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Romano įvykiai mus nukelia į Niujorką, kur vienoje Manheteno gatvelių neišskiriamas draugų ketvertas gyvena pagal savo Pragaro virtuvėje saugomus receptus. Laisvė, veržlumas, patirti nuotykiai pynėsi į vieną, vaikinus jungiančią ištikimą draugystę. Jiems augant, aplinkoje tarpstantis smurtas tik tirštėjo. 1967 vasarą, kai šalyje siautė rasiniai maištai, paauglių gyvenimą su Romano įvykiai mus nukelia į Niujorką, kur vienoje Manheteno gatvelių neišskiriamas draugų ketvertas gyvena pagal savo Pragaro virtuvėje saugomus receptus. Laisvė, veržlumas, patirti nuotykiai pynėsi į vieną, vaikinus jungiančią ištikimą draugystę. Jiems augant, aplinkoje tarpstantis smurtas tik tirštėjo. 1967 vasarą, kai šalyje siautė rasiniai maištai, paauglių gyvenimą sujaukia paprastas dešrainių vežimėlis. Nevykusi vagystė, o dar labiau – nevykęs atsitiktinis užpuolimas, kuriuo juos apkaltina policija, apverčia aukštyn kojomis jų gyvenimus. Jie jau nebe laisvi savo kvartalo gyventojai, bet berniukų kolonijos „svečiai“, kurie, kaip ir daugelis kitų įstatymo pažeidėjų, sutinkami be vaišių. Nauji vietiniai papročiai, prižiūrėtojų tvarka – viskas kitaip, nei buvo numylėtame kvartale.


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Romano įvykiai mus nukelia į Niujorką, kur vienoje Manheteno gatvelių neišskiriamas draugų ketvertas gyvena pagal savo Pragaro virtuvėje saugomus receptus. Laisvė, veržlumas, patirti nuotykiai pynėsi į vieną, vaikinus jungiančią ištikimą draugystę. Jiems augant, aplinkoje tarpstantis smurtas tik tirštėjo. 1967 vasarą, kai šalyje siautė rasiniai maištai, paauglių gyvenimą su Romano įvykiai mus nukelia į Niujorką, kur vienoje Manheteno gatvelių neišskiriamas draugų ketvertas gyvena pagal savo Pragaro virtuvėje saugomus receptus. Laisvė, veržlumas, patirti nuotykiai pynėsi į vieną, vaikinus jungiančią ištikimą draugystę. Jiems augant, aplinkoje tarpstantis smurtas tik tirštėjo. 1967 vasarą, kai šalyje siautė rasiniai maištai, paauglių gyvenimą sujaukia paprastas dešrainių vežimėlis. Nevykusi vagystė, o dar labiau – nevykęs atsitiktinis užpuolimas, kuriuo juos apkaltina policija, apverčia aukštyn kojomis jų gyvenimus. Jie jau nebe laisvi savo kvartalo gyventojai, bet berniukų kolonijos „svečiai“, kurie, kaip ir daugelis kitų įstatymo pažeidėjų, sutinkami be vaišių. Nauji vietiniai papročiai, prižiūrėtojų tvarka – viskas kitaip, nei buvo numylėtame kvartale.

