This book, The Only Girl in the World, by Maude Julien, popped up as a recommended book for me via Audible. I didn’t pick it. Then I went over to my on line library and it popped up there as a new audio book selection. I decided it was fate so I put myself on the waiting list.
I was happy the day it came available. I’ve been in a bit of book slump. I’ve had book after book after book (three in a row) that I only partially listened to and then gave up on, returning them before I even finished them. I didn’t even bother to tell you I gave up them. UGH.
I was hopeful for this book. In the recommendations for this I saw a listing comparing it to Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. I LOVED that book, so fingers crossed, I started listening.
I ended up liking the book. It was a pretty quick book and kept my attention. I had such trouble believing what a parent can do to a child….and what another parent can allow to be done to a child. It’s just sad.
I do wish more would have been said and acknowledged that the father obviously suffered from some type of mental illness….All and all, although hard to listen to, I would recommend the book.
Here’s what Amazon had to say:
“Maude Julien’s parents were fanatics who believed it was their sacred duty to turn her into the ultimate survivor – raising her in isolation, tyrannizing her childhood, and subjecting her to endless drills designed to “eliminate weakness”. Maude learned to hold an electric fence for minutes without flinching and to sit perfectly still in a rat-infested cellar all night long (her mother sewed bells onto her clothes that would give her away if she moved). She endured a life without heat, hot water, adequate food, friendship, or any kind of affectionate treatment.
But Maude’s parents could not rule her inner life. Befriending the animals on the lonely estate as well as the characters in the novels she read in secret, young Maude nurtured in herself the compassion and love that her parents forbid as weak. And when, after more than a decade, an outsider managed to penetrate her family’s paranoid world, Maude seized her opportunity.
By turns horrifying and magical, The Only Girl in the World is a story that will grip you from the first minute and leave you spellbound, a chilling exploration of psychological control that ends with a glorious escape.”
Amazon readers gave the book 4.2 stars. I think I’ll agree. I do think the book ended a little too quickly. I had trouble believing after all the control, it was just okay for her to go and there wasn’t a lot of conflict over the leaving (or at least that’s the impression that the quick ending left).