The Little Prisoner: A Memoir

The Little Prisoner: A Memoir

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by Jane Elliott
     
 

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When Jane Elliott was four years old, the nightmare began. She became the helpless victim of a sociopath—bullied, dominated, and sexually abused by a man only fourteen years her senior: her stepfather. For nearly two decades she was held prisoner, both physically and emotionally. But at the age of twenty-one she escaped . . . and then she fought

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Overview

When Jane Elliott was four years old, the nightmare began. She became the helpless victim of a sociopath—bullied, dominated, and sexually abused by a man only fourteen years her senior: her stepfather. For nearly two decades she was held prisoner, both physically and emotionally. But at the age of twenty-one she escaped . . . and then she fought back.

The Little Prisoner is the shocking, astonishing, and ultimately uplifting true story of one woman's shattering twenty-year ordeal—and how she triumphed against an evil and violent human monster when honesty and bravery were her only weapons.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

"The charts are full of stories of childhood abuse now," Elliott writes, and speculates that fans of childhood abuse literature "want to be shocked at the start of the book, crying in the middle and exultant at the end." Her account (Jane Elliott is a pseudonym) adds little that is fresh to the genre beyond that her "[s]eventeen years was an astonishingly long time to have been systematically abused." A good part of this "true story of a four-year-old girl who fell into the power of a man for whom evil was a relentless daily activity" is devoted to the shock-graphic detail of her stepfather's physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Some readers will feel for Elliott as she continues to be victimized by a thoroughly amoral lunatic head of an incredibly dysfunctional family; others may find that the explicit detail teeters perilously close to the pornography of violence and of sexual degradation. While Elliott's stepfather is eventually sentenced to 15 years, little exultancy follows until Elliott decides to tell her story and achieves British bestsellerdom. Elliott's account, written with Crofts, makes fascinating reading as one wonders, in page-turner fashion, whether anyone will stop this man from terrorizing his stepdaughter, her mother, her siblings and the entire neighborhood. The vagueness of time and place, however, raise disquieting questions about reality. (Aug.)

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Kirkus Reviews
Harrowing portrait of a young girl's brutal abuse at the hands of her stepfather. After an evaluation by social services determining neglect, Elliott (a pseudonym) and her brother were taken away from their heavy-drinking father and unfaithful mother to be placed in foster care. Limited to seeing her children on supervised visits, their mother continued an affair with Richard, a moody, shifty teenager who swiftly assumed the role of stepfather; he was 18 when the author was returned to her parent's custody. Elliott's beloved brother lucked out and was left to be adopted by a respectable family; her mother bragged about manipulating authorities with a bribe stipulating that the couple "only wanted the girl" back. Stepfather Richard, prone to angry rages, hated Elliott on sight and insisted she and the rest of the family (he and her mother eventually had four sons) keep the house spotless, or corporal punishment would follow. The abuse quickly ballooned to catastrophic proportions. Richard spat in her food, viciously beat her, tried to drown her, suffocated her and threatened her with kitchen knives. The author's mother, clearly aware of the situation, never objected, fearing for her own personal safety. Attempts to run away at age six were met with increased tyranny, psychological torture and humiliation that continued well into Elliott's adolescence, a physical state that only seemed to amplify her stepfather's relentless sexual exploitation. Readers will breathlessly whip through Elliott's explicit, page-turning chronicle, rooting for her to reach some sort of asylum. But even as a young adult with a boyfriend and children of her own, she would see many more years of maltreatment,including the violent backlash from other members of the family after she leaked her story to police. Though Elliott's stepfather was eventually sentenced to 15 years in prison, questions remain as to how someone carries on with life after such an atrocity has left the scars of abuse deeply embedded in both mind and body. Shockingly graphic, disturbingly powerful.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062047243
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/31/2010
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
175,869
File size:
2 MB

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