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Stolen: A Memoir

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At fifteen, Elizabeth Gilpin was an honor student, a state-ranked swimmer and a rising soccer star, but behind closed doors her undiagnosed depression was wreaking havoc on her life. Growing angrier by the day, she began skipping practices and drinking to excess. At a loss, her parents turned to an educational consultant who suggested Elizabeth be enrolled in a behavioral At fifteen, Elizabeth Gilpin was an honor student, a state-ranked swimmer and a rising soccer star, but behind closed doors her undiagnosed depression was wreaking havoc on her life. Growing angrier by the day, she began skipping practices and drinking to excess. At a loss, her parents turned to an educational consultant who suggested Elizabeth be enrolled in a behavioral modification program. That recommendation would change her life forever. The nightmare began when she was abducted from her bed in the middle of the night by hired professionals and dropped off deep into a camp in the woods of AppalachiaAfter three brutal months, Elizabeth was transferred to a boarding school in Southern Virginia that in reality functioned more like a prison. Its curriculum revolved around a perverse form of group therapy where students were psychologically abused and humiliated. Finally, at seventeen, Elizabeth convinced them she was rehabilitated enough to “graduate” and was released. In this eye-opening and unflinching book, Elizabeth recalls the horrors she endured, the friends she lost to suicide and addiction, and—years later—how she was finally able to pick up the pieces of her life and reclaim her identity.


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At fifteen, Elizabeth Gilpin was an honor student, a state-ranked swimmer and a rising soccer star, but behind closed doors her undiagnosed depression was wreaking havoc on her life. Growing angrier by the day, she began skipping practices and drinking to excess. At a loss, her parents turned to an educational consultant who suggested Elizabeth be enrolled in a behavioral At fifteen, Elizabeth Gilpin was an honor student, a state-ranked swimmer and a rising soccer star, but behind closed doors her undiagnosed depression was wreaking havoc on her life. Growing angrier by the day, she began skipping practices and drinking to excess. At a loss, her parents turned to an educational consultant who suggested Elizabeth be enrolled in a behavioral modification program. That recommendation would change her life forever. The nightmare began when she was abducted from her bed in the middle of the night by hired professionals and dropped off deep into a camp in the woods of AppalachiaAfter three brutal months, Elizabeth was transferred to a boarding school in Southern Virginia that in reality functioned more like a prison. Its curriculum revolved around a perverse form of group therapy where students were psychologically abused and humiliated. Finally, at seventeen, Elizabeth convinced them she was rehabilitated enough to “graduate” and was released. In this eye-opening and unflinching book, Elizabeth recalls the horrors she endured, the friends she lost to suicide and addiction, and—years later—how she was finally able to pick up the pieces of her life and reclaim her identity.

30 review for Stolen: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Petra X thanks everyone for their good wishes xxx

