Six houses, five apartments, three motels, a Hollywood mansion, (with Mom’s boyfriend?), and a farm in Pennsylvania. Moving 16 times before age nine is enough to screw with any kid’s head.
At age 14, Carol Es decided to leave her rootless, dysfunctional family after having suffered years of neglect, mental abuse, and sexual molestation. Trying to balance school and work while staying on friends’ couches, she struggled to succeed as a drummer and a contemporary artist. Starting at age 11, she worked for the family business — alongside one of her abusers — cutting patterns for the garment industry.
Lost, broken, and seeking a way out, she accidentally followed her older brother into a dangerous cult. Seduced by the magic promises to fix her situation, she buried herself in the concepts and philosophies of the group. Meanwhile, her brother fell away into addiction and Carol battled to keep pieces of her authentic self, denying her own mental illness in order to stay true to the leader’s doctrine.
All the while, she maintained her unbreakable bond with art and music, playing tirelessly in bands along Sunset Boulevard, and throughout the LA circuit. She toured the United States, recorded with major producers, and signed with Sony Music. In this book she explains how it’s possible to be both brainwashed and live within the real world.
Taking a huge stride out of the blackness of fear and silence, Carol shares with us an unexpected perspective through moments of true vulnerability. Using conversational language, gallows humor, and bursts of pointed prose, she invites you into her confidence and lays bare her most raw and intimate stories.
Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley is not another survivor’s story about overcoming horrors and coming out victorious. It’s a relatable story about doing what you can with what you’ve got, no matter how broken your tools. Gaining the ability to identify growth from experience is the true victory. Sometimes, learning, relearning, and coming out okay is triumph enough.