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Stolen Innocence Audiobook

Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs

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Publisher's Summary

In September 2007, a packed courtroom in St. George, Utah, sat hushed as Elissa Wall, the star witness against polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs, gave captivating testimony of how Jeffs forced her to marry her first cousin at age fourteen. This harrowing account proved to be the most compelling evidence against Jeffs, showing the harsh realities of this closed community and the lengths to which Jeffs went in order to control the sect's women.

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (568 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jennifer Halifax, NS, Canada 10-01-09
    Jennifer Halifax, NS, Canada 10-01-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Book, Terrible Narration"

    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.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-29-17 Member Since 2017
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    8
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    "Powerful and Moving!"

    Great detail about the suffering caused by Warren Jeffs. Jail is too good for this monster! Engrossing story of human triumph told so well that you can feel you're there. Awful narration. Almost couldn't stand to listen to the narrator's attempts at a little girl's voice but the story made it worth enduring. Please rerecord with a better narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dianna Jones 04-10-17 Member Since 2013
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    "such an amazing book!"

    I couldn't put this book down. what this young lady had happen to her should never happen to anyone. God bless her.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. L. Sapp Virginia 03-22-17
    E. L. Sapp Virginia 03-22-17 Member Since 2012

    vtcheme

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Heartwrenching Story, Poor Reader"

    The story is amazing. Any book that causes me to feel fear, anger, and joy for the author is a good one, and this one made me feel all that and more. Obviously, I knew how it ended (I remember reading about the raid in Texas that she discusses in the Epilogue), but that didn't make me wonder how we would get to that point.

    The reader, however, left a great deal to be desired. As others have said, I suspect the reader used a childish tone to simulate the child-author. (The author is in her 20s when the book is written, but much of the book takes place when she is a child.) Sadly, though, it just sounds cheap.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret 10-29-16
    Margaret 10-29-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great"

    sure gave me something to think about. God bless her for helping others. THANK YOU

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kacie Moss 09-30-16
    Kacie Moss 09-30-16 Member Since 2015
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    10
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    "Hang in there."

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EBeautySue Utah, USA 03-22-16
    EBeautySue Utah, USA 03-22-16
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    "Very Compelling"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa Keating 03-18-16
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    "Story ruined by a bad narrator"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 02-13-16 Member Since 2014
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    51
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    "Fascinating story"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Billie D 12-10-15
    Billie D 12-10-15
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    "Story: Good not Great. Narration: Terrible"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    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.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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