    How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one, but the lightbulb has to really, really want to change. And that sums up the book. From the moment the author went to the school she never stopped opposing every single thing it did, they told her to do, no matter what. It was her mission. Never give in. Never listen. Remain angry, aggressive, self-willed and oppositional. And the students who did co-operate she despised and called 'ponies', they were stupid collaborators with How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one, but the lightbulb has to really, really want to change. And that sums up the book. From the moment the author went to the school she never stopped opposing every single thing it did, they told her to do, no matter what. It was her mission. Never give in. Never listen. Remain angry, aggressive, self-willed and oppositional. And the students who did co-operate she despised and called 'ponies', they were stupid collaborators with the enemy as far as she was concerned. It is very much to the author's credit that she is really honest about herself, or at least in essence, not sure about facts. In the beginning her parents find a baggy of marijuana which she swore in the book she hadn't smoked. At the end of the book she says she only smoked a few times.... I had some difficulty believing that the conversations and memories of when people blushed and what minor thing they did were recalled verbatim. They were too many and too detailed. But in essence they were true. Everything the author wrote has the ring of authenticity. She comes from a really well-off church-going family. This is when she is 15. She went to parties, got passing-out drunk, gave blow jobs (she admits to one to start with, but by the end it is plural), was aggressive and angry towards everyone in her family and was very vocal about her hatred for her parents and brother. The final straw seems to have been she was out in a car going to a party where the guy driving it bought some weed and wanted to test it before paying the dealer who wasn't up for that. What ensued was a car crash, from which she fled home and pretended she hadn't been there. If she had come from a black home the police would have come after everyone in the car, the baggie in her house would have been found and she would have ended up in the criminal justice system, no question about it. Reminds me of Paris Hilton, at 13 she was out in night clubs, doing cocaine, and all the rest, and her parents also sent her to one of these residential schools for out of control kids. She hated it too. Maybe in time she would have got her act together - she was a high achiever academically and athletically, but meanwhile she was on a path that many parents see only a tragic end for and is also destroying the family life with her causing constant strife and stress, her only thought in her head ME ME ME and what she wants, and her great unhappiness (although her brother and sister were not unhappy) and huge depression. But she never gives a credible reason for these. I guess it was being 15 and feeling that no one should control her, she should do as she pleases. So I researched the process of her being 'kidnapped' in the night and the school, and it's methods. it's very expensive indeed. There are day-long personal interviews in the home of the young person, many consultations and discussions about what would be best to put them on the right path. And yes, they come in the night and they take the child away, the father was there, it wasn't exactly a kidnapping. Then there is wilderness school for 3 months. I know this is an American thing, I don't really understand it. It sounds terrible. She apparently only got dehydrated beans, rice and ramen to eat for a month or two and had to drink four bottles of water a day. Then she was 'promoted' to a proper place with a bed and meals. The author makes much of the four modules over the year of group and individual psychotherapy. It sounds like a destruction of the personality and one from which she says she has tried hard to recover from over the years. At the end of the year, she is granted a 3 day home visit. Her parents have moved house and even that displeases her. Everything does, she decides to do everything in opposition to what the school has been trying to teach her. She is now 17 and due to graduate but for one credit. Her parents want her to come home after this harsh year and to finish in a local high school. She begs Carlbrook to stay there to get the one credit she needs rather than go to another high school! What the author never mentioned was that the school was known for its excellent academics, she only ever talks about the therapy and social interaction. The author mentions sexual abuse. This was limited to having to sit on one of the male counsellor's lap, not her alone, and which is highly inappropriate. He later left the school with no notice, and no reason given. I also researched the children who left the school and what they thought of it. There were quite a few who thought as she did, it was a hateful place that destroyed her personality. But some, the 'ponies' she so despised, said it set them on the right path, that once they 'got it' and co-operated they could see a way forward. Some of them have become very successful, athletes among them. There is a site where old pupils can sign up, there seem to be quite a few. The school's therapeutic process based apparently on the discredited Syanon movement, sounds appalling. But we are seeing it only through the eyes of one who had set her mind against it and wouldn't listen no matter what. I think really, all one can say is that her parents and the FamilyLight or whichever educational advisory organisation her parents used, tried their best but it's not a case of one solution fits all, and this one didn't fit Elizabeth Gilpin at all. But she had no insight, she couldn't change, she couldn't appreciate what her parents were trying to do, and holding on to her anger by never considering anything but always opposing it was her modus operandi. So nothing anything anyone did for good could possibly have any effect anyway. And so, when she graduates from the school, a day she rubbishes, she goes right back into extreme anger against her parents, screaming at them, demanding things, being self-centred, wanting to get her own way and drugs... The school had made her much worse. Her parents too, they had no insight either, although at least they tried. But they knew she hated the school and so what gift do they give her taking her home... a beautiful, expensive gold charm bracelet with each charm to represent one of the modules of group therapy she underwent. They thought it would remind her of how she had transformed into a young woman on the right path, and to refer to it in times of doubt. It just made her hate them all the more. I had been a rebellious teenager myself but I knew why - I had a mother who didn't like me at all, let alone love me and I could never do anything right, nor were any of the times of sexual abuse by others - doctor, teacher, some man in the park, another at school - ever taken seriously. I grew up, made my own life, I've been on my own since I was 17, everything I've got, I made myself. The author never really told us where her anger and depression came from, if she knew what the root cause was. I see that a school like her's would have broken me too. But that's age for you, things look different in retrospect and so they might for the author in years to come. She's a lovely person. I hope she and her family get on now. I hope her family are proud of her for her success as an actress, producer and now an author. I kind of am for going through all that, her fault or not, and turning out so well. 4.5 stars, rounded up. ____________________ Notes on reading (view spoiler)[ t's a great story of a behavioural modification school, but there are so many problems with it. This happened when the author was 15, she's 32 now and she can remember dialogue, reconstructs conversations along with her thoughts at the time, who blushed and who cried, who led every single session. So much perfect recall just doesn't ring true. It reads like a screenplay. The author is an actress and film producer. What does ring true is the feelings behind it. She, like most teenagers, lacks insight except every now and again, and is extremely oppositional to authority, despising those who co-operate and calling them 'ponies', which others might call swots or nerds. But the obvious authenticiy of her feelings does make up for the unlikeliness of her total recall about every event and conversation she reports. ____________________ Totally out-of-control 15 year old is sent to a school whose main purpose is behaviour modification. I haven't read much so far, it seems like a pretty harsh camping environment, but I kind of sympathise with the parents. I was a really naughty teenager, sex n drugs n rock n roll at 16, but she beats that by a long way at 15. After two 2 star books in a row, this is at least really well-written and keeps the interest up, page by page. So that's a plus, so far. (hide spoiler)]

