The Chartreuse Garden

The Horrific Murders of Innocents that Compelled Me to Fight Social Injustice and Hate

Non-Fiction - Social Issues
293 Pages
Reviewed on 11/12/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite

In The Chartreuse Garden, Jack Castiglione recounts discovering his sexuality, meeting a family who suffered at the hands of a mentally ill father and husband, and campaigning against hate and social injustice in Long Beach, California. As Jack was bullied a lot as a kid, he answered the call to volunteer as a "Big Brother," become a Scoutmaster and act as a guardian of sorts for some kids that needed help in his community. This exposed him to the brutal consequences of having an abusive family and spurred him to do all he can to save any victims of social injustice he comes across. The several violent attacks against the gay community in Long Beach, especially from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, also became a contributing factor to his fight for justice.

A story about selflessness, courage, and trauma. The Chartreuse Garden had me in tears as I imagined what the victims in the story must have gone through due to hate and mental disorder. It exposes some huge flaws in the mental health care system of the United States that need to be addressed. As someone that used to be homophobic and clueless about the plight of people with different sexual orientations, Jack Castiglione helped me to understand homosexuality better and see how far we still have to go as a society to support one another, no matter our differences. The detailed examples of how Jack spearheaded the fight against social injustice in Long Beach are great for others to emulate in their own communities. He is not perfect, but with more men like Jack Castiglione, the world would be a much better place.