by Ed Orzechowski
Abandoned by his unwed mother during World War II, Donald Vitkus becomes a ward of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is 27 days old. Six years later as 'Patient #3394,' he is committed to Belchertown State School, where he is labeled a 'moron' with an I.Q. of 41. Like hundreds of other institutions across the country, Belchertown is a de-humanizing environment of barred windows, locked doors, and brutal regimentation. 'I never want us to return to those days,' Donald says. Resistant to authority, he refuses mind-numbing medications, smokes contraband cigarettes, joins an escape committee, and learns of the outside world on a black-and-white TV. He later serves in Vietnam, searches for his family, marries, and earns a college degree — all in a lifelong battle to convince others and himself, that Donald Vitkus is not a moron.