  2. 4 out of 5

    Annabel

    Elizabeth and I went through these programs together, so, of course, I relate to the experiences she describes in Stolen. However, there are two things that I genuinely appreciate about this book: first, that she includes some of the more harrowing moments of our time there and, second, that she introduces the troubled teen industry as a whole. This is a critical aspect of Stolen, as the troubled teen industry is not widely known, and our school is one among countless others. For the general pub Elizabeth and I went through these programs together, so, of course, I relate to the experiences she describes in Stolen. However, there are two things that I genuinely appreciate about this book: first, that she includes some of the more harrowing moments of our time there and, second, that she introduces the troubled teen industry as a whole. This is a critical aspect of Stolen, as the troubled teen industry is not widely known, and our school is one among countless others. For the general public, Stolen provides insight into an unregulated industry that deserves scrutiny. For former students, it gives voice to our collective experiences in private programs like Carlbrook-stories that are often not told, and if they are, they are not believed.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

    Thanks so much to NetGalley, Grand Central Publishing, and Elizabeth Gilpin for this eARC in exchange for an honest review! “At fifteen, Elizabeth Gilpin was an honor student, a state-ranked swimmer, and a rising soccer star, but behind closed doors, her undiagnosed depression was wreaking havoc on her life. Growing angrier by the day, she began skipping practices and drinking to excess. At a loss, her parents turned to an educational consultant who suggested Elizabeth be enrolled in a behaviora Thanks so much to NetGalley, Grand Central Publishing, and Elizabeth Gilpin for this eARC in exchange for an honest review! “At fifteen, Elizabeth Gilpin was an honor student, a state-ranked swimmer, and a rising soccer star, but behind closed doors, her undiagnosed depression was wreaking havoc on her life. Growing angrier by the day, she began skipping practices and drinking to excess. At a loss, her parents turned to an educational consultant who suggested Elizabeth be enrolled in a behavioral modification program. That recommendation would change her life forever”. If you need a cautionary tale of why you should listen to/try to understand or level with your children, this book will be vital to you. This is also a potent reminder of how much distress and harm a human can push through and how sometimes they can come out (at least mostly) on the other side of things. Stolen is also incredibly eye-opening and terrifying in the way that Elizabeth’s experience isn’t a one-of-a-kind thing. It’s harrowing to read one account of extreme emotional and physical abuse and even more so to realize that there are so many others with stories of their own. It’s a lot, but it is also essential. There was a quote that kind of stuck with me, and it was, “I suffer from depression. I'm not a drug addict, and my anger doesn't come from some unexplainable place. I just have trouble regulating my mood sometimes, just like so many other people I know. I didn't need to be sent away. I didn't need a full-time “therapeutic community.” All I ever needed was for someone to take the time to really hear me. To interpret the cry for help that was at the center of every explosive fight or drunken night. I didn't need tough love. I just needed a little extra help.” So yeah. I can't really recommend this book enough. It's four stars from me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sara D

