Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Paranoia & Heartbreak

Fifteen Years in a Juvenile Facility

by Jerome Gold


For fifteen years, Jerome Gold worked as a rehabilitation counselor in a prison for juveniles in Washington state. Throughout his time there, he kept a journal of his experiences with youths who had been incarcerated for murder, kidnap, assault, rape and other sex offenses, auto theft, burglary, and selling drugs. What started as a journal designed to relieve stress turned into the evocation of one man's nuanced perspective on a unique group of young people. Paranoia & Heartbreak tells Gold's personal story of coming to terms with people who have crossed over to the other side of their own humanity. Writing from ample experience and with unflinching compassion, Gold brings the reader to see these "deviants"—and through them, in some slanted way, our whole society, with an unexpected intensity.


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“I ask myself, as I always do, 'Would I read this if it wasn't a review book? Why?' … Yes, because it's real. Yes, because this is the world and the time in which we live. Yes, because Jerome Gold survived living it and the telling of it, so people like me can see the miraculous, awful truth and, maybe, step up and question why it has to be.”

“I'd suggest that this nonfiction work by Seattle author Jerome Gold, subtitled 'Fifteen Years in a Juvenile Facility,' should be read by every adult living in the state of Washington. Something very bad is happening to too many of our children, and we need to know about it.”

Paranoia & Heartbreak digs deeper—Jerry Gold mines the gold of these kids' emotions, exposes the broken system, shares the kids' grief and pain and hurt and loves. He doesn't judge these wards of the state, he understands them, he takes their voiceless lives and makes them palpable.”

“A powerful and very tender-hearted book without a soupçon of sentimentality. Unforgettable!”


JEROME GOLD is the author of ten books, including Paranoia & Heartbreak: Fifteen Years in a Juvenile Facilityand Sergeant Dickinson, which was based on his experiences in the US Army Special Forces during the Vietnam War. He is also the publisher of Black Heron Press.