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#74440 - 01/21/03 06:40 PM Is This Book For Real???
Wuamei Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
When I have time I can research this myself. But maybe I can save some time & energy if any of you already know anything about this book and the story behind it:

"A Rock and a Hard Place: One Boy's Triumphant Story," by Anthony Godby Johnson, Publisher: Signet; Reprint edition (June 1994).

Some of the reviews on this book tout it as a powerful story, others call it a fraudulent work of fiction by an attention-seeking
middle-aged woman.

If anyone knows anything about this book please let me know, so that I know whether to look into it further, whether to recommend it or not. Thanks


"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

#74441 - 01/21/03 08:06 PM Re: Is This Book For Real???
Mark S Offline

Registered: 08/25/02
Posts: 130
Loc: England

I haven't read and I don't have any knowledge to the validity of the said book, however. What you said reminded me so much of what I heard and read about the Dave Pelzer books (A Child Called It, etc).

I wonder if certain sectors of society don't want to believe that such events can happen. If they say that autobiographies have to be embelished to make them interesting etc, when one comes along and demands attention they can stick their heads in the sand and ignor it.

As I said in another post I am busy writing my life story. I haven't embelished it at all. There will be parts of it that will demand attention though and should it get published I expect it will suffer from it's fair share of detractors.

The only real answer is for you to read the book, any book and make up your own mind.


#74442 - 01/22/03 05:27 AM Re: Is This Book For Real???
Richard Gartner, PhD Offline
Past President

Registered: 09/20/00
Posts: 404
Loc: New York, NY, USA
I haven' read the book, but I have read about it. I don't recall all the details, but it seems like this young man, if he exists, has made many calls to a lot of wellknown people, who have gotten very interested in his situation, has talked to them late into the night, has told a spellbinding tale of his triumph over adversity, despite a fatal illness from which he keeps not dying. He has written this book about his experiences. Some people are very upset that any one doubts he exists, but it seems that no one has ever actually seen him, and when investigations were done it was not possibe to find him or clear evidence of his being real. I may not have all the details right but that is the kind of controversy it is.



#74443 - 01/23/03 06:12 AM Re: Is This Book For Real???
Wuamei Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
That sounds about right Richard. Here are some excerpts from a few of the reviews in, which seem to be about equally divided between favorable & unfavorable:

Tony is an Angel, March 19, 2002
Reviewer: Sarah Walton from New York, NY USA
My good friend Tony (yes he does exist) is an absolute angel on earth. Tony - and his entire family - have been there for me and my family SO many times, in so many different circumstances - even in those times when he has been in serious quarantine...

Written by an attention-seeking woman, September 6, 2002 Reviewer: creatrix1 from B.C.
Unfortunately this is a work of fiction, written by a middle-aged woman looking for attention, in the vein of Munchausen By Proxy syndrome. Chatelaine magazine in Canada has an article on it; ...
Here's an excerpt: "Tony contacted people via e-mail and phone, claiming he was dying of AIDS contracted through child abuse. Later it turned out that "Tony" was a middle-aged woman, but that fact was discovered only after "Tony" had published a best-selling autobiography, A Rock and a Hard Place (Signet), and been featured on an ABC television special hosted by Oprah Winfrey."
Don't support this fraudulent author.

Great fiction, compelling and moving story, December 26, 2001
Reviewer: Peter R Lee from Cambridge, MA USA
(I beleive) this is a hoax. No "if" "ands" or "buts" about it. It is a very compelling and moving story and good fiction in its own right and as such I would give it a 5 star rating. The New Yorker article November 26, 2001 by Tad Friend is comprehensive in seeking info. to verify the truth of the story and way too many holes pop up - like no record of the father who infected him being a NYC cop convicted of child abuse and murdered in prison, or doctors named in the book being licensed in any state, etc. etc. etc....

Smells Like a Hoax to Me, November 29, 2001
Reviewer: A reader from New York
This book is a very interesting one, in part because it is probably one of the longest-running modern literary hoaxes. No one seems able to actually find the "author," Anthony Godby Johnson.
In 1993, Newsweek reporter Michele Ingrassia brought up the possibility of a hoax, and in the Nov. 21, 2001, issue of The New Yorker, reporter Tad Friend all but confirmed it....
The following is documented fact, not opinion: Searches for Tony's birth certificate have come up empty, and police have no records of anyone committing the crimes Tony claimed his parents were convicted of....
AIDS and abuse are serious topics, and should be addressed. I feel badly for those who were (in my opinion) misled into believing this is a true story. It may be inspiring, but we should be inspired by truth, not heart-tugging fictions.

One of the best, if not the best book I have ever read, March 3, 1998
Reviewer: from United Staes
The courage this boy has is an insperation to all or should be. It shows that lifes adversitites can be over come and you feel the courage that it takes to do so.

"The only real answer is for you to read the book, any book and make up your own mind."

Good point, Mark. I'm still not sure if it would be worth the time & money or not...

So has anybody read this book? Have any further info about whether the story is true or not?


"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck


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