    Thank you NetGalley & Grand Central Publishing for my gifted eARC in exchange for an honest review. I could not put this book down. I am not even sure I read what I read. What a terrifying, heartbreaking, eye opening book. I wanted to scream, cry, shout at characters and along with the author. And to think this is a memoir. Holy cakes. I have so much respect for Elizabeth and her story. It reminds you, that you have no idea what anyone is going through. We all fight demons and monsters. But for s Thank you NetGalley & Grand Central Publishing for my gifted eARC in exchange for an honest review. I could not put this book down. I am not even sure I read what I read. What a terrifying, heartbreaking, eye opening book. I wanted to scream, cry, shout at characters and along with the author. And to think this is a memoir. Holy cakes. I have so much respect for Elizabeth and her story. It reminds you, that you have no idea what anyone is going through. We all fight demons and monsters. But for some, those demons and monsters are our teachers, schools, peers and parents. And that reminder is so completely terrifying. So, do I recommend this book? A thousand times yes. Elizabeth deserves to have her story heard.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    This chick has issues. Is it nature? Probably- she says she suffered from clinical depression all her life. Is it nurture? Her family seems to be a contributing factor based on her version of the story, but clearly Elizabeth was her own worst enemy. Still, it's hard to completely vindicate parents like her father, a medical doctor who completely missed or ignored his daughter's depression, who sign up their child to be kidnapped in the middle of the night and taken to an unknown destination. At a This chick has issues. Is it nature? Probably- she says she suffered from clinical depression all her life. Is it nurture? Her family seems to be a contributing factor based on her version of the story, but clearly Elizabeth was her own worst enemy. Still, it's hard to completely vindicate parents like her father, a medical doctor who completely missed or ignored his daughter's depression, who sign up their child to be kidnapped in the middle of the night and taken to an unknown destination. At age 15, Elizabeth was doing well on the outside: honor student, soccer player, state ranked swimmer. On the inside, she struggled with depression and coped via self-harm and drinking and in addition to typical teen behavior like sneaking out and lying, her parents decided enough was enough. They enrolled her in a "troubled teen program" that included 100 days non-stop in the wilderness, followed by 3 years in Carlebrook Academy, a kind of boarding "school" where every day involves intense group therapy. By intense, I mean sanctioned bullying done by and forced upon every kid there. Honestly, it was really hard to sympathize with Elizabeth. Her own childhood stories paint a picture of a kid with serious anger management issues on the path to bigger and more serious trouble unless somebody intervened. Imho, her parents definitely needed to do something, I just think they went with too extreme an option. Why they didn't choose a psychiatrist or therapist, I don't know. If you're going to read this, don't pick the audiobook. The author reads it herself and has a nasally monotone and uninflected delivery. Unless she's crying or acting out an angry scene.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    I’ve given myself a few days to think this over, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. This is a memoir by a woman who spent her late teens inside the “troubled teen industry,” first in a wilderness intake program, followed by a stay at a therapy boarding school. This is set up as an inside look at an abusive program told by someone who had to go through it. And while it’s obvious that these programs were stupid and terrible and not at all a good way of rehabilitating troubled teens, Gilpin I’ve given myself a few days to think this over, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. This is a memoir by a woman who spent her late teens inside the “troubled teen industry,” first in a wilderness intake program, followed by a stay at a therapy boarding school. This is set up as an inside look at an abusive program told by someone who had to go through it. And while it’s obvious that these programs were stupid and terrible and not at all a good way of rehabilitating troubled teens, Gilpin herself doesn’t seem like the most reliable guide. Even with the perspective of hindsight she doesn’t seem to have an appreciation for how her anger was affecting her family. On the other hand, she does understand now that she was suffering from mental illness, and maybe the attitude toward her family was just her way of showing us her thought process at the time? She’s definitely a victim in this story - she needed good, professional therapy and instead just got sent away - but its clear she’s walking us through a story she still doesn’t have clarity about. Or closure. Her adult life has been very rocky. But … it makes for a powerful audiobook. Gilpin cries throughout the book, and it’s obvious from the jarring edits (almost creepy to listen to at night while walking the dog) that her emotional state caused several parts to have to be re-recorded. She spends the entire last section of the book almost wailing. She is still feeling all of this like it happened yesterday, and she makes you feel it along with her. I really appreciate Gilpin sharing her story.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Katy Alice

    Update: Originally, I rated this memoir 3 stars. I read an uncorrected ARC and felt there were some style and pacing issues that kept me from giving it a higher rating. But nearly a week later I still find myself thinking about it and discussing it, which doesn’t happen often for me with memoirs. I think Gilpin’s story will help a lot of people feel seen and will shine a light on a system that needs to be exposed. So, ultimately, taking these things into consideration I believe it does deserve a Update: Originally, I rated this memoir 3 stars. I read an uncorrected ARC and felt there were some style and pacing issues that kept me from giving it a higher rating. But nearly a week later I still find myself thinking about it and discussing it, which doesn’t happen often for me with memoirs. I think Gilpin’s story will help a lot of people feel seen and will shine a light on a system that needs to be exposed. So, ultimately, taking these things into consideration I believe it does deserve a full star upgrade to a 4 star rating.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Long

