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The Girl with No Name: The Incredible Story of a Child Raised by Monkeys by [Chapman, Marina, Barrett-Lee, Lynne]
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The Girl with No Name: The Incredible Story of a Child Raised by Monkeys Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 617 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Torn from her family at the tender age of four and abandoned in the Colombian jungle, Chapman must fight to survive. This remarkable memoir, coauthored by Barrett-Lee, is based on years of Chapman’s conversations about her brutal childhood with her daughter. Her first few, horrifying days in the jungle are presented in vivid detail, as is the troop of capuchin monkeys with which she found refuge and a sense of community over the years. When she casts her lot with hunters who sell her into slavery, her unfamiliarity with basic human concepts is heartbreaking in its entirety. Fortunately, her monkey upbringing has surprising intersections with the talents of a street kid. A well-paced, cliffhanger approach to telling the story makes for a riveting narrative. Chapman’s struggles, no matter how outrageous, are made relatable through the deft descriptions of her thoughts and feelings. A constant theme throughout is her strong desire to be someone. Thrilling, upsetting, and powerful, this memoir is a coming-of-age tale like no other. --Bridget Thoreson


“Marina Chapman may live a quiet life now, but the story of her childhood is more akin to a wild fairytale.” (The Huffington Post)

“This book, which is as much a memoir about the importance of classification and belonging as it is about the endurance of the human spirit, will be enjoyed by those looking for a story of perseverance through even the greatest obstacles life brings.” (Publishers Weekly)

Product Details

  • File Size: 1368 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books; 1 edition (April 9, 2013)
  • Publication Date: April 9, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,002 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bruce Siegel on March 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a pleasure it is to write the first Amazon review of this book. I finished it in just over a day because, among its many strong points, The Girl With No Name reads like a novel. The further I got into it, the more impatient I was to find out what happened next.

I've always enjoyed stories that involve a clash of cultures. When people of different classes, religions, or countries are thrown together and faced with the challenge of living together despite their differences, the door opens to all sorts of insights, humor, and character development.

And this account--whose truth I don't doubt for a moment--takes that plot device to the max, because it's not just about the meeting of two cultures, but two species.

Marina Chapman was abandoned in the jungles of Colombia as a four-year-old, and forced to survive for the next five years without the help or companionship of other humans. As the title suggests, she did so by taking up with a troop of capuchin monkeys.

And the culture clash to which I refer happens not just once, but twice in the course of the story--once as she learns to live as a member of her new-found monkey family, and then five years later, as she tries to adjust to living in civilization, having long ago forgotten how to be human.

As you can imagine, there's a tragic side to this tale. Many of her relationships--those with other people, that is--were filled with cruelty and abuse.

But there's also joy, great strength, and tenderness to be found here.

I've long been intrigued by how humans relate to animals. It seems to me that we have a sense of superiority that's unwarranted. How can one species say that it is fundamentally better than another?
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Format: Hardcover
"Girl with No Name " tells the fascinating tale of Luz Marina, a 5-year-olf girl kidnapped from her Columbian home and left in the jungle to die. Somehow, with the help of a troupe of capuchin monkeys, she survives for several years before being found by a couple of game hunters and brought to the city. Her tale of survival is amazing. Almost too much so. When he eats bad seeds, an elderly monkey pushes her to a stream and forces her to drink water until she vomits up the poison. After that, she basically lives in a bucolic dream, eating what the monkeys eat, sleeping where they sleep and generally living in a child's paradise of colors, lights and never-ending play.

About a third of the way through the book, I started doubting the story was real. It seemed incredible that a child could live so easily in a jungle in which indigenous people had to work so hard -- building fences and hunting and crafting containers, etc. The child never had a toothache or cold or childhood disease. The perfect life.

But it seems that a kidnapping, even in a dangerous country like Columbia would have made the news somewhere. Not to mention the mafia activity that the author claims she witnessed, including an explosion that destroyed a bridge and killed two boys. Not even the convent that sheltered her is asked to show records of her stay. And the ghostwriter who prepared the manuscript only relies on her own interior sense that Luz was telling the truth.

"The Girl with No Name" makes for an action-packed read. I read it voraciously to the end. But it would have been even more amazing had it not seemed like a fantastic story concocted by a former street kid to account for a real history she chose not to remember.
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Format: Hardcover
You can't read this book and not feel something for Marina. This essentially begins (after a short preface) with the kidnapping of a young girl who is abandoned and then forced to live on her own in the wilds of Columbia. For years, she goes undiscovered, relying on a group of monkeys to teach her to survive. She therefore learns to live in a rather uncivilised manner and has a very difficult time adapting to life when she is rescues and brought to live among people once more.

I can't imagine that all of the things in this book are reported exactly as they happened, there are a few things that rather contradict themselves, but honestly, by the end, I really didn't care. This book is about an amazingly resilient child that grows up to be remarkable woman. There were certain parts that made me angry, other portions that made me hurt for her and wish I could grasp her hand and tell her everything was going to be alright, I did not get through this book without a range of changing emotions.

While I do not want to discredit the ghostwriting abilities of Lynne Barrett-Lee at all, I did have a difficult time reconciling the voice of a woman that was raised by monkeys and didn't learn to speak until later in life with the at times very formal sounding speech of Ms. Barrett-Lee. This made it difficult for me to fully relate to the memoir.

Overall I thought this was interesting and certainly tells a story that completely true or not, is worth the time to read. If you have not read this book as of yet, may I recommend that you secure a copy for yourself.

This review is based on a digital copy from Open Road Media.
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