Thursday, October 6, 2016
Throwback Thursday: John Benton
In which I share vague recollections of books I read long ago that have stuck with me.
You probably don't recognize the name John Benton - I had to look it up. What I remembered was a series of books I read in the 1980s about young women who turned to drugs and prostitution. The titles of the books were all the characters' names: Sandi, Kari, Debbie, Candi, Lori, Connie, Terri, Sherri (names ending in "i" were big in the 80s.) I got them at the 5 and 10 store the next town over, which was the only place nearby that I could get books. (Of course I used the library in my town, but it was pretty small and I needed to branch out.) I bought one of these books every time I went to that store and ate them up like candy. (Or Candi? Ha!)
The appeal to me at the time was the partying, drug-filled lifestyle. I learned what a "fix" was and how you had to always find new parts of your body to shoot up. I also learned about the dangers of prostitution, but also how necessary it was if you were a drug addict. It was all very educational and fascinating. I sorta glossed over the real message of these books, which I think was that no matter how far you've fallen, if you
John Benton and his wife were actually the characters in the books who saved the girls in the end. Oh, you thought these were fiction? They probably were, but I think they were marketed as being true stories. At any rate, the Bentons ran (and still run) a place called the Walter Hoving Home, a residential religious-based program for women recovering from alcoholism, drug-addiction, prostitution, and "other life-controlling problems." They have a pretty high rating on Charity Navigator and have been highlighted in a few news stories, but other than that I didn't find much about them online. It seems pretty legit.
I was reminded of these several months ago, I don't remember why now, and did a bunch of online searching to find the author and remind myself of some of the covers. Then when I was reading Dreamland, I thought of them again and recreated my search so I could share this all with you.
Do you remember these books?