Now, in this courageous memoir, Elissa Wall tells the incredible story of how she emerged from the confines of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) and helped bring one of America's most notorious criminals to justice. Offering a child's perspective on life in the FLDS, Wall discusses her tumultuous youth, explaining how her family's turbulent past intersected with her strong will and identified her as a girl who needed to be controlled through marriage. Detailing how Warren Jeffs's influence over the church twisted its already rigid beliefs in dangerous new directions, Wall portrays the inescapable mind-set and unrelenting pressure that forced her to wed despite her repeated protests that she was too young.
Once she was married, Wall's childhood shattered as she was obligated to follow Jeffs's directives and submit to her husband in "mind, body, and soul." With little money and no knowledge of the outside world, she was trapped and forced to endure the pain and abuse of her loveless relationship. Yet even in those bleak times, she retained a sliver of hope that one day she would find a way out, and one snowy night that came in the form of a rugged stranger named Lamont Barlow. Their chance encounter set in motion a friendship and eventual romance that gave her the strength she needed to break free from her past and sever the chains of the church. But though she was out of the FLDS, Wall would still have to face Jeffs---this time in court.
©2008 Elissa Wall; (P)2008 Tantor
It's too bad the narrator is terrible because I really was interested in this story. Thankfully Audible let me return it. I couldn't even make it through the first part. Thank you Audible for your good customer service and easy return!
An abridged version would've been better. There is too much detail for such a simple story.
The narrator adopts a treacly, pleading tone throughout. It serves the character, but it gets old. I could barely force myself to listen to the first seven and a half hours, and Wall STILL had not left Warren Jeffs.
The problem is not with the characters but with the length. The narrator's whimpering tone would've been tolerable at six hours.
The author's portrait of Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints is damning. There aren't enough years left in his life to punish him for his crimes.
The narrator of this audio book was awful. I almost did not finish because the sound of her voice was so annoying.
I was sucked into this story from the very beginning. It was painful to listen to, but I couldn't stop. My heart was broken for Elissa, but gratified when things worked out for her. I felt triumph when Warren Jeffs was convicted, even though I had followed this story when it was really happening and knew how it would end. He is an evil, despicable man. Message to Elissa: YOU GO, GIRL!!! I am so proud of your courage and determination. I pray you are having a happy life.
The only drawback of this book was the narrator. I did not find her as bad as a lot of reviewers did, but by the end of the book, I had grown tired of her whiny voice, her inappropriate inflections and her too careful pronunciations. I think she has the potential of being a good narrator, but she has a few things to overcome first.
The narrator was very melodramatic. At times I wanted to stop listening and it distracted from the drama and message of the story. WAY overdone. I kept listening because the story was very interesting and I'm glad I did.
I thought the story is interesting and a great insight into the religious cult. I wasn't really surprised that the women were treated so badly because of some of the recent stories about Warren Jeffs and his group. What I was surprised about was how much Ellisa got away with; sneaking off to Vegas, smoking, etc. I agree with the other reviews that the narration was very annoying.
I doubt the average American has any clue that there are such large communities within the USA where people are so totally dominated. Listening to the reality of FLDS life under Warren Jeff's brings tales of the Taliban to mind.
What a sad and horrific personal story Ms Wall shares in this book. It is almost impossible to comprehend that women and children are no more than chattel, and that families are formed and torn asunder at the whim of a sect leader. A society of people where schooling is stopped at the 8th grade (or before), where girls as young as 12 are expected to marry and have sex with men often old enough to be their fathers or grandfathers, where healthcare and prenatal care are not provided -- .hard to believe this is happening in this century, let alone here in America.
When the FLDS compound was raided and the media showed children being torn from mothers I'm sure many, like me, thought it was wrong. Now I think the women, too, should be taken into custody. Certainly no child should be allowed to live in these communities. Every child deserves an education, and the chance to grow to adulthood without being subjugated into what amounts to slavery. Whatever good the FDLS have in their society is erased by the reality of the suffering and mind control.
The content of this book is riveting. The narration, as many others have pointed out, is atrocious. Are there no quality controls in the recording studio? One would expect a producer to stop the reader and command her to read the pages without the incessant simpering and whining. I gave the performance one star, but only because a minus stars is not an option.
The narration is so bad that this book is impossible to listen to. Based on the first hour, the story is very poorly written and lacking in content anyway. Seriously, don't waste a credit!
The story is interesting, disturbing and compelling. Elissa Wall's portrait of growing up in the smothering confines of the FLDS is fascinating and horrifying.
I agree with the other reviews, though, that the book is spoiled by the narration. The narrator has a terrible cadence and rhythm -- she reads as if she is looking at only a few words at a time and is completely unfamiliar with whatever is coming next on the page. Her harration is so poor it's distracting. She pauses to take a breath in all the wrong places and creates phrases where there should be continuity. She does sound like a first grade teacher reading picture books to young children. This is the first narrator I have ever encountered whose work I absolutely will not purchase again.
Her high and breathy voice is appropriate for the revelations about Elissa's childhood, but she has no emotional range and all the characters sound the same. She also mispronounces words in places, which is even more irritating. This book would be absolutely first rate with a different narrator.
It is absolutely shocking that these types of crimes are committed against women and children in today's America under the guise of "religious freedom". Why is there a public outcry against what happens to women in the middle east and yet this goes on right in our own backyard? "Stolen Innocence" is a riveting tale of one young woman's childhood growing up in the cult-like Fundamental Latter Day Saints sect (FLDS) and the brainwashed servitude it expects of the women and children under its control who are allowed no say in their own lives. A shocking and sadly appalling true story.
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