Book Review: The Dead Inside by Cyndy Etler

28389304Title & Author: The Dead Inside by Cyndy Etler

Genre:  Autobiography, Non-Fiction

Release Date:  April 4th 2017

Series: No

Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire

Source: ARC via Publisher

Description: For readers of Girl Interrupted and Tweak, Cyndy Etler’s gripping memoir gives readers a glimpse into the harrowing reality of her sixteen months in the notorious “tough love” program the ACLU called “a concentration camp for throwaway kids.”

I never was a badass. Or a slut, a junkie, a stoner, like they told me I was. I was just a kid looking for something good, something that felt like love. I was a wannabe in a Levi’s jean jacket. Anybody could see that. Except my mother. And the professionals at Straight.

From the outside, Straight Inc. was a drug rehab. But on the inside it was…well, it was something else.

All Cyndy wanted was to be loved and accepted. By age fourteen, she had escaped from her violent home, only to be reported as a runaway and sent to a “drug rehabilitation” facility that changed her world.

To the public, Straight Inc. was a place of recovery. But behind closed doors, the program used bizarre and intimidating methods to “treat” its patients. In her raw and fearless memoir, Cyndy Etler recounts her sixteen months in the living nightmare that Straight Inc. considered “healing.”


I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was completely different from what I normally read. I never read biographies, autobiographies, or memoirs but when I read the description of this book I knew I had to read it. I went into this pretty blind as to what Straight Inc. was. I’ve never heard of them and after finishing Cyndy’s story I was appalled that their actions weren’t more well known. Instantly I did research on Straight Inc. and read articles and interviews of other people who underwent this horrible experience. My stomach was a mess of knots and hot with anger at how parents could just hand their children over to this sick and twisted place.

The conditioning used on these children and teens is enough to make me scream and after reading through the whole book I settled on the single idea that I was thankful. Thankful to have read it, thankful for the exposure this will give and at the same time so very thankful that Cyndy and many others survived Straight Inc.

This isn’t the type of book you review either. I wouldn’t critique it or the writing as this is real life. This actually happened. Cyndy’s story is powerful, gripping and emotionally raw. I am extremely grateful for the chance to have read this.

Cyndy Etler

Cyndy Etler was homeless at fourteen, summa cum laude at thirty. In her current work as a teacher and teen life coach, Etler happily teaches teens that books work better than drugs. She lives with her husband and dogs in North Carolina. Find her at

Goodreads | Amazon | Authors Website



One thought on “Book Review: The Dead Inside by Cyndy Etler

Comments are closed.