When she was 15 years outdated, Jenny Pentland — the daughter of actress Roseanne Barr — was stunned in her Los Angeles dwelling by a gaggle of enormous males who, with no warning, positioned her in handcuffs, drove her to an airport, and flew her to Utah.
There, towards her will, she was dropped at a wilderness survival camp the place she was pressured to reside within the woods for two months. She ate little greater than raisins, peanuts, uncooked cornmeal and half-cooked beans, braving the weather with no connection to her household or the surface world.
At one level, Pentland, who alleges was overwhelmed by a staffer throughout her ordeal, even helped somebody pores and skin a squirrel for meals, and was gifted with the animal’s leg to eat for the hassle.
Now 45, she nonetheless refers to what occurred to her as a kidnapping.
But in reality, her ordeal, and related others all through her teen years, was absolutely sanctioned and paid for by her mom and the comic’s new husband on the time, actor Tom Arnold.
To today, Pentland doesn’t absolutely perceive why she was repeatedly put into these conditions and prevented from residing a standard teenager’s life. As far as she will inform, her solely transgression was “being fat.”
She tells the harrowing story in her new memoir, “This Will Be Funny Later: A Memoir” (Harper), out Tuesday.
The bother started when Pentland was 13, round 1989. As her mom adjusted to the newfound fame of successful sitcom, she was additionally coping with her divorce from Pentland’s father, Bill. Pentland and her siblings turned pawns of their mother and father’ courtroom battle.
“At the lawyers’ advice, any action we took was recorded and used to further the narrative of whichever parent was suing the other at the time,” Pentland writes. “If I came home to my mom’s house from my dad’s with dirt under my nails, [Barr’s lawyers] would write that down. If I gained weight, the lawyers would note that, too.”
She did acquire weight, and in addition started reducing herself in response to the stress, as she discovered key particulars of the divorce and her own residence life from the tabloids.
Around this time, Pentland wrote in her journal: “I feel above and to the right of my body. Like I’ve been knocked a few seconds into the past and can’t catch up.”
She provides no indication within the guide about Barr’s aspect of all this.
Pentland was first dropped into an establishment when she was 13.
She writes about Barr driving her to a therapist appointment at a hospital, barely talking to her the entire approach, and, with no clarification, leaving her there for eight months.
“[Two hospital workers] took me into an office that looked like a medical exam room and had me stand behind a curtain and strip,” Pentland writes. “I had to hand them each article of clothing as I took it off so they could thumb through the seams and pockets looking for contraband. When I was naked, the female [worker] told me she had to make sure I’d given them everything and then came around the curtain to see me standing nude. I was freezing cold and totally humiliated and scared, which came off as anger.”
She describes mealtime as “not a joyous event,” with the teenager sufferers pushing their meals round their plates till somebody sometimes threw meals on the nurses station for amusing. The others would comply with, inflicting a “Code Red,” which means a pink button could be pushed inflicting alarm bells to blare.
“Alarm lights would light up the hallways, and any available staff would grab whoever was being violent or out of control,” Pentland writes. “They would restrain them on the floor until they were calm, or they would inject them with Thorazine and wait for it to kick in. They would move the kid to the Observation Room. [The patient] would lie on the bed until the drug wore off, or they’d be restrained in ‘five points,’ which meant all four limbs and forehead were strapped to the metal frame of the bed.”
When she not solely did not shed extra pounds however really gained a couple of kilos, she was accused of “running an underground food railroad.”
“I was doing nothing other than eating three cafeteria meals a day,” Pentland writes, “and sitting on my ass inside a mental institution where the only exercise we got was the two hours a week we were dragged upstairs to the third-floor rooftop volleyball court.”
But Pentland discovered how one can be institutionalized. Later, after being transferred to a distinct establishment, she found out how one can “do prison-style tattoos using a needle, pen and thread.”
Here, with their room dealing with an condominium advanced, Pentland and one other affected person took to flashing their breasts at a neighborhood in trade for his shopping for them cigarettes, which had been handed by the window.
One day, one of many staffers, a recovering addict, noticed her crying, and requested what was fallacious. Pentland exploded.
“Am I crazy? I must be crazy! I have been here longer than anyone! Am I crazy?”
The staffer took a sluggish drag on a cigarette, then revealed a painful fact.
“You have the best mental health insurance policy I’ve ever seen,” he advised her. “You’re worth a million a year, babe.”
“I went cold,” Pentland writes. “My blood drained and my brain did that montage thing of calculating information. It took a minute for the answer to come to me. Could that be true? Could it be that simple? Oh my God. I’m not crazy, I’m profitable.”
Pentland wound up residing the vast majority of her teen years out and in of establishments like that one, or in applications like wilderness survival.
There had been occasions when she had been free for months, then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, she could be taken prisoner once more.
When Pentland reached 250 kilos, Roseanne took to pouring Coca-Cola throughout her daughter’s meals so she wouldn’t eat anymore. The teen was anticipating to be picked up on the airport by her father, however was met by one in every of Roseanne’s bodyguards as an alternative.
As she realized what was occurring — that she was being carted off to a different prison-like facility — Pentland started to scream: “Where are you taking me?!?!?”
Her mom’s bodyguard calmly replied, as if it was an on a regular basis prevalence, that “he was a martial arts expert, and that he was authorized to cuff me.”
She got here to consider that Barr and Arnold had been plotting to have her saved a prisoner endlessly.
“I was racking my brain trying to think of ways that Tom and my mom could have worked around the law to keep me incarcerated for the rest of my life,” Pentland writes. “Would they suggest ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) or something else with permanent consequences?”
She was launched from her remaining establishment shortly earlier than she turned 18, proper across the time Barr and Arnold break up.
Pentland has maintained a relationship along with her mom, even spending time as a author on her unique present. (Barr’s revived ABC sitcom was canceled in 2018 after a racist tweet, then returned to the air with out her.) She appears to bear no ailing will towards Barr, particularly now that she has 5 sons of her personal.
She remembers a time when one in every of her sons, as a teen, started entering into bother.
“I thought about what I could do differently than what [my parents] did, and my answer was ‘listen,’” Pentland writes.
“My voice was so often lost among the professionals’ voices, the public’s commentary, or else my own screaming. I wanted to hear my kids. I hoped that would be enough and that one day they would forgive [my husband and] me for not knowing what we were doing and would think, they did the best they could.”