No pathway leads to escape.
Other than going to the bathroom, Garrett is unable to leave this “small, windowless room with a military-style, metal-framed bed.” (Strasser 7) Guards sit in front of the door, blocking him from the only exit. Why is Garrett here? Has he done anything wrong? He remains standing for hours, confused, till a man brings in his new clothes, ones identical to all the other children here.
Garrett, the protagonist of Boot Camp by Todd Strasser, is sent to Lake Harmony, a boot camp for troubled teens. Children are sent there to be changed and become the child their parents hoped they would be. There, all the children are beaten, humiliated and abused just to get them to admit their mistakes and start behaving, only then, will they be allowed to return home.
Garrett gets good grades, born to be that smart kid or nerd at school. Sounding out words at the age of 2, scored off the charts on the Chester Scale at the age of four, figuring out square roots and adding radicals at the age of 6, he was the boy that everyone spoke highly of. He was too smart, smart to the point where he no longer concentrated in class because all that was taught, he knew. Garrett’s behavior was worsening, until he met his new math teacher, Sabrina. They fell in love, but Garrett’s parents had never accepted the fact that their son is dating a teacher.
If it weren’t Sabrina, Garrett wouldn’t have ended up in this awful place. Garrett now lives in a “windowless room with the metal bed,” (18) far away from home, in a forest where no one would come visit unless knowing that Lake Harmony was here. It was probably even hard for a Lake Harmony employee to leave this place without getting lost. Living in a windowless room is pretty uncomfortable, with no access to fresh air. Sleeping on the metal bed must have hurt Garrett’s back, yet he doesn’t notice cause all he wants is some rest.
Lake Harmony may have been gloomy for Garrett, but outside the Lake Harmony building, it is just as it was back at home and maybe even better. “The air is cool and smells like pine. The chatter of crickets is almost as loud as traffic on a city street.” (5) It all feels that nice and relaxing. The parents who come visiting once in a while will never notice the harm their child has been through, just as the Lake Harmony employees wish. Lake Harmony is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, being all welcoming and friendly, but the inside is full of fear and pain.
This specific boot camp, Lake Harmony, mentioned in the book is made up, but there are boot camps that actually do exist in our real world. Crosswinds have a boot camp for teenage boys, specifically. They tell parents that if they’re consistently fighting with their son, their son is becoming rebellious or if they are scared they’re son would harm himself or others if he continues doing a certain action, their son should be sent to a boot camp that could get him back on track, and of course, in this case, the boot camp would be Crosswinds. Not saying that Crosswinds is like Lake Harmony, but who actually knows? It’s just like the mistake Garrett’s parents have made, sending him to a boot camp because of positive comments or maybe even the great photos online, but they are clueless of what it really does. Do you think they knew the harm their son would be going through?
Living in Lake Harmony lowered Garrett’s self-esteem. Perhaps it was the employees that have done the job, but what really affects someone is the environment they live in. It’s just like someone living in a mansion compared to someone who doesn’t even have a bed to sleep on. Who you are could be effected by where you live. With Garrett living in Lake Harmony, his personality changes, being gloomy, unhappy, depressed and miserable, but does this environment really allow him to admit his mistakes?
Garrett’s living conditions in my opinion.
Interior 1. Digital image. American Sabbatical. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2016. <http://www.americansabbatical.com/ART/Logart/Logart067/Interior1.jpg>.