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. Wow, what an eye opener this book is. This "therapeutic" boarding school was absolutely appalling in their treatment of these poor teenagers. I can see that it did way more harm than good and really messed up the futures of a lot of these teens. This book took a lot of courage to write. I hope it has served as a beneficial part of Elizabeth Gilpin's healing. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. Wow, what an eye opener this book is. This "therapeutic" boarding school was absolutely appalling in their treatment of these poor teenagers. I can see that it did way more harm than good and really messed up the futures of a lot of these teens. This book took a lot of courage to write. I hope it has served as a beneficial part of Elizabeth Gilpin's healing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Beth Mowbray When you read a memoir, it’s almost like the author is inviting you inside their mind, inside their life, and showing you glimpses of what made them the person they are today. Reading Stolen by Elizabeth Gilpin was more like living the events of her past right along with her. The moment I picked up this heartbreaking and eye-opening memoir, I couldn’t put it down. Throughout the novel, Gilpin lays out all of the dark secrets of “thera Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Beth Mowbray When you read a memoir, it’s almost like the author is inviting you inside their mind, inside their life, and showing you glimpses of what made them the person they are today. Reading Stolen by Elizabeth Gilpin was more like living the events of her past right along with her. The moment I picked up this heartbreaking and eye-opening memoir, I couldn’t put it down. Throughout the novel, Gilpin lays out all of the dark secrets of “therapeutic” boarding schools and exposes the horrors that go on behind closed doors. Labelled as a “troubled” and “dangerous” teen, Gilpin’s parents have her kidnapped in the middle of the night and dropped off at a camp where she spends the next few months stripped of her own name, tramping through the wilderness, and threatened at every turn with being sent to what is called “lockdown”. After being ridiculed, shamed, and betrayed, Gilpin is finally able to graduate and move on to a boarding school, where even more horrors unfurl. Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I listened to the audiobook version of this, read by the author. Hearing her voice break with obvious emotion describing some of the horrific experiences she was made to go through in her "therapeutic boarding school" and before that, wilderness camp, was so heartbreaking it brought me to tears... Exposing this industry is so important. I knew next to nothing about the "therapeutic practices" of these type institutions before diving into this memoir. The humiliation and degradation she went thro I listened to the audiobook version of this, read by the author. Hearing her voice break with obvious emotion describing some of the horrific experiences she was made to go through in her "therapeutic boarding school" and before that, wilderness camp, was so heartbreaking it brought me to tears... Exposing this industry is so important. I knew next to nothing about the "therapeutic practices" of these type institutions before diving into this memoir. The humiliation and degradation she went through in the name of "therapy" is utterly disgraceful. I hope that in telling her story and exposing what horrors await teens in (who knows how many of) these expensive, unregulated institutions, more parents will heed the warnings and see that they are not the answer. So many suicides, so much anger compounded by feeling dismissed and abandoned by family, loss of trust, trauma on top of trauma. Elizabeth's account is brutally honest and hard to hear, but I think it's very important to be aware of these kinds of experiences and preventable horrors.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Overall Impression: Wow, this memoir reads like fiction, to the point that I keep forgetting that is really happened. Stolen is a memoir written by Elizabeth Gilpin about her “troubled teen” years. Elizabeth was torn out of bed in the middle of the night and brought to a camp for troubled teens where they spent days hiking or in group therapy and their nights in a tent alone with their boots confiscated so they couldn’t run away. After the tortures of the camp, she is sent to a school in Virgini Overall Impression: Wow, this memoir reads like fiction, to the point that I keep forgetting that is really happened. Stolen is a memoir written by Elizabeth Gilpin about her “troubled teen” years. Elizabeth was torn out of bed in the middle of the night and brought to a camp for troubled teens where they spent days hiking or in group therapy and their nights in a tent alone with their boots confiscated so they couldn’t run away. After the tortures of the camp, she is sent to a school in Virginia to continue the “work” done by the camp. I’m not even fully sure how to review this book, as it is about someone’s life, but to say this book is shocking is an understatement. How anyone could think that programs like this are helpful is unfathomable. Most of the kids in these programs were not criminals or addicts but unruly kids that parents didn’t know what else to do. I’m not kidding when I say that I had to keep reminding myself that it is not fiction. I’m sure Elizabeth’s story is not all that unique either, as this happened all over the country with many stories still untold. Go read this book, it is truly eye opening.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tori

    As someone who has also experienced a “therapeutic” boarding school, this was quite an emotional read. Thank you Elizabeth for sharing your story ❤️

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    While this book dealt with a lot and included mental health struggles, trauma and addiction, the majority of this book reminded me of Leah Remini’s book because Gilpin’s “school” was run very much like the Scientology cult. So many parts of the book broke my heart. And there are pretty much all the trigger warnings here, but it was an important read and, while I’m sorry for what spurred it, I’m so glad Gilpin got to a place where she could share. I especially appreciated her insights about how s While this book dealt with a lot and included mental health struggles, trauma and addiction, the majority of this book reminded me of Leah Remini’s book because Gilpin’s “school” was run very much like the Scientology cult. So many parts of the book broke my heart. And there are pretty much all the trigger warnings here, but it was an important read and, while I’m sorry for what spurred it, I’m so glad Gilpin got to a place where she could share. I especially appreciated her insights about how sometimes what teens struggling really need is attention and someone to listen.

