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
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.
This was a little slow to start! When I first began listening I was bored and so I stopped listening for a while. When I came back to it I found the plot picked up and it was actually really good! All I can say is hang in there it will get better and then you can't stop!
This story is simply heartbreaking but truly amazing. the beginning is a bit jumbled and seems out of order and difficult to follow at times. However, it's understandable as I'm not sure I could recount my childhood in an easy time line either.
I am fascinated by Mormonism, the West, and the offshoots of this religion. I just finished Elissa's sister's book, "The Witness Wore Red", and wanted to learn more about Elissa's story. I will purchase the book from Amazon and hopefully be able to return my audible edition, because the narrator did this poor girl's story a horrible injustice. It's the same thing as "The Slave Across the Street"--the story is full of heart-wrenching drama, but the narrator destroys every moment of empathy by over-acting. She tries to speak like a shocked child throughout the whole thing. I get what she was going for, but she should have let Elissa's words speak for their self. This girl has been through so much, and now her own story has been contaminated by someone trying to be an actress.
The only thing I didnt like about this audiobook was the whiny/tearful portrayal of certain elements of the story. While I appreciate narrator getting into it, and acting out elements of it, and while I understood that the author at points described breaking into tears or sobs, the frequently whiny/tearful voice taken on by the narrator was, for me, extremely difficult to get through. If it had only happened once or twice, it would have been no big deal, but it was so frequent I found myself inwardly groaning and fast forwarding.
Overall through, fascinating story. This is just one of those that I prefer reading myself over listening to.
The Narrator, reading in a voice that - I'm having trouble deciding - is it 13-year-old affectation? or is it 84 year old grandma condescendingly reading to kindergartners? Whatever it is, it's bad.
The story its self is good. The pacing could have been better, there's a lot of time spent dwelling on little, irrelevant-to-the-story details, and the prose is elementary - but what would you expect from a woman who had negligible formal education, I suppose. The content is incredible; the specifics of what happened to her are horrifying; I don't want to downplay any of that - it just could have used more editing.
If I had friends that were interested in the topic, definitely yes.
The fact that the FLDS saw nothing wrong with "placing" these underage girls with these uninformed men. It's amazing to listen to the mindset of the people that don't want to go against their prophet. But I guess if that's all you know, you might follow it without question.
I really liked it. It added a voice to Elissa that gave some character to the storytelling. I know that some didn't like her narration but I actually liked the way she did it. You have to remember that she's portraying a very young lady who doesn't have much experience outside of her FLDS world. I think it was spot on.
More outrage at the fact that Allen Steed didn't get more jail time. I think that some want to believe that some of the FLDS are naive about the outside world. But a lot of them are aware of the need for them to hide the illegal things they do so that they don't get caught. I've never been in a cult so I have no idea how I would react either. So I can't judge them.
I really enjoyed how the book started from her childhood beginning and culminated with Jeffs being convicted. It gave a full story of some of the inner workings of the FLDS. It's still amazing how people can be convinced that their salvation is only going to be through this prophet.
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