Author Lorenzo Carcaterra has claimed that his book, on which the film is based, is a true story of his childhood. When the New York legal community went on record stating that no cases resembling the events of his book could be found in any court records, Carcaterra refused to discuss it. Carcaterra's school attendance records show he couldn't have been in prison for as long as he said, and he couldn't have been in prison at the dates given for certain events in the book. David Stout, a New York Times reporter who did a story on the controversy, said in an interview that he could find nothing in the newspaper's extensive library, or anywhere else, that resembled the case.
In the end of the movie, they sing the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons song "Walk Like a Man". In the scene where Shakes is in Carol's house, (at around one hour seventeen minutes) he is picking up a record from the shaft of that same single.