Alan Sharavsky, author of Boarding School Bastard, has written a memoir about childhood in an orphanage for fatherless boys. It’s the true story of childhood in an orphanage for fatherless boys. Overcoming abuse, anti-Semitism, bullying and fear through friendship, creativity and laughter
To preserve my history of institutional abuse, I decided to tell my story. I wrote a memoir in the style of a novel, because my childhood was so different from my adult life.”
— Alan Sharavsky
As marketing director of the 76ers, Alan Sharavsky, during his career, worked with NBA legends Charles Barkley and Dr. J. During. He developed award-winning ad campaigns and content for iconic brands like McDonald’s, Johnson and Johnson and JG Wentworth. He also co-authored and edited books for Fortune 1000 executives.
But life for Sharavsky wasn’t always the picture of success and prosperity.
When he was eight-years-old, his deaf and widowed mother sent him to live at Girard College, an boarding school and orphanage for fatherless boys in Philadelphia. She hoped Girard would be his Camelot, providing the room, board, and guidance that she couldn’t while working in a sweatshop. Instead, he would experience anti-Semitism, child abuse, sexual assault, and bullying, fearing the guardians who were supposed to be his caregivers. “When people met me, they saw this successful, happy ad guy with a model life and family. But when they learned how I grew up, they were horrified and fascinated. They wanted to know more,” says Sharavsky.
“To preserve my experience of institutional abuse, I decided to tell my story. So, I wrote a memoir in the style of a novel, because my childhood was so different from my adult life. The characters, scenes and episodes were unusual and suspenseful. It felt like fiction, but it was real. It all happened to many children, including me.”
Leavening tragedy with humor and humanity, Boarding School Bastard reveals a world we’d prefer to avoid but is too riveting to ignore. To witness how hope and friendship triumph over grief, abuse and fear, this stunning debut is essential reading. ◊