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The Little Prisoner: How a Childhood Was Stolen and a Trust Betrayed Hardcover – 17 Jan 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Element; 1st Edition 3rd Printing edition (17 Jan. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007196091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007196098
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 749,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'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

From the Author

BEING NUMBER ONE
By Jane Elliott
Author of The Little Prisoner
As a child a never thought anyone would believe what I had to say, so when my book went straight to number one in the hardback charts and everyone was talking about how brave I was to tell my story, I found it hard to take in. One minute I would be hugging myself with excitement and the next I would be frightened of what would happen now I’d let the genie out of the bottle.

Initially I wanted to write it because I knew how much I’d been helped by reading A Child Called It by Dave Peltzer. If just one child who was being abused read my story, I reasoned, and felt inspired enough to speak out and end the cycle of bullying in their own life, it would be worth doing.

Every time my publishers rang to say they were printing more copies to meet the demand, I imagined how many more people would be reading it and maybe seeing that it was possible for them to turn on the bullies and regain control of their lives.

The actual writing process was hard because it stirred up one or two memories and emotions that I’d been trying to forget about. But now I’ve now shouted out to the whole world all the things I was told had to be kept secret and it feels like a lead weight has lifted off my shoulders.

However hard I’d been trying to suppress the memories over the years, they were always there. I could distract myself with family chores, a bottle of wine or a packet of cigarettes, but that didn’t make the hurt go away for more than a few hours. Facing up to the memories and telling the whole story was like opening the curtains and windows on a sunny day, letting the light into a room that had grown stale, the air poisonous.

One of my biggest worries was how my children would react to the book. They’re both still young and although they knew that something bad had happened in my childhood they didn’t know any details. I’ve told them the book contains material they might find upsetting and that I would rather they didn’t read it until they were older, and so far they’ve managed to resist the temptation – I think. The excitement of hearing their mum talking on the radio and seeing the book all over the shelves in the supermarket and WH Smith seems to have more than compensated them for any worries it might have caused them.

The hard thing for them is that they’re not allowed to tell their friends about it. That was particularly tough when it was at the top of the charts and they were longing to share the excitement that was going on within our little family group. But they’re all too aware of the dangers of disclosing my true identity and of my whereabouts being discovered by my family. They saw what happened to their mum last time her brothers caught up with her, and they don’t want to take the risk of that happening again. They keep telling me how proud of me they are. I just hope they realise how proud I am of them as well.

My husband has also had to adjust from being the sole worker in the family to having to stay home a lot to look after the girls while I was off at publishers’ meetings and giving interviews, but there have been some big compensations for him too. The sense of satisfaction I got from seeing how well the book was doing made me a lot easier to live with, (not that I’m not still a bit of a nightmare for him some days!), and we have been able to pay off a few of the debts we were building up and improve our lives materially.

I don’t think he really believed the book would be a great success any more than I did, but it’s surprising how quickly we both got used to having a number one hit and started to feel disappointed when it got knocked down to number two or three!

The charts are full of stories of childhood abuse now and there have been a lot of articles in the press speculating on why so many people want to read about such a difficult subject. I don’t think it is the abuse they want to hear about, but the fact that some of the children who suffer from it manage to survive and ultimately triumph. They want to be shocked at the start of the books, crying in the middle and exultant at the end.

I suspect that the audiences for books like The Little Prisoner fall into two categories; firstly there are those who come from stable happy homes who can’t understand how anyone can abuse a child and want to find out about a world they can barely imagine. Then there are those who suffered something similar themselves and find some comfort in discovering they are not alone in the world. They get some inspiration from discovering that not only is it possible to lead happy and normal lives at the end, but that you can actually turn all that misery into something positive.

I have a horrible feeling there are more people in the latter category than anyone really wants to admit and, as long as the subject remains shrouded in secrecy and is considered a taboo to talk about, we’ll never know the full extent of the problem. With the popularity of books like mine, however, at least we have started to open the curtains and let a little light into these darkest and nastiest of corners.

