The Only Girl in the World by Maude Julian. Published by Little, Brown

It never ceases to amaze me how cruel humans can be, and in this memoir, Julian recounts the nightmare she lived every day growing up with a dangerously disturbed father and a weak and terrified mother. The little family, mother, father and child live in an isolate house in the country, giving the author no chance to make friends, no way to contact neighbors for help. She is systematically tortured by such routines as a “Meditation on Death” where she is left alone in a dark cellar and told not to move or to speak. If she opens her mouth, the rats and spiders will crawl inside her and eat her from the inside out. Her food is allowed to go stale before she is allowed to eat it. Life has no pleasure, and Julian exists merely as a possession of her parents, theirs to do whatever they wished. This is a disturbing, but remarkable story of survival and resilience that will be compared to the Glass Castle. Harrowing

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