copy of this book.
The mother who is so shocked when baby sister discloses abuse is an unfortunately well depicted idiot mom.
After big sis having brief acting out, and running away from contact, the assault is unfortunately no surprise.
No mention of official response besides mom being upset is also deplorably not that unusual. Especially in an suburban setting.
Congrats to the author for sharing that survival is possible and resources available for victims of child and teenage sexual assault.
Jeers to anyone who didn't take assault or abuse accusations seriously.
Cheers to those who found ways to help the survivors, and to the survivors for taking the chance on making it another day.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.