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The Little Prisoner: A Memoir Paperback – July 22, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From 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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'An inspirational page-turner.' Heat 'The devastating and moving true life story of Jane's life. A powerful read.' Best 'A tragic tale, yet filled with hope.' Woman 'This true story of an escape from a miserable childhood makes inspiring reading.' Woman & Home --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 267 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (July 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061561312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061561313
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #473,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First off I need to say that this book was amazing, but not at all for very emotional people. I say that only because it tells such a brutally horrifying story that I kept having to put the book down. I always read books, particularly memoirs, of similar topics, and I can honestly say that there is not another book that has affected me this way.

I was only onto the 30th page or so, and disgusted, yet I also wanted to get to the end and see what happened, so I didn't want to put it down. And the end of the book I was truly crying and I couldn't really say if it was happy tears or not.

I don't know how anybody could have lived through the years of abuse that are discussed in "The Little Prison," yet I can sort of understand "Jane's" explanation that when you are a young kid, what you see at home is really all you see, so it's hard to clarify what is normal and what is not. It is also truly disturbing how a person could be so evil to treat other people the way her step-father treated her. And eventually the whole family started treating her the same way, it's just horrifying.

I think that "Jane" is an amazing woman for being able to live through this terrifying childhood, bring the scumbag to court, deal with the results of the case and her family's hatred towards her from it, write a book about her experience, and raise a family. I am just amazed and I sincerely hope the rest of her life is positive.

I'd highly recommend this book be read. Although it is sickening to read the things Jane lived through, it's also reality, and the only way we as a society as a whole can help to stop these sorts of things is to be educated about them.
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Format: Paperback
Another good book up there with "A Child Called It". I just stumbled upon this book at the library and decided to give it a chance. Once I started reading it, I could hardly put the book down. I had to get to the end to see what happened to her abuser. I'm amazed by what other humans are made to suffer through, especially at the hands of their own family members. I give credit to the author for finally standing up for herself and making a case. She put herself and others at risk to do so. Very good read but some parts are a little tough to read through from the abuse standpoint.
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Format: Paperback
"Jane's" story of 17 years of mental, physical, and sexual abuse from her young stepfather is a horrific story, but could have been told much more effectively through more skillful writing.
The first three-fourths of the book felt mainly like a flat, aloof, oddly unemotional listing of one atrocity after the other..."he did this to me, he did this to mum, he would make me do this, he would then call me a ...." The last third or fourth of the book seemed to combine events with her feelings and reactions to the events more; I was able to begin to sense that she was a real person and then I could begin to feel more touched by her experiences.
I suppose Jane's nickname "Silly Git" for the stepfather was changed for this book like the other names, but it made me ill every time I read it: "Silly" seemed inappropriate..more an endearment and too "cutesy" for a man as evil as he.
Hopefully this monster is never able to hurt another child or woman; and shame on that bunch that supported him.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jane Elliot lived through a childhood that most never survive to tell the tale.
The things this woman went through are unimaginable horrors. From being a sex, and domestic slave for 17 years to being beat down for speaking out against her abuser by her very own brothers.
I'm angry that her mother was never charged with neglect. I know Jane wants to believe that her mom didn't know about the sexual abuse she endured but deep down I think she knows that really her mother could have cared less.
This is a tale of survival. Once you open this book you will not want to set it down.
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Format: Paperback
How do you really give a review on something with such a hard subject matter to digest? Well, in this case the author did a great job of letting the reader into such an awful portion of her life. We get to "try" to understand what is was like to endure years of pain, both physical and mental. We get to "try" and figure out how these awful things could have happened...and WHY it is so important to "get involved" as citizens. Nobody wanted to take a stand for this little girl...nobody wanted to be brave...but she was.

The author mentions a book I read years ago called "A Child Called It" by Dave Pelzer, and I'd agree...if you read it and found it engaging...you'll find this engaging as well.
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Format: Hardcover
Only two books have ever made me feel so emotional, "THE LITTLE PRISONER" and "NIGHTMARES ECHO". Both tell of child abuse-sexual abuse and both are hard to put down until you have read every page. You will feel for the authors, urging them on...wishing you could make the tough decisions for them and realizing...oh my gawd the courage they have.
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Format: Hardcover
This young child is forced in to a terrible ordeal with a man. Her life is filled with painful twist and turns. hard to imagine that such things could happen to children byt even more amazing that a child can come out of it and fight with courage and dignity to survive it all.

Also read Nightmares Echo and Smashed
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