  14. 5 out of 5

    tobes

    I Laughed, I Cried, I Had to Pretend I Died I went to Carlbrook with Elizabeth and this book is basically perfect in my eyes. It encapsulates the experience and feeling of the place so well, and she writes in such a clear and relatable voice. I had so many feelings come up and I’m grateful for all of them.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    "I had been right to fear the dark. The faceless man came for me after all, only in real life he has a faceless partner. They kidnapped me from my own home in the middle of the night, and no one stood in their way." . ~THOUGHTS~ An absolutely harrowing memoir! Fifteen year old Gilpin an honor student and promising soccer player who suffers from undiagnosed depression and starts acting out and drinking excessively. Her parents decided to put her in a behavioral modification program. Gilpin is forcib "I had been right to fear the dark. The faceless man came for me after all, only in real life he has a faceless partner. They kidnapped me from my own home in the middle of the night, and no one stood in their way." . ~THOUGHTS~ An absolutely harrowing memoir! Fifteen year old Gilpin an honor student and promising soccer player who suffers from undiagnosed depression and starts acting out and drinking excessively. Her parents decided to put her in a behavioral modification program. Gilpin is forcibly taken in the night from her home and dropped off at a camp in the woods. Three months later she is transferred to boarding school that is more like a torturous prison than a school. Gilpin and the other students go through exercises deemed therapeutic but in reality were mentally abusive and traumatizing. At seventeen she is persuasive enough to be labeled rehabilitated and released. This book had me reeling! Accounts of going through the troubled teen industry isn't something that gets written about enough considering it's prevalence. Gilpin does a great job recounting her experience and giving voice to others who went through similar experiences. As gripping as this was to read it was also very heartbreaking in many ways. As a parent, I could never put my children into something like this, no matter how hard they were to manage. Gilpin's honesty of what she went through hits really hard. She talks about the friends she lost to addiction and suicide as well. This memoir really shows the lengths of what the human spirit can endure and recover from. My god, definitely recommend this one! Thank You to @grandcentralpub for sending me this one in exchange for an honest review. For more of my book content check out instagram.com/bookalong

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Wow this was an extremely emotional and powerful read. It is the memoir of a woman who as a teenager was sent to a wilderness camp then boarding school for “troubled teens”. I put that in quotes because the reasons the kids were sent there in the first place were not even that bad. As a law student I saw soooo many red flags. The camp and boarding school were full of physical, emotional, and mental abuse and were almost cult-like at times. It was truly heartbreaking to hear what Elizabeth went th Wow this was an extremely emotional and powerful read. It is the memoir of a woman who as a teenager was sent to a wilderness camp then boarding school for “troubled teens”. I put that in quotes because the reasons the kids were sent there in the first place were not even that bad. As a law student I saw soooo many red flags. The camp and boarding school were full of physical, emotional, and mental abuse and were almost cult-like at times. It was truly heartbreaking to hear what Elizabeth went through and I admire her strength so much. She went through more in her teen years than many do in a lifetime. I’m so glad she told her story to spread awareness about these types of institutions, some of which operated until very recently. Her story can also help people (especially parents) recognize the signs of depression. I felt so sad and emotional at the end, but this is a story that must be read and talked about. Please check the trigger/content warnings. On a positive note, I loved hearing about how Elizabeth lived in San Diego, my hometown, for a bit growing up! Thank you to Hachette Books and Grandcentral for providing me with this copy from a giveaway.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Marullo

    The therapeutic birding school industry is one that’s not widely spoken about, but should be. Elizabeth Gilpin’s account of her time at the Carlbrook School is hard to read and even harder to understand as someone coming from a place that couldn’t be more different than her experiences. Readers of Stolen should absolutely consider reading the digital graphic novel about the Elan School by Joe Nobody, which is more in-depth and graphic, but I found it to be an important read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Matt Matthews

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3 1/2 rounded up. It was well written but I felt like it was missing something. I wanted to hear more about her reconciliation with her family, particularly her dad. Or, at least found out what they thought about the book coming out or what she experienced. It was wonderful nonetheless. It's awful that these places still exist. 3 1/2 rounded up. It was well written but I felt like it was missing something. I wanted to hear more about her reconciliation with her family, particularly her dad. Or, at least found out what they thought about the book coming out or what she experienced. It was wonderful nonetheless. It's awful that these places still exist.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bree Levey

    This was a very interesting and horrifying read. I can’t believe places like these actually exist.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alana Knapp

    "Liking" this book seems like inaccurate phrasing. I found this account of Elizabeth Gilpin's experiences to be deeply disturbing, but compelling in the exposition of the "troubled teen industry." I wouldn't say I "really liked it" as a 4 star rating indicates, but I think it's a worthwhile read. "Liking" this book seems like inaccurate phrasing. I found this account of Elizabeth Gilpin's experiences to be deeply disturbing, but compelling in the exposition of the "troubled teen industry." I wouldn't say I "really liked it" as a 4 star rating indicates, but I think it's a worthwhile read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Traci Lopes