30 review for Pragaro virtuvės vaikėzai, arba Miegaliai

  1. 5 out of 5

    Supratim

    Sleeper (colloq.): 1. out-of-town hit man who spends the night after a local contract is completed. 2. A juvenile sentenced to serve any period longer than nine months in a state-managed facility. Long time back, a movie buff friend had highly recommended the movie Sleepers. I never got around to watching the movie but remembered the name. While book hunting in a second hand book shop I came across the book and realized that the movie is based on this book. The book presents a tale of friendship, Sleeper (colloq.): 1. out-of-town hit man who spends the night after a local contract is completed. 2. A juvenile sentenced to serve any period longer than nine months in a state-managed facility. Long time back, a movie buff friend had highly recommended the movie Sleepers. I never got around to watching the movie but remembered the name. While book hunting in a second hand book shop I came across the book and realized that the movie is based on this book. The book presents a tale of friendship, loyalty, brutality and revenge. Trust me when I tell you – this is a pretty disturbing book. The book revolves around four inseparable friends – John Reilly, Tommy Marcano, Michael Sullivan and the author Lorenzo Carcaterra. The book starts with the story of the boys growing up in the rough neighbourhood of Hell’s Kitchen in the 1960s. The friends were like any boys – they loved movies, comics, sports, baseball cards, played childish pranks and surprisingly a couple of them also loved books. They often took succor from books when they tried to escape the harshness of their lives. They or rather their parents had a lot of problems at home, life in the Hell’s Kitchen was full of hardships and struggles – the boys only had each other for support. The author also writes, “ Life without friends was harder. Most kids were lucky enough to find one friend they could count on. I found three. All of them older, probably wiser, and no doubt smarter. There is no memory of my early years that does not include them. They were a part of every happy moment I enjoyed. A very important character in the life of the boys was Father Bobby. What a character he was. Raised in the same neighbourhood himself, he tried his level best to take care of the boys. He introduced them to the world of books, tried to keep them off the allure of easy money through crime. The author has also given a pretty good description of Hell’s Kitchen. “It was a place of innocence ruled by corruption.” The inhabitants of Hell’s Kitchen were tough and often violent. But they adhered to their own code of honour and justice. The punishment for any violations was ruthless. Life was going on fine or rather as fine as boys in such a neighbourhood can be. But a very stupid prank gone wrong would turn their world upside down. They would be sent off to a correctional facility – the Wilkinson Home for Boys and fall victim to the sadistic and perverted guards there. The boys were not members of any powerful gang and therefore vulnerable. The guards did unspeakable things to these boys – I felt so much anger while reading about their brutality. There were a few good men in the prison: a guard who tried to help the boys, a teacher who tried to make a difference. But they were powerless to fight the system. The boys left the correctional facility scarred for life. John and Tommy took to a life of crime, while the author and Michael left the neighbourhood and tried to live an honest life. A chance encounter with one of the sadistic guards would set off a series of events. Michael and Lorenzo would develop an elaborate plan to exact revenge not only on the guards but also on the facility itself. Old friends from the neighbourhood would come forward to ensure justice for the boys. The courtroom scenes were excellent. The guards got their just desserts and so did the facility. The boys got justice but still barring the author none of them got a chance to lead a normal life. The author says that it is a true story. Some people have raised doubts about the authenticity of the story. It might be semi-fictional, I don’t know. But I do know that crime against vulnerable children happens all over the world. That’s why the story was so poignant. The story reminded me of Stephen King’s The Body. The movie adaptation is Stand By Me. It was another beautiful and tragic tale involving young boys. If you think you would like to give the book a try then please go ahead. But as I have mentioned before, parts of the book are really disturbing.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Jar of Death Pick #36 Reading Rush: A book that inspired a movie you've already seen. Sleepers is a movie that I've never really heard anyone talk about. I'm the only person I know who has seen it. And the only reason I watched it was because Brad Renfro(RIP) was in it. Ive discussed the huge crush I had growing up on Brad Renfro. I've seen every movie he was ever in. I feel like I need to rewatch the movie now because back when I originally watched (when I was 16) I thought it was boring but afte Jar of Death Pick #36 Reading Rush: A book that inspired a movie you've already seen. Sleepers is a movie that I've never really heard anyone talk about. I'm the only person I know who has seen it. And the only reason I watched it was because Brad Renfro(RIP) was in it. Ive discussed the huge crush I had growing up on Brad Renfro. I've seen every movie he was ever in. I feel like I need to rewatch the movie now because back when I originally watched (when I was 16) I thought it was boring but after reading this book there is no way that the movie could be as boring as my teenage self thought. Sleepers is the "true story" of the author's harrowing time spent in a juvenile detention center(prison for kids) and the horrific abuse suffered there. I could not put this book down. It was taut, exciting, compelling and heartbreaking. This book put my emotions through the ringer. Now I am aware of the controversy surrounding this book. It has been alleged that the author Lorenzo Carcaterra didn't experience these things but instead it was a friends story. Nobody denies the story actually happened, what is in dispute is who it happened to. My thoughts on the matter are that it doesn't matter a lot to me if Lorenzo Carcaterra(with permission) told some else's story because I think this story needed to be told and no one connected to it wanted to be identified. Sleepers is a brutal story. No child should ever have to experience the horrific abuse suffered by the people in this book. Mr. Carcaterra is a brilliant writer, who told a gripping story of friendship, loyalty, betrayal, courage, and revenge. I recommend Sleepers with all of my heart. A Must Read!

  3. 4 out of 5

    CaliGirlRae

    I read this once when I was younger and have not read it since. I remember reading this shortly before the movie came out (which I had only seen about once or twice itself) and the events stayed with me ever since then. The story was a harrowing one exploring the effects of how life can change in an incident with a minor mistake of childhood play. After a childhood prank that ends in the death of a local vendor, the four friends of the book are sentenced to a brutal juvenile prison where the pris I read this once when I was younger and have not read it since. I remember reading this shortly before the movie came out (which I had only seen about once or twice itself) and the events stayed with me ever since then. The story was a harrowing one exploring the effects of how life can change in an incident with a minor mistake of childhood play. After a childhood prank that ends in the death of a local vendor, the four friends of the book are sentenced to a brutal juvenile prison where the prison guards abuse them in horrific ways. This book is detailed as to the emotional, physical and mental abuse the boys endure. It's a memoir based on the author's own experiences, I believe, and although some 'authorities' have questioned its truth but some of the most harrowing things in history have tried to be covered up and brushed aside. But the truth lies in those who have lived such situations and a voice will be heard for those have suffered at the hands of such abuse. This book will always stay with me and I highly recommend this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ubiquitousbastard

    Possibly the most disturbing book that I have ever read. After I finished it (I was fifteen), I walked around my house in shock muttering "oh my god" over and over. Originally I had picked it up out of a bookshelf without knowing what it was about, so the subject matter was more of a surprise than if I had known what to expect. I actually feel somewhat horrible giving this five stars, but it was an utterly engrossing and captivating book. Honestly, I wouldn't recommend this for most people I kno Possibly the most disturbing book that I have ever read. After I finished it (I was fifteen), I walked around my house in shock muttering "oh my god" over and over. Originally I had picked it up out of a bookshelf without knowing what it was about, so the subject matter was more of a surprise than if I had known what to expect. I actually feel somewhat horrible giving this five stars, but it was an utterly engrossing and captivating book. Honestly, I wouldn't recommend this for most people I know, but it is an amazing book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bren

