Wednesday, April 02, 2014
Gone to the Crazies by Alison Weaver
Gone to the Crazies: A Memoir, Alison Weaver. New York: HarperCollins e-books, 2007, 2008. 241 pps.
Alison Weaver is an only child. She came from an affluent family that lived in Manhattan and also spent time at their second home in Connecticut. She went to an expensive private school.
Things changed and the Weavers arranged to have their daughter escorted to Cascade School in Whitmore, California.
Weaver has mixed emotions about that time in her life. Cascade School [now closed] was founded by a former "counselor" of Cedu in Florida. Once Cedu became official, Mel Wasserman had to dump some of the original staffers. They went out into the world, spreading the philosophy and methods employed at Cedu. Some of the methods were borrowed directly from Synanon-- a cultish long-term residential drug "treatment" program. The rest of the methods appear to have been cobbled together from sources which included primal scream therapy. The result at Cascade School was rather bad education but substantial group "therapy" conducted by people who were not qualified to do so.
Cascade used the vocabulary that Cedu facilities used [http://wiki.fornits.com/index.php/CEDU_lingo] along with nine special forums called "profeets" [shades of K. Gibran, EST, The Forum, and Life Spring] which the kids were required to attend and participate in before "graduation." In other "rap" or group sessions, the kids were required to scream, yell, and cry on demand.
Although the Cedu facilities officially went bankrupt in 2004 or 2005, indications are that a few of them may be back in operation and are being watched by folks who monitor troubled teen torture industries and cult-like programs.
Alison Weaver had some hard times after getting out of Cascade School. She did not join any twelve step program but reports that she no longer takes street drugs and that having a singular glass of wine is no cause for her to panic these days.
sapphoq reviews says: Alison Weaver's memoir was an easy and engrossing read. I found her recollection of her feelings as a child and pre-teen to be entirely believable. [Some reviewers found them to be canned]. Although towards the end of the book, the author reveals Cascade School's connection with Cedu it was apparent that she did not know the history behind the crap she endured at the time that she was going through it. I'm glad that she got out alive. Although she is not fond of the internet survivor boards, Alison Weaver has managed to survive and even thrive in spite of her experiences at Cascade School. Recommended as a cautionary tale to parents who are considering "educational consultant services" for their "troubled teen." Old hippies and those who are involved with protesting against such institutional abuse may also like this one.
p.s. I too believe that Alison's word should have been power.