Soon after I met my husband I learned heâ€™d attended a military boarding school. But it wasnâ€™t until a few years ago when we talked in detail that I realized how traumatic and difficult this experience had been.
When I was in my early teens I read this series about a couple of twins attending a boarding school. The stories sort of glorified the adventures â€˜inside,â€™ lots of fun, a great social life, pranks and the occasional misfit that was swiftly dealt with. It all sounded so good, I wouldnâ€™t have minded attending myself.
The reality looked and probably still looks much different, especially when attending a military prep school. My husband was sent away by this family at the age of 14, a difficult time for any teenager, but horribly hard when one is poor and then cast among a group of boys from wealthy and powerful families.
The plot of A DIFFERENT TRUTH is a historical mystery and fictitious. It has nothing to do with an actual school. However, the feelings the protagonist, Andy Olson, experiences are quite realistic. Knowing what I learned from my husbandâ€™s history, I realize Iâ€™d been utterly miserable in such a school.
This is not to say that some individuals donâ€™t thrive in such an environment. Students are certainly taught to study and follow rules. But at what cost? And I donâ€™t mean the exorbitant tuition such schools charge.
I used the late 1960s, the height of the Vietnam War era and the polarized nation as the catalyst, though the story addresses a number of issues still prevalent in high schools and boarding schools today, themes like bullying, hazing and obedience versus truth. By writing in first person, present tense, the first time I tried this point of view/tense combination, I created more immediacy, allowing the reader to feel and experience along with Andy.
Iâ€™m lucky my husband gave me the procedural insight of what happened behind the walls of an all boysâ€™ military school. Being female Iâ€™d have no chance to ever know or understand the degree of structure, control and authority exhibited by faculty and upper classmen. Nor would I have learned what anxiety and angst this environment created.
To celebrate the 2nd edition, A DIFFERENT TRUTH will be FREEÂ on Amazon on July 14 and 15.