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Elephant Girl: A Human Story by [Devin, Jane]
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Elephant Girl: A Human Story Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 599 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


  • "From the soul of a child and the heart of a woman comes a story about turning imagination into possibility and scars into art." - Rosie O'Donnell, Talk Show Host

From the Author

I've written many articles about child abuse over the years, both as a social issues writer and a survivor. I have felt the frustration of being told that it's a "cliched" topic. I've seen the label "victim" misused and spit out as an insult. I've seen scientific evidence of permanent brain changes (caused by the stress hormone cortisol) in neglected children thrown out by those who would like to believe that everything under the sun is a matter of personal choice and character. I didn't write this book for those people. As Joseph Dunninger once said on another matter altogether, "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation will suffice." Instead, I wrote this book for those who struggled against the odds to forge their own roads to recovery -- who may not have always known how, and who may have stumbled so horribly along the way that they didn't know if recovery would be possible -- but who loved life enough to keep hoping and trying. There really is a green field on the other side. It took me four decades to find it -- to accept the support and faith of others and to take the risk I needed to take to save my own life -- but now that I'm here it feels more important to me than ever to let other "elephant girls" know that they are not alone. Beyond damage, beyond brokenness, beyond even the worst mistakes and hurtful judgments, there is a place of redemption and repair.

Product Details

  • File Size: 977 KB
  • Print Length: 488 pages
  • Publication Date: July 31, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005FFTRO0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,842 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I first came across Jane Devin's writing in 2007 on her online blog focusing on a wide variety of topics....everything from politics, family, poverty, child abuse and protection, women's experiences and the challenges of being a writer, to loving and the human condition. Let's just say Ms. Devin's never been one to shy away from the 'big issues'!

Then, late in 2009, with support from many of her online friends and fans, and some surprising (at least to her) corporate sponsorship, Jane left her life in Minnesota and boldly set out on a solitary cross-country journey. Challenging herself to explore this country and her own inner landscape in a way she never had before, she wrote about the trip and the people she met all along the way. That journey ultimately lead Jane to find her way to writing this book, a personal story that had eluded her for years, a book and a story that perhaps haunted her.

Today, finally, her compelling and ultimately inspiring story is available for readers everywhere who have an interest in the human condition, no matter how sometimes dark and frightening it may be. 'Elephant Girl' is written in Devin's unique voice that can be extremely graphic, conjuring harrowing visual imagery that would seem well suited for an indie film screenplay. At its core, it recounts a disturbing story and a difficult life that is illuminated by the author's sheer determination to survive and not allow the horrors of a broken childhood to defeat her, and elevated by the fascinating prose form she's uses to describe her experiences....and the choices they lead her to make along the way. It's a story--a life--that she's lived with courage and sublime creativity, and that she relates in a literary form that's engrossing and cathartic!

I can only suggest that you get carried away by it!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jane Devin takes us on the ride of her life, in this phenomenal memoir, Elephant Girl. Truly, when I first started reading EG, I did not believe that it was her story. Really? I thought to myself, how on earth has she been able to pull herself together and put this on paper - and in such elegant prose?

Rarely will you find a person who can not only endure the dark side of life, but can relay it in such a fashion that you jump on board and hold on for the trip. Like a cowardly roller-coaster ride, you will read, peering through your fingers, but you will not be able to stop.

And just when you are gasping for air, she tell you something that will make you believe in the human spirit. She will showcase over and over again, that even in the darkest of dark, we can rise from the ashes and love. Even when we are in the deepest despair, we can still reach out to feel the power of destiny and hope.

This is Jane's first published book, but it is my hope that it is her first of many to come. She is Van Gogh with a pen. Of that I am sure.
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I read this is one night... being an insomniac that isnt as amazing as it sounds... I found this to be exactly what I needed in my life right now... Sad to say that most of it was because I identified so much with almost all of it... What I found the most engaging were the sections that talked about how she processes thoughts and feelings, and explaining how she was able to make it through each event, file it away and face the next challenge... I LOVED this book, You have no idea how much.... You will be a better person for having read it :)
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I think this would have been a great book had a "strict" editor insisted on whittling it down by 100 pages or so.

There were a lot of parts of the book that I really liked and many passages which I highlighted because they were so good. I especially liked the section on the narrator's stint with a "group" rehab program. The subtle mockery of the program comes out through the description of her experience there. Unfortunately, the entire book is not characterized by such subtlety.

At times I felt the novel was tedious. It is not just that it was difficult to relive with the author all the painful moments that she goes through - though that is part of it: there was very little to relieve the constant agony and the depression of everything going wrong. But it was the extreme detail that sometimes was just too much. Whole pages describe in detail every bill the narrator must pay , how many diapers she is down to, etc.

The other thing I found difficult to plow through were sections with the narrator's musings about her life philosophy, or rather her rejection of life philosophies held by others. I think an author is much wiser to let her ideas flow subtly from the text without basically addressing the reader directly to say what she thinks. She already employs the strategy of speaking to a psychologist - giving her leeway to express her thoughts in quite a direct manner to the reader - so why soliloquize directly to the reader? Where is the subtlety? Moreover, these sections were quite repetitive. How many times do we need for the writer to tell us that she rejects the idea that people always get what they deserve?

As I wrote, there is a great 350 page book inside this 478 page novel.
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