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Jane Devin

Written in three distinct voices—child, teen and adult—Jane Devin takes readers on an intimate, imaginative and often harrowing life journey. Born unwanted and raised without love, the child-author invents a rich inner life to see her through years of trauma. Leaving home at 16, the teen-author struggles to find happiness and a sense of place in a world that feels confusing and unfamiliar. Then, years after stumbling into an adulthood mired in tragedy and broken dreams, the woman-author finds herself at a crossroads. The choice she ultimately makes is as stunning as it is brave.Told in unflinching and often lyrical prose, Elephant Girl goes beyond a singular life story to speak of powerful, universal truths and the ability of the human spirit to redeem itself. From the soul of a broken child and the heart of a resilient woman comes a story about turning imagination into possibility and scars into art. - Rosie O'Donnell, Talk Show Host In a culture of bootstraps and bromides, it has become unfashionable to talk about the long-term effects of child abuse and being raised without love or nurture. Unlike psychologist Harry Harlowe's infamous experiments with monkeys and maternal deprivation — where all his subjects ended up abnormal or dead from what has been termed “emotional anorexia” —abused children are supposed to be more resilient. In fact, a significant number of people insist that child abuse isn't really that big of a deal and that such children will eventually enter into adulthood with the same knowledge and tools as those who were not abused, or at least be able to gain them quickly and easily. Less acknowledged is the fact that there can be long-term and even lifelong physical, social and emotional consequences of child abuse. Oftentimes, the one affected doesn't even realize what those consequences are until well into adulthood. High anxiety, hyper-vigilance, thwarted sexuality and brain damage that went undiagnosed until the age of 46 were just some of the after-effects experienced by the author of Elephant Girl: A Human Story. The story of Precious ends with her teenage years. Jeannette Walls concludes Glass Castles as a college student. In A Child Called It, Dave Pelzer is removed from his abusive home by age 12 and eventually finds a loving foster family. In contrast, Elephant Girl: A Human Story is about what happens when there is no clear path to follow, no outside guidance and no dramatic rescue—when the only life-saving graces are imagination, self-determination and, ultimately, an undefeatable sense of hope.This is not an easy story to read. Those who enjoy reading about miracles or quick solutions will surely be disappointed. Those looking to cast blame or buoy their belief that they could have done better will find plenty of ammunition. However, those who are willing to see beyond the convenience and labels of bootstraps and bromides — who believe that human experiences are diverse and complex — will find much to relate to in this rarely told story.

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Henriette Gyland

Peek-a-boo I see you… When five-year-old Helen Stephens witnesses her mother’s murder, her whole world comes crumbling down. Rejected by her extended family, Helen is handed over to child services and learns to trust no-one but herself. Twenty years later, her mother’s killer is let out of jail, and Helen swears vengeance. Jason Moody runs a halfway house, desperate to distance himself from his father’s gangster dealings. But when Helen shows up on his doorstep, he decides to dig into her past, and risks upsetting some very dangerous people. As Helen begins to question what really happened to her mother, Jason is determined to protect her. But Helen is getting too close to someone who’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth hidden …

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Ariion Kathleen Brindley

This is the story of my life as a young girl following Hannibal and his army from Carthage in North Africa to Iberia, and then over the Alps toward Rome. I never reached Rome, but then neither did Hannibal. I left him after the battle of Trebbia, taking with me his last remaining elephant, Obolus, and my friend, the slave girl Tin Tin Ban Sunia. This book recounts the first month of our long journey.

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Isaac Strong

In this book, we have hand-picked the most sophisticated, unanticipated, absorbing (if not at times crackpot!), original and musing book reviews of "Elephant Girl: A Human Story." Don't say we didn't warn you: these reviews are known to shock with their unconventionality or intimacy. Some may be startled by their biting sincerity; others may be spellbound by their unbridled flights of fantasy. Don't buy this book if: 1. You don't have nerves of steel. 2. You expect to get pregnant in the next five minutes. 3. You've heard it all.

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Henriette Gyland

A quest for vengeance brings a man and woman together in “a superb romantic thriller” (Single Titles). When Helen Stephens was only five years old, she witnessed her mother’s murder. Rejected by her extended family, she was handed over to child services—where she grew up hard, learning to fight for herself and to trust no one. So when the man who killed her mother is let out of jail, Helen swears to make him pay. The outcast son of a notorious gangster, Jason Moody runs a halfway house, desperate to distance himself from his father’s violent world. But when Helen shows up on his doorstep, he decides to dig into her past, and risks upsetting some very dangerous people. As Helen begins to question the motive behind her mother’s death, Jason becomes determined to protect her. But Helen is getting too close to someone who will stop at nothing to keep the truth hidden . . .

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Charley Brindley

This is the story of my life as a young girl following Hannibal and his army from Carthage in North Africa to Iberia, and then over the Alps toward Rome. I never reached Rome, but then neither did Hannibal. I left him after the battle of Trebbia, taking with me his last remaining elephant, Obolus, and my friend, the slave girl Tin Tin Ban Sunia. This book recounts the first month of our long journey.