I read this on my trip to negeri di bawah bayu back in May.
Those who know me would have known that I am a fan of the movie Sleepers. I remember watching that movie when I was still in secondary school and it leaves such an impact. The horrible things men do to satisfy themselves…
I learn the movie was based on a true story and that the horrible journey of those four young boys was documented. I’ve been looking for the book, being a bookworm freak that I am, ever since. After several years of searching, I managed to obtain the book on March 6, 2006 via amazon. The book however just sat there on my bookshelves. I’m too scared to open the first page as the dreadful scenes from the movie are still so fresh in my mind.
Before my journey to
So as I have promised in my journal, here is the review of the first book: Sleepers by Lorenzo Carcaterra. This is a true story of friendships that run deeper than blood.
Lorenzo and his three friends: John Reilly, Tommy ‘butter’ Marciano and Michael Sullivan, shared everything and has undying loyalty to one another. But on one fateful summer day, a hotdog cart prank went awry and the boys nearly got a man killed. Lorenzo and his friends were sent away to a reformatory school.
There begins the life of hell for these young boys. Any vestiges shred of innocence was stripped away as the guards; Nokes, Stylers,
There are two incidents of brutality that I still remembered clearly (it has been omitted from the movie). It happened to Lorenzo himself when he was called to the guard office to get the parcel that was sent by his mother. Among the food that his mother sent was a rosary beads. When asked by Nokes what it was for, he answered it was for prayer. Nokes and his crews then make him say the prayer while Styler slid the front end of a baton inside him. Yes, inside him! A baton!
The other was during Lorenzo’s last night at the Wilkinson. Nokes make him watch as his crews tore at his friends, raped them and attacked them as if they were animals freed from cage. He wrote later that a part of all of them was left in that cell that night. Who wouldn’t?
(Geez, I still got Goosebumps. My heart still pounds so hard and my hand is trembling like mad. I could not even imagine putting myself in their shoes.)
The boys emerge after a year of torture, changed beyond recall. John and Tommy took to a life of violent crime as mobster killers, Lorenzo became a journalist and Michael a prosecutor with the DA’s office. The only constant was their undying friendship.
Ten years later, Tommy and John came face to face with Nokes at the Shamrock Pub. They confronted him, revealed their identities and shot him dead in front of several witnesses. If you asked me, Nokes gets what he deserved and so much worst.
In the trial that followed, the four friends were brought together for one spectacular, audacious last stand. Michael was the DA for the trial and without the knowledge of Tommy and John (who couldn’t believe Michael took a case against them), and with help from Hell’s Kitchen community, they exacted punishment for what had been done to them as children.
(To know the exact details of the punishment and what happened to these four friends, pick up the book and read it yourself. That or you could ask me personally.)
Sleepers is an unforgettable story of childhood friendship. It is a stunning account of four men who risked their lives and their freedom in a desperate attempt to reclaim each other from the anguish consuming them. This book gives me nightmares for several days and although I love the movie, it does not do justice to the book. The movie omitted many of (I think) important things that happened to them before they were sent away and during their stay at Wilkinson. But thanks to the movie I was able to put faces to the characters which gave me genuine pleasure when I was engulfed by this non-fiction book.
Last but not least, my heart goes out to Lorenzo who selfishly and valiantly recounted his own personal nightmares. I could never have that kind of courage…