    “The night and the streets were ours and the future lay sparkling ahead. And we thought we would know each other forever.” ― Lorenzo Carcaterra, Sleepers I both saw the film and read the book....a long time ago. I just realized I never did a review on this story. This maybe in my top 20 as far as darkest stories of all time. It is about four boys, who are sent to a juvenile detention school and abused terribly. Lots of TRIGGERS in this one. The boys grow up hardened, angry..and consumed by the need f “The night and the streets were ours and the future lay sparkling ahead. And we thought we would know each other forever.” ― Lorenzo Carcaterra, Sleepers I both saw the film and read the book....a long time ago. I just realized I never did a review on this story. This maybe in my top 20 as far as darkest stories of all time. It is about four boys, who are sent to a juvenile detention school and abused terribly. Lots of TRIGGERS in this one. The boys grow up hardened, angry..and consumed by the need for revenge. This is also based on a true story. It is tragic, bitter, deeply moving and powerful. But it is very dark. I will also warn that I read several reviews before writing mine and several give thing s away, including the ending and do not use spoilers. So please be aware of that. I'd recommend this in a minute..the film as well. But you have to be in the right mood. It is superbly written and will reasonate.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    It was the summer of '97 and I got grounded for sneaking out of my bedroom window (again) to meet up with friends to drink warm, pilfered beers and smoke mexican ditch rat-weed (probably). So while I'm grounded I read this book and I can't put it own. Because I read it so quickly, I still have a week to kill with nothing to do. So i read it again. I had friends come over to try and get me to sneak out again but i blow em off and say 'nah, im good actually, got this book im reading'. That's about It was the summer of '97 and I got grounded for sneaking out of my bedroom window (again) to meet up with friends to drink warm, pilfered beers and smoke mexican ditch rat-weed (probably). So while I'm grounded I read this book and I can't put it own. Because I read it so quickly, I still have a week to kill with nothing to do. So i read it again. I had friends come over to try and get me to sneak out again but i blow em off and say 'nah, im good actually, got this book im reading'. That's about all i can remember of this.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    I read this book many years ago when I was in high school and I wanted to re read it to see how I felt about it this many years later. It was still a very hard read. The first part of the book describes the relationships and friendship between the four boys, we get to know their personalities and characteristics and have some insight as to how each of them will cope in this hideous environment. The boys end up in some mischief which has dire consequences, they are sent to a reform school where t I read this book many years ago when I was in high school and I wanted to re read it to see how I felt about it this many years later. It was still a very hard read. The first part of the book describes the relationships and friendship between the four boys, we get to know their personalities and characteristics and have some insight as to how each of them will cope in this hideous environment. The boys end up in some mischief which has dire consequences, they are sent to a reform school where they will endure horrendous physical, sexual and emotional abuse for the duration of their sentence. Their innocence is destroyed and this will have terrible effects on each of them for the rest of their lives.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    The book is very well written and graphic in its portrayal of violence and sex, but I had a sneaking suspicion it may be mostly fiction even while I was reading it years ago. A quick search on the net now convinces me that there is a huge controversy regarding the veracity of the story. If it's a true story, it rates five stars. If it's fiction paraded as truth, it rates only one star. Since there is no way of establishing the truth, I plumb for three stars. The book is very well written and graphic in its portrayal of violence and sex, but I had a sneaking suspicion it may be mostly fiction even while I was reading it years ago. A quick search on the net now convinces me that there is a huge controversy regarding the veracity of the story. If it's a true story, it rates five stars. If it's fiction paraded as truth, it rates only one star. Since there is no way of establishing the truth, I plumb for three stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    The author, Lorenzo Carcaterra in his book, "Sleepers" tells the story as himself reflecting back to when he was a boy growing up in Hell's Kitchen (a city in New York) in the 1960's, and a place he and his three other friends were forced to go to after pulling a stupid prank that almost kills someone. This place is a juvenille facility that they soon find out will change their lives forever. There they endure unnecessary verbal, physical and sexual abuse from the guards that watch them. Later as The author, Lorenzo Carcaterra in his book, "Sleepers" tells the story as himself reflecting back to when he was a boy growing up in Hell's Kitchen (a city in New York) in the 1960's, and a place he and his three other friends were forced to go to after pulling a stupid prank that almost kills someone. This place is a juvenille facility that they soon find out will change their lives forever. There they endure unnecessary verbal, physical and sexual abuse from the guards that watch them. Later as adults two of the friends decide to get revenge when they see one of the guards in a bar. This leads to a big trial, but the friends feel like they can finally have complete revenge and expose the guards. There is not a negative thing to be said about this book. It definitely amounts to "The Count of Monte Criso" in the way of revenge. The way Carcaterra decribes everything,especially his life in Hell's Kitchen, you really get a sense of what he's like and everything relates to his character as a boy. It's not artificial sounding, emotional, and you feel like you just jump into his world and life; reliving it. Everything was tied together well, and was never boring. I read it in like two days because every chapter was left off perfectly, but you couldn't help reading the next few pages and the next... not to sound cliche but, a total page turner! Lorenzo Carcaterra, Sleepers

  10. 5 out of 5

    Robin Reynolds

    The kind of book where you don't really want to say you enjoyed it, given the subject matter and the fact that it's nonfiction (although I've read some dissenting views regarding that, but more on that later), but it was definitely captivating. And during the part of the book set at the Wilkinson School for Boys, a nice way of saying juvenile detention center or reform school, there were times when I felt anxious and dreaded the next few pages. I don't think a book has ever done that to me befor The kind of book where you don't really want to say you enjoyed it, given the subject matter and the fact that it's nonfiction (although I've read some dissenting views regarding that, but more on that later), but it was definitely captivating. And during the part of the book set at the Wilkinson School for Boys, a nice way of saying juvenile detention center or reform school, there were times when I felt anxious and dreaded the next few pages. I don't think a book has ever done that to me before. We meet Lorenzo “Shakes” and his three best friends when they are all around 11-14 years old (if I'm remembering correctly). The author tells us how the four became fast friends while living in Hell's Kitchen, and takes us through a lot of their escapades, up until the fateful practical joke that lands a passerby in the hospital. Up until then it's almost a warm amusing memoir of schoolboy antics. But it definitely takes a very dark turn when the four boys are sent to Wilkinson. From there we follow the boys as they are abused by the guards, physically, emotionally and sexually. Those are some of the scenes that gutted me, and were hard to read at times. Once the boys are released, we jump into the future, and follow the boys, now men, as two of them kill one of the former guards, and the other two devise an elaborate plan to tilt the trial in their favor and convince a jury to find the killers not guilty. I understand the deep friendship that led to this, but considering the two who killed the guards have killed others before that, and probably went on to kill others after that...well, it's a shaky moral line to be straddling. Usually after I read a book that's also a movie, I like to watch the movie. This one, I'm not so sure I want to see these events played out in front of me. Although, Brad Pitt and Jeffrey Donovan! Shakes grows up to become a journalist, and his writing is superb, with the words flowing across the page. He has quite a few other books in his backlist, fiction and nonfiction, and I plan to keep an eye out for them. After the book's release, there was a lot of debate about whether or not it was in fact a true story, with naysayers claiming there was no record of any court case/trial like the one in the book. True or not, the book is worth reading. You can find a New York Times article here: https://www.nytimes.com/1996/10/22/mo....