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The only complaint I have about this book is that I wish the chapters about the woods was shorter and her life after the school to be longer. I cannot believe the things Elizabeth went through and no offence to her parents but my god- if I went through that type of mental abuse because I blew a guy and smoked some pot when I was fifteen I would NEVER forgive them. It’s sad how many parents don’t know how to deal with the teenage years and resort to just abandoning their trouble teen. I did find The only complaint I have about this book is that I wish the chapters about the woods was shorter and her life after the school to be longer. I cannot believe the things Elizabeth went through and no offence to her parents but my god- if I went through that type of mental abuse because I blew a guy and smoked some pot when I was fifteen I would NEVER forgive them. It’s sad how many parents don’t know how to deal with the teenage years and resort to just abandoning their trouble teen. I did find the chapters to become a bit repetitive. Overall a good read! Here comes some spoilers My dad used the threaten us when we were bad that he would drive us out to the woods, her parents basically did that, and she had to stay for over 100 days! I had to finish this book because I just kept thinking to myself that at one point the parents would come get her. Nope, 100 days in the woods and like two years in that horrible school. Poor thing. Good exposure to what goes on.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Like getting punched in the gut with my own history. Some of the details are different from my therapeutic boarding school, but a remarkable number of them are the same. The CEDU schools varied less than I thought. I’ve gotten used to thinking of my own history as sort of banal; that it was weird but that I escaped the true horrors of the TTI by going to one of the top-tier schools. It’s jarring to read about exercises I did, songs I heard, and behaviors I was encouraged to do, and to see them l Like getting punched in the gut with my own history. Some of the details are different from my therapeutic boarding school, but a remarkable number of them are the same. The CEDU schools varied less than I thought. I’ve gotten used to thinking of my own history as sort of banal; that it was weird but that I escaped the true horrors of the TTI by going to one of the top-tier schools. It’s jarring to read about exercises I did, songs I heard, and behaviors I was encouraged to do, and to see them labeled as abuse. I think I’ve coped by downplaying it, but I’m so, so glad that this book exists, to remind me that I wasn’t alone in my experiences and to shine a light on an industry that operates almost entirely in darkness.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Janine Simonton

    Thought provoking!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jenn (burlingtonbibliophagist)

    BOOK REVIEW Stolen by Elizabeth Gilpin A memoir My stand on memoirs- Ones perspective and experience cannot be judged - it is through their own personal lens that the words This read made me heartbroken. For Elizabeth, for her friends who suffered along with her, for children with mental health issues that are told they need to be “fixed”, for the parents that may have thought they were doing the right thing. TaKe a moment to place yourself in Elizabeth’s shoes - not to understand, or judge but to li BOOK REVIEW Stolen by Elizabeth Gilpin A memoir My stand on memoirs- Ones perspective and experience cannot be judged - it is through their own personal lens that the words This read made me heartbroken. For Elizabeth, for her friends who suffered along with her, for children with mental health issues that are told they need to be “fixed”, for the parents that may have thought they were doing the right thing. TaKe a moment to place yourself in Elizabeth’s shoes - not to understand, or judge but to listen- so her voice can be heard. Thanks to @grandcentralpub for my copy in return for an honest review

  25. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    I couldn’t put this memoir down. Gilpin’s language is so straightforward and unadorned that the reality of the horrors she lived through are starkly rendered. Her strength to survive is impressive. The labor it must have taken to write this book is even more so. Recommended for fans of Educated or The Glass Castle. NetGalley provided me with an arc in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alexis Stankewitz