If we don’t all understand what is going on in families like the one I came from, we can’t hope the make things better.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Mar. 2005
Format: Hardcover
I started and finished this book in less that 48 hours. I just could not put it down. It is frightening to imagine that someone can subject a child to such horrifying abuse and humiliation. Jane's mother may try to admit that she was totally unaware of what was happening to her daughter but when you read the book she must have known and she let it happen, she is no better than the beast who subjected Jane to her torment and should be locked up just like him. Jane was very brave to stand up to her abuser and she was right to speak out about what happened to her. People like Jane's abuser need to be stopped, Now.... no child should have to go through what Jane went through... Well done Jane - I wish you welll in your life.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By AP on 12 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
I kept picking this book up and reading a little bit every time I saw it in a shop but to be honest, I just found it too frightening to buy. I wasn't sure if I could cope with the story but in the end I bought it, purely because I had to put my mind at rest and find out what happened in the end - and finished it in 3 hours. It is one of the most absorbing, honest and unsentimental stories I've ever read, not for the faint hearted but people should know the truth. I could only describe Jane as one of the purest and bravest women I could ever hope to meet.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sands Of Time on 23 Feb. 2005
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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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Jan. 2005
Format: Hardcover
Cant help but be a bit biased with this as I am involved from a distance! I don't know Jane's Stepfather (neither do I wish too!)but I know Jane, and she is an unbelievably amazing woman, I have only known her for the last 4-5 years, you would never know, she smiles, she laughs, she has great fun with her daughters and the strength between her and her husband is amazing. Jane is the bravest person I know, after all this time, having to hold everything within. I never knew any details before I read this book, the book seperates each event, so that you can never put the book down, I found it so easy to read, in fact I read it in one day, and that's not easy as I have a family of my own!
I hope that writing this book, that Jane can now close that chapter of her life.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lillian on 20 Mar. 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is abuse, pure and simple. A child that must endure the utmost damage against her own inner self worth and yet finds the strength and determination to not just endure but to live. I could not put this book down. It reminded me of "NIGHTMARES ECHO" in many ways with the abusive situations and the inner fight to survive through it all. It also reminded me a bit of "FAT GIRL", another book that shows what inner demons can do to a child that must go through a terrible life filled with abuse. Hightly recommended books.
Aside from the books, I want to point out as well that it does my heart good to see true life (Memoirs/Biographies) make it in the top sellers list!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By angeleyes on 24 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
i read this book yesterday and like may others i read this in a day. i have a family and so dont normally get the chance to read books, but just couldn't put this down. i have read 'a child called it' and david pelzer's other books too but i have never read a book that was so similar to my experience as a child than with jane's book, unfortunately for jane her torture was far worse and over a longer timescale than mine, but she was right in that she said alot of abusers seem to follow similar paths.
the book helped me in some ways and in others brought up some memories i had 'forgotten'.
i really admire her for her courage, and strength. im sure that jane would agree that the emotional abuse and control is overbearing, the humiliation and being afraid to tell someone, and not even having your mother to turn to is the loneliest feeling.
as a mother myself i will never understand why a mother would not put her child first.
the way she wrote this book, to me made it more real, more human, it was as if she was sat next to you, recounting her life. it is a difficult read but these stories need to be out there, there are so many little girls and boys out there who are suffering, some worse than others, but in my eyes all children should be safe, and suffer no abuse in any form, alot of people when they think of abuse think of sexual or physical, but as jane shows emotional abuse, control and fear, are just as bad, and the childlike feelings and fears are always there no matter how old you get.
jane you have inspired me and i wish you and your family long lasting happiness xxxxx
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Deanne Dixon on 27 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
Unfortunately (and quite honestly) I am one of the first people in the first generation of those who are becoming genuinely desensitised to the plights of those in need. Everyday, through various channels, we are bombarded with stories of murder, torture, rape, paedophilia, racism and cruelty: countless different crimes being inflicted upon an increasingly worrying amount of nameless recipients. Whilst occasionally a few head-line stories force their way into my consciousness, many do not: I find it increasingly difficult to feel upset about happenings to people I do not know, and only just about able to engage my emotions on the occasions that events happen to those that I do. That is not, however, to say that I do not care - it's just that my reaction manifests itself in a wholly different way. Rather than labouring to show sympathy with the victim, I tend to get angry with the offender. I strongly believe in the need for revenge - "an eye for an eye" should have it's day. I express my character flaws so publicly only to make a point - Jane's story touched me so much that I would willingly go to prison exacting the much-deserved punishments not only to her step-father but her own mother too.

Briefly, "'The Little Prisoner' is a devastating true story of a girl who was dominated, bullied and sexually abused by a man just 14 years her senior. He held her prisoner in an emotional and physical nightmare for 17 years...until she fought back. At the age of 21, Jane managed to escape him to be with the man that she loved and her two daughters, but it took another five years of living in hiding before she found the courage to go to the police.
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