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I've heard that there is some doubt about the truth behind this story, which has made the claim to be entirely true. I read this book long before those doubts were raised, and then again after I heard about them, and my opinion of the book did not change at all. It would be better if the story was true, as Carcaterra presents it, but it does have a slight element of "yeah, sure..." that the reader has to work through, especially at the end. But, true or not, it's a great story. The friendship of t I've heard that there is some doubt about the truth behind this story, which has made the claim to be entirely true. I read this book long before those doubts were raised, and then again after I heard about them, and my opinion of the book did not change at all. It would be better if the story was true, as Carcaterra presents it, but it does have a slight element of "yeah, sure..." that the reader has to work through, especially at the end. But, true or not, it's a great story. The friendship of the four small boys (and token girl) from Hell's Kitchen, and especially the history of how they met was charming. I liked the "history" that Carcaterra gave to their group, and the background as to each member's personalities. Their time in the Home for Boys made my stomach hurt. If those events actually did happen - from the beatings to the torture to the rapes and unimaginable humiliation - then I sit amazed at how two of the four grew up with their sanity intact. And that's where I started to read the story with a question in my heart...even before the doubts were raised. It all seemed to come together so easily for them. Once they had an idea of what they wanted to do, and how they could accomplish it, everything just fell into place. I don't know how realistic that is, but it made for a great ending, and had me cheering for "the boys", even as I knew that what they were doing was far from legal.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ivana Azap Feješ

    I have cried so much... I don't know how can people be so evil - we are talking about the boys here!!! I cannot stand that - the idea that everything here is probably true (for this author), that this kind of thing really happens all around the world, is sooo heart breaking, I, I, I.... I cannot... The book is so good written, and of course Mr. Carcaterra implies that the book is based on a true story.... So many good descriptions of emotions, and characters, and places, and the horrific happeni I have cried so much... I don't know how can people be so evil - we are talking about the boys here!!! I cannot stand that - the idea that everything here is probably true (for this author), that this kind of thing really happens all around the world, is sooo heart breaking, I, I, I.... I cannot... The book is so good written, and of course Mr. Carcaterra implies that the book is based on a true story.... So many good descriptions of emotions, and characters, and places, and the horrific happenings.... The story just pools you in and don't let you go until you read it till the end with that pain in the chest and sadness for the little boys that were broken on so many levels... I have so many tears in my eyes, and I cannot say anything more about this book except that it is something that everyone must read... The movie Sleepers is good - but when you read every their thought while everything was happening, you did not experience this story in a way that it is meant to be experienced... Great book, great author... standing ovation

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chana

    I read this book a number of years ago and believed every word. This time around I found myself skeptical. It reminded me of James Frey's A Million Little Pieces. It was too stylized and unlikely; I could believe it may have had its roots in truth but that doesn't make the story a full truth. The court case seemed particularly unlikely. It is a pretty well-written story but I don't see it as THE TRUTH, just a version thereof most likely. It could, in fact, be lies from beginning to end, but ther I read this book a number of years ago and believed every word. This time around I found myself skeptical. It reminded me of James Frey's A Million Little Pieces. It was too stylized and unlikely; I could believe it may have had its roots in truth but that doesn't make the story a full truth. The court case seemed particularly unlikely. It is a pretty well-written story but I don't see it as THE TRUTH, just a version thereof most likely. It could, in fact, be lies from beginning to end, but there probably is some truth there. I googled the Wilkinson Home for Boys and found that I was not the only one who was skeptical. The NY Times published an article about doubts that were being expressed and as far as I could tell the story could not be verified. Mr. Carcaterra maintains that it is the truth with names and dates changed.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    This is a true story but it reads as fluidly as fiction. A gritty account of young boys sent to a detention home and the brutality they endured from the guards. Hard to read at times, but compelling.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Essence Michelle

    I absolutely fell into the pages of this book. I enjoyed every vivid characters and smiled at the fact that they were at one point real people. The story definitely provides a strong sense of reality that only one who has been abused can relate to. The author was able to convey such images to the reader that could bring one to tears. The thing I enjoyed the most in this book was the love shared between friends. The main characters knew that no matter what happened in the world or how life changed I absolutely fell into the pages of this book. I enjoyed every vivid characters and smiled at the fact that they were at one point real people. The story definitely provides a strong sense of reality that only one who has been abused can relate to. The author was able to convey such images to the reader that could bring one to tears. The thing I enjoyed the most in this book was the love shared between friends. The main characters knew that no matter what happened in the world or how life changed them that they would always be able to go to their friends in a time of need or a time of nostalgia.It taught me the importance of having someone to confide in and being the confidant. When I began to reach the final few chapters of the book, I was overtaken with sadness at the demise of each character whose struggle I had become familiar with and sympathized for. Any book that can do that truly deserves five stars.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Francesca

