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Little Girl Gone Paperback – January 31, 2012
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"Campbell's powerful novel explores the depth of depravity cloaked as charity and the ability to take a leap of faith and change the direction of one's life. This compelling story will stay with you long after the book is finished."―Monsters and Critics on Little Girl Gone
"Campbell writes with deceptive simplicity all the more impressive for the psychological currents simmering below the surface of a barren terrain. Lives made vulnerable by accommodation to loneliness are caught in the web of one man's madness, the rugged landscape a bleak canvas for all manner of bad decisions. But fate intervenes on behalf of Brock's prisoners, a life-long lie is revealed, a boy's fantastical tale proved true, and the frayed connections between a mother and daughter mended in a novel that celebrates the power of friendship and the freedom to make one's own choices."―www.curledup.com
"Campbell's latest has full-blown appeal for teen readers, echoing stories of abduction in the news (a là Jaycee Dugard, and her memoir A Stolen Life) or popular fiction (think of Emma Donoghue's Alex Award-winning Room)."―--- Library Journal
"Little Girl Gone peers insightfully into the lives of people easily written off as monsters. With an economy of style, vivid details, and grace of expression, Drusilla Campbell has written a novel well worth staying up late to keep reading."―Laurel Corona, author of PENELOPE'S DAUGHTER and FINDING EMILIE
"When is the last time you cheered out loud for a character in a novel? That's what I did as I read Drusilla Campbell's Little Girl Gone. The complex relationships between Campbell's richly drawn characters took me on a psychological roller coaster that tested my expectations, my values, and my heart. This story of tension and triumph is a perfect bookclub selection. Don't miss it!"―Diane Chamberlain, bestselling author of The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes
"Nobody gets to the marrow of human flaws and frailties better than Drusilla Campbell. In LITTLE GIRL GONE you are immersed in the lives of people you think you'll never meet and come to care deeply about what happens to each of them. This is a compelling story that won't leave you alone even after you've turned the last page."―Judy Reeves, Author of A WRITER'S BOOK OF DAYS
"An unflinching portrayal of life in emotional and physical captivity, "Little Girl Gone" is also a disturbing peek at the underbelly of society. The novel examines what it means to be a savior, in reality and delusion.... Campbell has a powerfully understated voice and resists the easy path of sensationalizing the story with prurient details simply to shock. Instead she provides authentic drama rich with complex psychological composition. The result is a novel that is hard to read, but even harder to put down."―San Diego Union Tribune
"Drusilla Campbell is a long time writer with several books in print. She is very talented in winding stories with strong women finding their voices. She proves that she knows what she is doing with Little Girl Gone."―ChaptersandChats.com
"Drusilla Campbell uses lyrical descriptions of the desert setting to make each character's loneliness more atmospheric."―Newark Star Ledger
"Campbell beautifully captures the raw and stark reality of Madora's life while building tension and suspense towards a climactic ending. Little Girl Gone is a fantastic exploration into domestic violence and the power of courage in the face of tragedy."―BookFinds
About the Author
Drusilla Campbell is the author of the critically acclaimed novels: Wildwood, The Edge of Sky, Blood Orange, and The Good Sister. Before she started school she had crossed the Pacific Ocean three times. In her twenties she lived in Europe and Central America. Today she's happy to stay at home in San Diego with her husband, the attorney and poet Art Campbell, two rescued dogs, and three horses.
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An intensely emotional and provocative story, Little Girl Gone explores the secret hopes and fears that drive good people to do dangerous things . . . and the courage it takes to make things right.
Madora Welles is seventeen and bent on living a wild, free life. She is still reeling after losing her father to suicide at the age of twelve. Madora and her best friend, Kay Kay, attend a party at night that is rife with alcohol and drugs. Madora is given a puff of a new-to-her drug called crank and is immediately wiped out. That is when her savior appears. Willis is a strong and calming influence and treats her with respect and Madora believes that he really loves her and can protect her. Madora fights her mother about the relationship and finally ends up leaving to go live with Willis. They go to live an an old abandoned shack in the mountains. For a short time, Madora is a waitress at a local restaurant. After a period of time, Willis insists that Madora stay at home and take care of the house. At this point in the book, the reader truly feels Madora's lonliness. Her only companions are stray animals she has cared for, among them her favorite, Foo, an abandoned pit bull.
When Willis brings home a girl, Linda, who is pregnant. He places this girl in an abandoned trailer on the lot and ties her to the bed, the story takes a major turn. He has Madora feed and take care of her while he is working. Madora highly dislikes the girl, but takes care of her because that is what is expected. As the reader, I couldn't understand why Madora goes along with this crime. It made me wonder if she had some kind of mental defect or if she was just plain brainwashed by Willis, who she sees as her saviour and lifeline.
Then comes Django Jones, who is suffering the loss of his parents in a sports car accident. His father was a well-known rock musician and Django has always had a life of luxury. He has been brought to live with his aunt, Robin, and Django and Madora connect at this point through Foo, the pet dog of Willis and Madora. Django comes to understand what is going on in the trailer and house out in the desert mountains, and tries to find a way to help Madora. But Madora just can't think for herself. She has always been directed by Willis.
This book makes you understand the longings of lost souls and brings to light the manipulations of predators who prey on such individuals and the abilities they possess to brainwash them.
The fine line between Madora's reality and Django's reality is drawn and hard to cross. The real world is as far from Madora as we are from Pluto. Drusilla Campbell does a great job of drawing you into Madora's unreality.
I felt different feelings about the book depending on what I was reading. At some points I liked it and was fascinated by Madora's lack of reality but at other points I found myself skimming and not caring what was going on. I also am a reader that likes a concrete ending and this book didn't have it. When I finished it, I felt dissatisfied and confused as to exactly what the plotline was meant to "teach" the reader. I have loved Campbell's other books, but this one just fell pretty flat. It was just ok. 3 stars