    *Thank you Grand Central Publishing, Elizabeth Gilpin and Netgalley for giving me a E-ARC of "Stolen" in exchange for an honest review.* This was a tough time read, but something everyone needs to read. Reading about Elizabeth experience at Carlbrook was really eye-opening for me, and horrific because as a teen , I had to be placed in a Residential Treatment Facility , (thankfully not a place similar to Calbrook). Thank you again to Ms. Gilpin especially for writing this book. *Thank you Grand Central Publishing, Elizabeth Gilpin and Netgalley for giving me a E-ARC of "Stolen" in exchange for an honest review.* This was a tough time read, but something everyone needs to read. Reading about Elizabeth experience at Carlbrook was really eye-opening for me, and horrific because as a teen , I had to be placed in a Residential Treatment Facility , (thankfully not a place similar to Calbrook). Thank you again to Ms. Gilpin especially for writing this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was so engrossed in this book that I brought it with me to read while I waited for my Kroger clicklist order. It’s usually a 5 minute or less wait but I was that absorbed in Elizabeth’s story that I just didn’t want to put it down. However it’s taken me a week to digest my thoughts. It’s horrifying, and heartbreaking. Elizabeth was only 15 years old, and did some normal teen things that were dangerous. Her parents massively overreacted, and were swayed by someone with financial interest in the I was so engrossed in this book that I brought it with me to read while I waited for my Kroger clicklist order. It’s usually a 5 minute or less wait but I was that absorbed in Elizabeth’s story that I just didn’t want to put it down. However it’s taken me a week to digest my thoughts. It’s horrifying, and heartbreaking. Elizabeth was only 15 years old, and did some normal teen things that were dangerous. Her parents massively overreacted, and were swayed by someone with financial interest in the troubled teen industry to send Elizabeth to a wildnerness camp and “therapeutic” school. Really, her parents paid for her to be abused in so many ways and broken down into a shell. Recounting her stories and feelings, it sounded like something a prisoner of war would have gone through. Maybe that’s dramatic, but I really don’t think so. I truly felt for Elizabeth and am so glad that she is thriving today, it took a ton of courage for her to lay herself bare like she did in this memoir. I really liked that this memoir didn’t have a preachy tone like “I went through this, you can do anything!” Or religious tones like “the lord gave me the strength to survive.” Elizabeth did not make herself out to be a victim or hero, she was clearly just a young woman trying to survive in horrible circumstances. This was truly a memoir with no agenda other than the troubled teen industry needs to end and there needs to be regulation and oversight. The fact that there are people willingly subjecting teens to this treatment and making crazy money from it is disgusting. The troubled teen industry has been in the news recently with celebrities like Paris Hilton speaking out about her experience, and some court cases. You can Google and read a ton about them (I did after reading this).

  28. 4 out of 5

    Doc Poppins

    This book is not for everyone - and needs to come with a giant spoiler alert for just about everything that could trigger a person. BUT! I was completely immersed in the story. It is clear that the as an early adolescent the author needed help. What she received, though, only exacerbated her underlying emotional struggles. Though I didn't go through this school system, I identified with much of what the author went through. Childhood/adolescent depression is severely under-identified, and when d This book is not for everyone - and needs to come with a giant spoiler alert for just about everything that could trigger a person. BUT! I was completely immersed in the story. It is clear that the as an early adolescent the author needed help. What she received, though, only exacerbated her underlying emotional struggles. Though I didn't go through this school system, I identified with much of what the author went through. Childhood/adolescent depression is severely under-identified, and when desperate parents place their child in the hands of uneducated, unlicensed practioners of psycho-babble, nothing good will happen as a result. The fact that these adolescents, including the author, made it out of such a desctructive system with even a shred of self left is a testament to their resilience. In addition to singing the praises of the story - I also thought the writing was stellar. I often found myself in awe that someone whose own academic training was so severely interrupted could write so compellingly. There were none of the typical tropes of the genre here. No sneaking off for wild sex or sneaking drugs in - just children trying to survive. I'd love to see a full expose on this industry in the future. I think it's very much needed!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Marie

    “That even in the darkest situations, an individual’s attitude has a real effect on whether or not they make it through… I couldn’t control my circumstances, but I could control my own reactions.” Thank you @grandcentralpub for this gifted copy in exchange for an honest review! 📚💕 This was an extremely intense, terrifying, and heartbreaking memoir, a memoir that honestly read like fiction because of how incomprehensible Elizabeth’s experiences were. I applaud Elizabeth and her strength for sharin “That even in the darkest situations, an individual’s attitude has a real effect on whether or not they make it through… I couldn’t control my circumstances, but I could control my own reactions.” Thank you @grandcentralpub for this gifted copy in exchange for an honest review! 📚💕 This was an extremely intense, terrifying, and heartbreaking memoir, a memoir that honestly read like fiction because of how incomprehensible Elizabeth’s experiences were. I applaud Elizabeth and her strength for sharing her story and the stories of so many others, stories filled with emotional abuse, physical abuse, manipulation, and so much more. Although this was not an easy read, I am glad that I read it. Prior to read this memoir, I had very little knowledge of the “Troubled Teen Industry,” so I learned a lot from these horrifying pages. Elizabeth’s experiences of being kidnapped by professionals hired by her parents, her three months in the woods, and her time at Carlbrook were eye-opening and sickening. Through this memoir, tribute was paid to teens, teens who did make it out and teens who did not, who went through similar experiences. Elizabeth’s story will hopefully make some parents second guess these “therapeutic” schools/programs and ultimately save many teenagers’ lives and futures. Synopsis: Elizabeth Gilpin was a star athlete and honor student, but she also had undiagnosed depression. This depression and Elizabeth’s inability to cope and control her feelings left her parents at a loss, until they met with an educational consultant and forced Elizabeth down a manipulative, dangerous, and abusive two years of her life… Elizabeth shares her experiences in an effort to expose the horrific “Troubled Teen Industry” and to heal from her time in it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Vermette

    Review to come

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