    I was given this book by a friend of mine who is into gangster books. The plot really got me intrigued and I didn’t get disappointed. Very tough story as well. I am glad I have read it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    *** There is talk that this "based on a true story is just that.....a story! But I'm going on what I read, and that its a telling a real part of a real mans past. I had been intruded to this movie YEARS ago (I believe 1995-1996) and I knew it had a book on the topic but just never got around to getting it...Fast forward to present time, and I'm walking out a book store and there on a .25cents cart there it is!!!(so I get it!) I knew the premise of the story, as I said I seen the movie before, I *** There is talk that this "based on a true story is just that.....a story! But I'm going on what I read, and that its a telling a real part of a real mans past. I had been intruded to this movie YEARS ago (I believe 1995-1996) and I knew it had a book on the topic but just never got around to getting it...Fast forward to present time, and I'm walking out a book store and there on a .25cents cart there it is!!!(so I get it!) I knew the premise of the story, as I said I seen the movie before, I knew it was gonna be a ULTRA TOUGH READ (any book young children are put in that kind of situation... I CAN'T EVEN THINK ON IT...) But I think the book was better. The movie was almost spot on, but the book told character thoughts, gave more detail on background people and places, all and all it was just a heart wrenching, gut-twisting read.. 1.The flippant way these kids were "fed to the wolves" so to speak For a Prank, a Joke Gone Horribly Horribly Wrong!! 2. How it completely turned these kids lives upside-down... (view spoiler)[ at one point they call John the caring one. (Makes the clubhouse a safe haven for animals, helps little old indigent lady's with no friends, no family NO ONE TO HELP!! ) and when he is out of that cess pool he's a Stone-Cold, No care, Devil May Cry attitude KILLER!!! (hide spoiler)] 3. Because if this is true.....THIS HAPPENED TO KIDS ONE OF THE MOST DEFENSELESS PEOPLE OF OUR SOCIETY!!!! God Help Us...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Geoff Hyatt

    If you believe this is a true story, then I have a bridge I'd like to sell you. None of this has ever been substantiated for a reason--it didn't happen. If one good thing came out of the A Million Little Pieces fiasco, it's that we don't have to choke down whoppers like Sleepers anymore. What begins as a passable memoir of a hard-scrabble childhood in Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s quickly strains credulity with twists ranging from the convenient to the absurd. Sadly, the greater truths of abuses w If you believe this is a true story, then I have a bridge I'd like to sell you. None of this has ever been substantiated for a reason--it didn't happen. If one good thing came out of the A Million Little Pieces fiasco, it's that we don't have to choke down whoppers like Sleepers anymore. What begins as a passable memoir of a hard-scrabble childhood in Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s quickly strains credulity with twists ranging from the convenient to the absurd. Sadly, the greater truths of abuses within the corrections system are undermined by what's clearly nothing more than a bad novel. So much that happens in Sleepers is so patently, obviously false that it makes it hard to read even even at a basic story level. I promise you that two Irish cocaine kingpins of Hell's Kitchen in the 80s did not keep severed hands in a meat locker across town, hands that they later used to plant fingerprint evidence. (Seriously, what editor cleared this?) There was no public, impulsive shooting of a former boys home guard in a local pub, and the shooters did not walk thanks to the help of their kindly neighborhood priest and his somehow irrefutable ticket-stub evidence. It's easy to see why this became a successful Hollywood movie--because it's just a fantasy. And not a particularly well-done one, either.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Fishface

    This is going to be the book to beat this year for Best Read. It's a rich, involving memoir of growing up in Hell's Kitchen and learning to negotiate the ins and outs of that world. From there the rug is yanked out from underneath the author and his best friends and they end up in a whole new nightmare. What follows is apparently also a true story, but to me -- a revenge-minded grudge-holder from way, way back -- it reads like the unlikeliest of fairytales. Beautifully written. My only unanswere This is going to be the book to beat this year for Best Read. It's a rich, involving memoir of growing up in Hell's Kitchen and learning to negotiate the ins and outs of that world. From there the rug is yanked out from underneath the author and his best friends and they end up in a whole new nightmare. What follows is apparently also a true story, but to me -- a revenge-minded grudge-holder from way, way back -- it reads like the unlikeliest of fairytales. Beautifully written. My only unanswered question: Why was this an alternate selection for the Book of the Month Club instead of a main selection?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kit★

    I pretty much read this book because I had seen the movie a few years ago. I can't really say it was good because of the horrific subject matter, but the author did a great job of telling the story. I could almost see the city, hear the accents spoken. I got emotional at the things happening to the boys, and I cheered when the vengeance came. I pretty much read this book because I had seen the movie a few years ago. I can't really say it was good because of the horrific subject matter, but the author did a great job of telling the story. I could almost see the city, hear the accents spoken. I got emotional at the things happening to the boys, and I cheered when the vengeance came.

