The Little Prisoner

The Little Prisoner : How a Childhood Was Stolen and a Trust Betrayed

4.01 (3,092 ratings by Goodreads)
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An inspirational true story of a 4 year old girl who fell into the power of a man whose evil knew no bounds. She encountered terrifying mental and physical torture from her psychopathic stepfather for a period of 17 years until she managed to break free, her spirit still unbroken Jane Elliott fell into the hands of her sadistic and brutal stepfather when she was 4 years old. Her story is both inspiring and horrifying. Kept a virtual prisoner in a fortress-like house and treated to daily and ritual abuse, Jane nonetheless managed to lose herself in a fantasy world which would keep her spirit alive. Equally as horrifying as the physical abuse Jane suffered, were the mental games her tormentor played -- getting his kicks from seeing Jane humiliated, confused, crushed and defeated at every turn. Her family and neighbourhood were all terrified of Jane's stepfather so no-one held out a rescuing hand. So Jane had to help herself. When she was 21 she ran away with her baby daughter and boyfriend to start a new life in hiding. Several years on she found the courage to go to the police. A court case followed where Jane bravely stood up against the unrepentant aggressor she so feared. He was jailed for 17 years. Jane's family took his more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 135 x 216mm | 306g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0007196105
  • 9780007196104

Author information

Jane Elliott is a pseudonym. She first decided to tell her story to the police after taking inspiration from Dave Pelzer's powerful memoir, A Child Called It. She become convinced she should not remain a silent victim but act against the evil stepfather who had kept her a virtual prisoner for so many more

Review Text

Harrowing portrait of a young girl's brutal abuse at the hands of her stepfather.After an evaluation by social services determining neglect, Elliott (a pseudonym) and her brother were taken away from their heavy-drinking father and unfaithful mother to be placed in foster care. Limited to seeing her children on supervised visits, their mother continued an affair with Richard, a moody, shifty teenager who swiftly assumed the role of stepfather; he was 18 when the author was returned to her parent's custody. Elliott's beloved brother lucked out and was left to be adopted by a respectable family; her mother bragged about manipulating authorities with a bribe stipulating that the couple "only wanted the girl" back. Stepfather Richard, prone to angry rages, hated Elliott on sight and insisted she and the rest of the family (he and her mother eventually had four sons) keep the house spotless, or corporal punishment would follow. The abuse quickly ballooned to catastrophic proportions. Richard spat in her food, viciously beat her, tried to drown her, suffocated her and threatened her with kitchen knives. The author's mother, clearly aware of the situation, never objected, fearing for her own personal safety. Attempts to run away at age six were met with increased tyranny, psychological torture and humiliation that continued well into Elliott's adolescence, a physical state that only seemed to amplify her stepfather's relentless sexual exploitation. Readers will breathlessly whip through Elliott's explicit, page-turning chronicle, rooting for her to reach some sort of asylum. But even as a young adult with a boyfriend and children of her own, she would see many more years of maltreatment, including the violent backlash from other members of the family after she leaked her story to police. Though Elliott's stepfather was eventually sentenced to 15 years in prison, questions remain as to how someone carries on with life after such an atrocity has left the scars of abuse deeply embedded in both mind and body.Shockingly graphic, disturbingly powerful. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

3,092 ratings
4.01 out of 5 stars
5 39% (1,208)
4 32% (992)
3 22% (670)
2 5% (163)
1 2% (59)
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