Reader Reviews

Liz Dow

CEO, Leadership Philadelphia

This powerful book provides necessary insights

“Sharavsky pulls off the remarkable feat of drawing us into a page-turner while sharing the true story of his abused yet fascinating childhood. This powerful book provides necessary insights for people who have not experienced child abuse, abandonment, and anti-Semitism, while bearing witness for those who have.”

Bruce J. Levin

MD, Psychiatrist and Psychoanalys

Inspiring story of resilience and adaptation

“This story is a brilliant exploration of our humanity through the eyes of a powerless boy and his lonely life, illustrating how he coped with some brutal, institutional guardians. His inspiring story of resilience demonstrates how creative adaptation and sheer will can overcome emotional deprivation. A tour de force.”

Valerie, M. Jones

CEO, Speaker and Author of Non-Profit Hero,

Rooting for the pint-sized protagonist from the first page

“I was rooting for the pint-sized protagonist from the first page, gripped and fearing for him by the 10th. This modern-day Oliver struggles to find his way in a well-intentioned but troubled institution, founded at a time when ‘orphan’ equaled ‘fatherless,’ .”


Wonderful memoir, both sad and uplifiting

“This is a wonderful memoir, both sad and uplifting at the same. The author’s father died suddenly from pneumonia, on the very day he is moving his wife and young son into their own home. This tragedy throws the boy’s life into disarray, landing him four years later in an orphanage/boarding school at the age of eight, where he’s abused in numerous ways. We get an inside view of institutional life at a respected boy’s school in the early 60s (the author’s writing is cinematic), Girard College. And it’s not always pretty. But the child’s spirit seems to grow with the challenges. He’s a survivor. If you’re like me, you’ll be longing for follow-ups to this true story.”

Andy D

Totally true. Captures the emotional tumoil

“I spent 11 miserable years at this boy’s prison in Philadelphia and I appreciate Alan Sharavsky’s account of the life most of us had to endure. Aside from the physical beatings, which were rendered daily, the author truly captures the emotional turmoil and fear-ridden existence some of us were put through. I suffered 30 years of nightmares about that place.

The vulnerability of six and seven-year-old boys seemingly abandoned by their mothers who at the time could barely feed and clothe them is a throwback to the early 20th century when HELP for widowed mothers was non-existent. I highly recommend this book and look forward to any new material on Girard College.”

Lawrence Stern

Opened up a new world to me

“Easy to read, yet very hard to fathom, Boarding School Bastard opened up a new world to me. The author was able to convey his emotions and experiences while keeping the reader entertained and wanting to read further. Kudos on this touching memoir.”

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