Recently, I’ve been having some fun reading biographies and memoirs. Just a few days ago, I got a memoir from the library called The Little Prisoner. It intrigued me with the front descriptive line: HOW A CHILDHOOD WAS STOLEN AND A TRUST BETRAYED. Not to mention it was a number one bestseller in Britain.
Let me start off by saying, if you’re looking for an excellently written memoir, this one is not it. It’s written in a simple style. But that’s not the reason to read this book. It’s obviously written by a woman who is not trying to be a writer; she’s just wanting to share her story with the world. It’s a story so hauntingly disgusting, evil and upsetting, that you’ll wonder if the story is even true.
The memoir (written by Jane Elliot, which is actually a pseudonym to protect the author’s life) follows little Jane as she deals with the horrors inflicted upon her by her step-father. Not only is he OCD about keeping things perfectly neat and tidy; he’s a sick man who finds pleasure in spitting in Jane’s food and making her eat it, beating her up, smothering her under her pillow until she suffocates, threatening to kill her mother if she doesn’t do as he asks, manipulating her mother and brothers against her, and that’s not even the worst part. What I found the most sickening was the sexual abuse she had to endure, starting at the age of 4. It lasted for 17 years before she found the strength to stand up for herself and get the justice she deserved.
It made me so sick; I had to put the book down a couple times. People that inflict this kind of pain on children are vile monsters who don’t deserve to live. I was struck with a gratitude for my own wonderful life I’ve lived, and more thankful than ever. As painful as it is to read stories like this, I think it’s good for someone like me who has always had a privileged and blessed life. I can’t even fathom going through any of the things Jane went through. And to think I complain about the stupidest stuff sometimes, as if my life is so bad.
This book isn’t fun to read and there’s a lot of strong sexual content, so don’t read it if you feel you can’t handle it. But DO read it if you want to be filled with an understanding of the pain others go through, compassion and thankfulness for your own life’s blessings. It’s truly an eye-opening experience and one you won’t soon forget, even if you wish to.