  21. 5 out of 5

    tiffany

    Sleeper: 1. Out-of-town hit man who spends the night after a local contract is completed. 2. A juvenile sentenced to serve any period longer than nine months in a state-managed facility. I purchased this book for two dollars on thriftbooks almost two years ago and I regret that it took me this long to finally read it. It reads so fluently, each chapter melting into the next. It's one of those where you forget you're reading and when you finally look up you've finished one hundred pages. I felt ev Sleeper: 1. Out-of-town hit man who spends the night after a local contract is completed. 2. A juvenile sentenced to serve any period longer than nine months in a state-managed facility. I purchased this book for two dollars on thriftbooks almost two years ago and I regret that it took me this long to finally read it. It reads so fluently, each chapter melting into the next. It's one of those where you forget you're reading and when you finally look up you've finished one hundred pages. I felt every bit of raw emotion that was meant and every bit of empathy for a group of boys who had to live through the unimaginable. I won't forget this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Missy (myweereads)

    “They are cries that change the course of a life, that trample innocence and snuff out goodness.” Lorenzo Carcaterra’s book is based on the true story of a group of four boys brought up in New York's Hell's Kitchen during the 1960s. After nearly causing a man's death, the boys are sent to a reformatory. Here they are exposed to brutality by the guards, leaving them with nothing more than undying loyalty for each other. This story is familiar to me from watching the movie Sleepers many years ago. I “They are cries that change the course of a life, that trample innocence and snuff out goodness.” Lorenzo Carcaterra’s book is based on the true story of a group of four boys brought up in New York's Hell's Kitchen during the 1960s. After nearly causing a man's death, the boys are sent to a reformatory. Here they are exposed to brutality by the guards, leaving them with nothing more than undying loyalty for each other. This story is familiar to me from watching the movie Sleepers many years ago. I remember it being a difficult movie to watch and has stuck with me since. Picking up the book I expected it to be just as challenging because of the many triggers, not only was it heartbreaking it was also captivating and difficult to put down. The in depth story of these boys and their relationships not only with each other but with the people who raised them made it all the more emotional. To experience the abuse and loss of hope which in adulthood provided a means for revenge was written well. Overall it feels strange to say I enjoyed this book but I did. I appreciated the way in which it was written to tell the story of the boys and the court case. It is a difficult one to put down and although it may not be for everyone it’s also one not to be missed.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sleepless Dreamer

    Holy shit. I literally can not talk about this book. Each word I write doesn't manage to quite convey everything I think and feel. I'll just say this; this book is absolutely incredible. This book is going to stay with me for a long time. I feel like this review might be slightly spoilerly. Not anything major, I mean, everyone knows how this ends but still, read at your own risk. The first part isn't too interesting but it's incredibly important. It sets the stage, in a way. The author has a way Holy shit. I literally can not talk about this book. Each word I write doesn't manage to quite convey everything I think and feel. I'll just say this; this book is absolutely incredible. This book is going to stay with me for a long time. I feel like this review might be slightly spoilerly. Not anything major, I mean, everyone knows how this ends but still, read at your own risk. The first part isn't too interesting but it's incredibly important. It sets the stage, in a way. The author has a way with words. The writing manages to describe, I can't quite place it. It's simple and reads like an article but it really makes you feel. With just enough details, you can visualize everything, from how Michael speaks, to the way the neighborhood looks, just by his words. And then the second part. I finished my Holocaust paper so I thought the days of me crying in libraries were done. Man, I was wrong. I sobbed. Literally, sat in my favorite corner in the library and sobbed because this book was so painful. After reading Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man's Prison, I thought I couldn't read anything that was more gruesome. I thought I had hit rock bottom, that the scenes in that book were the worst scenes I'd ever have to visualize. I was wrong. From his thirteenth birthday, to the last night, I was shaking and crying and slowly losing more and more faith in humanity. The writing's power makes it all seem so vivid, so real. But then the third part comes up. And it's fueling. It fills you up with hope. This story has a heroic build. It's amazing, the way you see them be kids and pretend these things and then they face real life villains and win against them. As a reader, this pleases me. I like seeing the villain lose. I love seeing heroes triumph against evil in clever and witty ways. But more than that, it fills me up with thoughts. It challenges me to think about my own moral compass, about where I draw the line and where I don't. It shows the complexity of human spirit, the strength yet the ugliness of human nature. This book strengthens my resolve that prisons aren't okay, that there are other ways. I just keep wondering about systems. Lorenzo (I really love that name) and his friends grew up in an environment that's okay with minor rule breakings, like stealing hot dogs. When they're in a place that condones violence,like Wilkinson it breeds violence. And in the end, the violence in Wilkinson was what pushed John and Tommy to become violent. But didn't the childhood in Hell's Kitchen make Lorenzo and Michael feel that it's okay to lie in court? And was it okay? This book raises so many important questions. Clearly Wilkinson are absolutely in the wrong and need to be stopped. But in the same time, is it okay to kill someone that committed a very horrible, very wrong wrong against you? When do we draw the line? When is it okay morally to kill someone that did something wrong against you and when isn't it? I mean, this book portrays their actions in court as heroic. Laws exist so everyone gets trialled equally, so there's a system that answers the call for justice objectively. But is that really so? Could a murder be moral? And don't get me wrong, I was rooting for them. I, too, have a love for the underdogs. I love seeing a person who was pushed down get up, fight, and win. In fact, I still think they qualify as heroes. I'm just not sure heroes are moral. At the same time, I'm just thinking about what could this book mean about our justice system. Do John and Tommy (if they were alive) need to pay for their crimes? How can we, as a society, help? Is this a book about heroes defeating an evil or a bunch of people without respect for rules, breaking the law for their own rules about revenge? The author paints Hell's Kitchen as an amazing place. He portrays it honestly, showing bad sides too but the general vibe is that it was a good place growing up, that the people are good, and so on. I just keep thinking about if that's true. Are laws really necessary to keep people in line? It seems the answer is obviously yes but no law stopped the guards for doing their heinous deeds. Ok, I could go on all day and I think in my mind, I probably will. There's just so much to think about, so many questions that it raises about our society, our systems, our morality. This book has some difficult parts but I definitely recommend it. The rough parts are horrible but the third part is so incredible, it makes you feel better. Oh, I listened to Moving Mountains "Abby Normal" and "Let's Shake on it" by Favorite Weapon and both of them really work with this book. I guess it's time to give The Count of Monte Cristo another chance, I stopped in the middle last time.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sienna

