Dead Inside, The

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Dead Inside, The

Dead Inside, The

A True Story

By: Cyndy Etler

audio performed by: Heather Masters
genre: Young Adult/Childrens - Young Adult
publication date:05/17/2022
Sample not available


This fast-paced memoir that New York Times best-selling author Ellen Hopkins called "Compelling. Scary. Totally real" gives listeners a glimpse into the unbelievable reality of a young girl's 16 months in the notorious "tough love" program the ACLU called "a concentration camp for throwaway kids".

I never was a badass. Or a slut, a junkie, or a stoner, like they told me I was. I was just a kid looking for something good, something that felt like love. I was a wannabe in a Levi's jean jacket. Anybody could see that. Except my mother. And the staff at Straight.

I was 13 when I ran away from my abusive home. After a month in a shelter for kids - the best month of my childhood - my mother heard about Princess Di and First Lady Nancy Reagan's visit to this place that was working miracles with troubled teens. Straight Inc., it was called.

Straight described itself as a drug rehab, a "direction for youth". Strictly false advertising. An accurate description came from the ACLU, which called it "A concentration camp for throwaway teens". Inside the windowless warehouse, Straight used bizarre and intimidating methods to "treat" us; to turn us into the type of kids our parents wanted. The Dead Inside takes listeners behind Straight's closed doors, illustrating why the program was eventually investigated, sued, and closed down for abusing children.