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on 6 October 2004
As an avid reader of true crime books I have to admit that the main reason I bought this book in the first place was to read about the Carey Stayner case, although I had a vague recollection of seeing the tail end of the film of the same name.
However, as I read the first few chapters I was stunned at the contents & many times had to put the book away. This book has got to be the most emotional book I have ever read & I will freely admit that I have never cried whilst reading a book or watching a movie.
I sobbed myself silly reading this.
Unfortunately this book does not come with a happy ending & the chapters detailing the trial again left me reeling at the leniency of the conviction handed to known paedophile Ken Parnell. However I take comfort in the knowledge that he is back in prison & this time it's a life-term.
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on 18 June 2005
Reading this book makes you realise that there are some very sick, twisted and evil people in our midst. The agony that Steven Stayner & his family had to endure for those 7-yrs is definitely not reflected in the shockingly lenient sentence that Ken Parnell was given.
Steven Stayner escaped the evil clutches of Ken Parnell only when he feared for the safety of Timmy White....another child abducted by Parnell to fulfil his sick fantasies. Steven was a brave but troubled teen when he eventually returned to his family but he was brave enough to face the man he called 'Dad' for 7 horrifying years.
Disturbing, emotional, shocking, heart-breaking.....this book is all off these.
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on 25 September 1999
I read this book when it was first published in 1991. I still have the book and have re-read it quite a few times. It always makes me cry. It is a tragic story of a very brave little boy who puts his own life on the line to save another, younger one, then courageously testifying against the man who stole his childhood. Full marks to Mike Echols for a fantastic book that is well written and a real tear-jerker.
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on 28 October 2004
After having read Caroline Roberts' book "The Lost Girl", I felt sure that nothing could come close to such an emtionally disturbing book... this book is not far short of that!
As one reviewer points out, this is an 'emotional memoir'. I am fascinated how these 'damaged' people manage to repair themselves from such emotional and phyisical attack. This book is an educational device that could help those reach a better understanding of what mankind is all about.
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on 28 June 2004
I have never been much for writing a review. But this one deserves the best I can do. What an emotional memoir. It takes really ugly subjects like abuse, emotional abuse, and helps the reader to better understand what goes on in someones life.. However never does the author disrespect himself or the trauma he had to live with. There are many books that talk about abuse, and many that educate, But, very few that accomplish a balance. This is a book that sits in the rare company of Nightmares Echo,Running With Scissors, One Child and My Fractured Life.
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on 21 January 2007
It seems even in the US abusers are allowed to get away with their crimes and serve ridiculously light sentences, due to inadequate laws and inadequate lawmakers. Legal Loopholes obviously exist why haven't they been closed down? I thought the States were supposed to be tough on criminals?

If you are of a delicate disposition, read this book with extreme care. I found I had to skip several parts of this story because I just could not bear to read about what this abuser did to this innocent child. I have to say that I found this overtly graphic and quite unnecessarily so on behalf of the author. I did not think it should have been or needed to be described so graphically or repeatedly. I formed the picture of this side of the story immediately, so subsequent descriptions were shocking, disturbing and unnecessary. It seems this week another story emerges in the US so similar to Steven's it made my flesh crawl.

Wherever Steven is now I hope he is resting in peace and wherever his abuser lands up I hope he then pays adequately for his crimes against the innocents of this world. I also hope Steven's family have now found some inner peace, Lord knows they deserve to.
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on 22 February 2006
The tragic and true story of innocent 7-year old Steven Stayner, cruelly abducted by a sexual molestor and kept for 7 years, being told his kidnapper was his new "dad" and that his parents couldn't keep him any longer, is more than heartbreaking. The story, though I watched it on Lifetime months ago, is haunting as stays with you.
Imagine... you are 7 years old walking home from school on a "normal day." Then, something happens which will change the course of your life. You are suddenly ripped away from your family, not to see them for 7 years, believing you will never see them again.
Through 7 long years of enduring sexual abuse at the hands of a brutal sodomizing monster, Steven still had the courage to flee when Kenneth Parnell brought home a "new" brother to Steven! Steven, realizing something was wrong, fled, and hitchhiked more than 40 miles, eventually ending up at the police station where the world cheered his return and the return of the 5-year old Parnell had also abducted.
However, Steven's nightmarish ordeal could never stop haunting him, though he married and had two children of his own. Then tragically, while on the way home on his motorcycle from his job delivery pizza, a hit and run driver took his life.
The story begs "Why?" Why did this horrible incident have to happen to such a darling innocent little boy, who had his whole life ahead of him? His childhood (and subsequently his life) was literally ripped brutally away from him when he trusted a stranger who said he was from the church.
Lessons for parents:
1. Know where your children are at all times!
2. Remind them to NEVER get in the car with ANY stranger -- no matter who they claim to be! Even the police as they could be posing!
3. Make sure your children are ASSERTIVE and do not fear authority so much that they are too passive!!! Tell them if something FEELS FUNNY OR WRONG, especially if it involves an adult, it is!!! Teach your children to TRUST THEIR FEELINGS AND QUESTION "AUTHORITY!!!"
Lessons for the authorities:
1. Change our laws so sexual molestors and kidnappers like Parnell get a life sentence the first time! Why give them 3 chances to ruin more young lives?!?!
2. Actively teach young children safety in school, the community, etc.
3. Do not let the memory or agonizing story of brave young Steven Stayner die! Ever!
Steven Stayner must be one of God's angels now.
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on 11 May 2016
I first heard of this case by reading of it in the newspapers when it happened years ago.some years later I bought the video.then I was lucky enough to buy the book on my tablet and found it very informative and interesting and I knew I was reading the true story. I would recommend this book to all those who are interested in True crime and punishment.
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on 14 November 2006
I have read many true crime books over the years (it is my favourite type of read), and this is one of the very best. The story of a small boy's incredible courage to survive 7 years of a living nightmare with a real live monster. Steven was brainwashed into accepting mental and sexual abuse as his lot in life until the monster brought home another little boy (5 year old Timmy White) and he determined Timmy would not suffer his fate. After some failed attempts, the 2 finally make their escape, and are re-united with their families. A stranger in his own home, Steven has a hard time adjusting before finally finding a few years happiness before a drunk driver puts an end to his sad and all too short life. A very good and very sad read.
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on 2 July 2014
This book was certainly much better than the film. What a horror story. How on earth this young
man managed to stay sane with all the abuse he was suffering beggars belief.
A riveting read and it keeps the reader in mind of the tragedy behind the book.
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