    Finding it hard to decide how many stars to give this one. This caught my eye in the true crime section at Barnes & Noble and I was excited to get my copy from the library (which took a couple weeks, because apparently, there’s only one copy of this book in one library in the state of Alaska). I was immediately drawn in by the prose and clearly the author has a great talent for writing - the strongest part of the whole book is easily the beginning, in which the author paints a vivid story of boy Finding it hard to decide how many stars to give this one. This caught my eye in the true crime section at Barnes & Noble and I was excited to get my copy from the library (which took a couple weeks, because apparently, there’s only one copy of this book in one library in the state of Alaska). I was immediately drawn in by the prose and clearly the author has a great talent for writing - the strongest part of the whole book is easily the beginning, in which the author paints a vivid story of boyhood and growing up in Hell’s Kitchen in the 1960s. But here’s where my first issue arises. As a reader, I was led to believe that 4 innocent and fun-loving young boys played a harmless prank that landed them in a juvenile detention center. Because boys will be boys, eh?? Um, no. Forgive me, but there was almost nothing innocent about a single one of these boys. Underprivileged, poor, neglected - yes. Perhaps they weren’t initiated into any gang YET - but they were committing plenty of petty crimes on their own (shoplifting from stores and beating the crap out of shopkeepers when they try to stop you at the age of 12 hardly sounds innocent to me). Not to mention that each was involved with the neighborhood crime kingpin - running drug money, etc. So by the time they were arrested for their NOT harmless prank (which left a man almost dead), I felt a little duped by the book jacket. So, that’s not to say that they deserved what happened to them during their time in the Wilkinson Home for Boys. Absolutely not. Did they deserve to be arrested? Yes. Should they have paid for their senseless crime against the hot dog vender and innocent bystander? Yes. Should they have been tortured, raped, and further abused by the guards at Wilkinson? No. My second and biggest problem with this book came toward the end. By the time I came to the jury’s verdict, I knew I’d be googling the heck out of this book. NO WAY, I kept thinking, NO WAY can this all be true. And... as soon as I finished googling, it seems that I was right to be so incredulous and disbelieving. Perhaps parts of it are true... Perhaps it started out with its roots in truth, but it would seem as though any and all investigations done to prove the author’s validity have come up short. So therefore, my biggest problem with this book is that it has been reprinted recently and is still being marketed as a “true story.” This book shouldn’t have caught my eye from the true crime section at B&N - it should be over with all the other fiction. Because it’s just a story. A very well-written story by a clearly talented author who made a LOT of money when the rights to his book were sold to Hollywood.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Selwa

    Oh man, how do I even begin to rate or review this book? I'll start with a synopsis, to buy some time ;) Four boys from a grittier part of NYC in the '60s, the best of friends, have a rough-but-happy childhood. At some point in the story a prank goes wrong (someone almost dies), and the 4 wind up in a juvenile detention center upstate, where they are brutalized regularly by a quartet of guards. Fast forward 10-15 years, the two boys that turned to a life of crime happen to bump into one of the mo Oh man, how do I even begin to rate or review this book? I'll start with a synopsis, to buy some time ;) Four boys from a grittier part of NYC in the '60s, the best of friends, have a rough-but-happy childhood. At some point in the story a prank goes wrong (someone almost dies), and the 4 wind up in a juvenile detention center upstate, where they are brutalized regularly by a quartet of guards. Fast forward 10-15 years, the two boys that turned to a life of crime happen to bump into one of the monsters from juvie and murder him. The two that followed a straighter path in their lives decide to help. Like the 3 Musketeers, probably. Anyway, I can't deny that this book is quite readable. The dialogue is snappy and clever, and Lorenzo Carcaterra has a way of getting you to root for the good guys not-so-bad guys, or the bad guys with hearts of gold. Or the good guys that do bad things? Or maybe just the people that aren't straight-up bad. It's a little complicated. (Speaking of complicated, what's up with Carol? I was reminded, uncomfortably, of that weird preteen gang bang in It.) But there are two issues for me. The lesser issue is that I never know how to rate something that is well written but about a horrendous subject. How can I "love" a book where children are raped? Then again, maybe it's possible, because of the second issue: there is (or was ... this was written in 1996) a debate as to whether or not this is a true story, as asserted by the author. He really covered his bases ... in the prologue he states that he "changed many of the names and altered most of the dates, locations, and identifying characteristics of people and institutions to protect the identities of those involved." Later in the book, someone fudges the old school documents to erase the proof of the boys having missed a year of school. Like I said, all bases are covered. BUT ... there's no statute of limitations on murder. So how could someone write such a detailed book about MURDER and not get called in to answer some questions for the police? (Can you tell I'm one of the non-believers?) Anyway, if you're looking for a well-told, fast paced story and you like your revenge served icy cold, go for it. But take it with a grain of salt, in my opinion (obviously it's my opinion ... it's my review).

