i don't know whether ben carson's account of his own violent childhood will hold up or not. but i do know the shape of his story, which is the classic narrative of redemption a la augustine or malcolm x. one makes one's own life into a parable of one's teachings, or crystallizes them in one's own body. indeed, you might hear a narrative of this shape at any given church service or twelve-step meeting. now, with regard to both augustine and malcolm, people have asserted or speculated that the sinfulness and degradation were exaggerated in order to heighten the redemption, but again i am not in a position to evaluate their factual truth. if you want to see the wrong version of this - the self-aggrandizing, self-authorizing slime side - recall the case of james frey. nevertheless, such narratives are necessary to hope if you are really suffering from yourself and often they are more or less factually true.