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dark-Draco

    I remember going to see the film of this when it first hit the cinemas, so wanted to read this to understand the story some more. It's a tough tale to read. Four friends, growing up in Hells Kitchen, are mainly harmless and spend their childhood roaming free in the neighbourhood. But when one of their pranks goes wrong and a man is seriously injured, they are sent to a Reform School for Boys. Although their sentence is only for a few months, what they find inside is a group of guards determined I remember going to see the film of this when it first hit the cinemas, so wanted to read this to understand the story some more. It's a tough tale to read. Four friends, growing up in Hells Kitchen, are mainly harmless and spend their childhood roaming free in the neighbourhood. But when one of their pranks goes wrong and a man is seriously injured, they are sent to a Reform School for Boys. Although their sentence is only for a few months, what they find inside is a group of guards determined to bully and abuse the boys supposedly in their care. Those months, full of injuries, rape, starvation and mental abuse, change all of them forever. Eleven years later, two of the boys now work for the mob. When they spot one of their abusers, they shoot him dead in front of witnesses. The two remaining men, one now a lawyer, the other a writer, are determined to help them. The lawyer takes the prosecution, using his position to manipulate the facts and evidence, while the writer works behind the scenes as a go between. This isn't the most well-written book I have ever read, but as you know it is based on a true story, the horrors of it make you forget how it is written. A lot of time is spent on the childhood memories, setting up the scenes for the later finale. The case is brilliantly manipulated, so that all four of the guilty guards get some well-earned commeuppance. Not an easy book to read, but well worth it. Second Read: 2019 When this fell into my hands again, I had to re-read it, having remembered how good it was the first time round. I hadn't remembered incorrectly - the writing is good and it's hard to put down. You can't help but feel for these boys who have their whole world turned upside down when a prank goes wrong. However, since I first read this back in 2012 (and watched the film at the cinema), I've read more than one article showing how this book could not been based on true events. The author maintains it is, but doesn't seem to offer up a lot of evidence to back himself up. To be honest, it doesn't matter to me a lot either way, in that it's a cracking good story, slightly disturbing, but a satisfying read. However, claiming it to be true when it isn't somehow feels as if the author is betraying the reader in some way. Enjoy it as a piece of fiction!

  27. 4 out of 5

    F

    This book was gripping and vividly depicted without superfluous detail. The characters become very real, you want to reach out to them. I was immersed in the scenery. Even if you'd never been to Hell's Kitchen in the 60s you can be there in this book. Written by one survivor of abhorrent abuse within a New York juvenile detention centre in the 1960s, this book depicts his life - and the lives of his three friends - before, during and after incarceration in the Wilkinson Home for Boys. This is not a This book was gripping and vividly depicted without superfluous detail. The characters become very real, you want to reach out to them. I was immersed in the scenery. Even if you'd never been to Hell's Kitchen in the 60s you can be there in this book. Written by one survivor of abhorrent abuse within a New York juvenile detention centre in the 1960s, this book depicts his life - and the lives of his three friends - before, during and after incarceration in the Wilkinson Home for Boys. This is not a literary piece and it shouldn't be. It sets out to tell what happened in three distinct parts. It does so in a controlled way, never lapsing into self-pity or abject hatred. Much of the horror is left for you to fabricate mentally which is just as well because I am sure that much more occurred than could be imagined. Although I gave it five stars, I felt slightly let down at the very end where a female character is latterly more involved - like she's joined the party a bit too late and we don't know her. Apart from that, this is gritty, honest, measured writing with a strong cast of characters in a sadly real-life plot. I have not seen the movie.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    This was a riveting read and it kept me engaged throughout. I looked at my bookshelves and realized that I had not added this book. It is a story of four boys growing up in Hell's Kitchen. One day, a prank goes wrong and they end up killing a man by accident. They are sent to the Wilkinson Home for Boys as punishment. It is there that their horrific abuse at the hands of some guards takes place. After being released, they deal with their abuse in different ways. Years later, two of the boys see o This was a riveting read and it kept me engaged throughout. I looked at my bookshelves and realized that I had not added this book. It is a story of four boys growing up in Hell's Kitchen. One day, a prank goes wrong and they end up killing a man by accident. They are sent to the Wilkinson Home for Boys as punishment. It is there that their horrific abuse at the hands of some guards takes place. After being released, they deal with their abuse in different ways. Years later, two of the boys see one of the guards who tortured and raped them. They exact revenge. The rest of the book deals with the aftermath of their revenge. Note: There was a movie that came out starring Kevin Bacon and Robert DeNiro. Frankly, the book is much better. A lot of scenes were changed or let out. Overall, a great story about how abuse shapes your life.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ziba

    Put Stephen Kings Shawshank Redemption in one hand, and his The Body in the other. Now put your hands together and you'll have Lorenzo Carcaterra's Sleepers; an allegedly true story of four boys who are united through life by solid friendship, never leaving each others side. An eye opener to what went on behind the bars of justice in the 1960's New York, and the 'wrong side of the law'. A gruesome story of what freedom really meant. Put Stephen Kings Shawshank Redemption in one hand, and his The Body in the other. Now put your hands together and you'll have Lorenzo Carcaterra's Sleepers; an allegedly true story of four boys who are united through life by solid friendship, never leaving each others side. An eye opener to what went on behind the bars of justice in the 1960's New York, and the 'wrong side of the law'. A gruesome story of what freedom really meant.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Rothman

    I won this book in a goodreads giveaway! well i was very intrigued to read this hard hitting book i had watched the movie a long time ago and really liked it! And well the book and movie are very insync with each other! now i will say that this book is not for the light hearted and can be a trigger book but if you can read it i highly recommend it! the anguish and pain these poor boys and others like them go through is horrific i know that they alway will carry the guilt of the hot dog vendor wi I won this book in a goodreads giveaway! well i was very intrigued to read this hard hitting book i had watched the movie a long time ago and really liked it! And well the book and movie are very insync with each other! now i will say that this book is not for the light hearted and can be a trigger book but if you can read it i highly recommend it! the anguish and pain these poor boys and others like them go through is horrific i know that they alway will carry the guilt of the hot dog vendor with them and yes they did need to be punished BUT NOT IN THE WAY THEY SUFFERED! These boys lost thier innocence their whole childhood to guards that were on a power trip of discusting magnatude! to gain justice for them later in life well cant really be to satisfing since they lost so much more! this is a great book i highly recommend it!

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