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Publisher's Summary

For listeners of Room and The Glass Castle, an astonishing memoir of one woman rising above an unimaginable childhood.

Maude Julien's parents were fanatics who believed it was their sacred duty to turn her into the ultimate survivor - raising her in isolation, tyrannizing her childhood, and subjecting her to endless drills designed to "eliminate weakness". Maude learned to hold an electric fence for minutes without flinching and to sit perfectly still in a rat-infested cellar all night long (her mother sewed bells onto her clothes that would give her away if she moved). She endured a life without heat, hot water, adequate food, friendship, or any kind of affectionate treatment.

But Maude's parents could not rule her inner life. Befriending the animals on the lonely estate as well as the characters in the novels she read in secret, young Maude nurtured in herself the compassion and love that her parents forbid as weak. And when, after more than a decade, an outsider managed to penetrate her family's paranoid world, Maude seized her opportunity.

By turns horrifying and magical, The Only Girl in the World is a story that will grip you from the first minute and leave you spellbound, a chilling exploration of psychological control that ends with a glorious escape.

©2017 Maude Julien (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"A disturbing, engrossing memoir.... A startling testament of survival." (Kirkus)
"This is not the umpteenth book about a miraculously saved victim. It is much more, and much better.... One of the most fascinating things about this memoir is the extraordinary resistance Maude developed...her ability to create a world for herself." (Le Journal du Dimanche)
"A harrowing yet achingly beautiful tale of a girl imprisoned by her brutal, fanatic family, but whose yearning for wonder and love ultimately drives her toward the improbable light of the world.... The Only Girl in the World is a story of resilience unlike any I have ever read." (Mira Bartók, author of the National Book Critics Circle Award Winner The Memory Palace)

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Disturbing

This was disturbing but well written. I’d love to hear more explanation of what was actually mentally wrong with her father. It feels a bit voyeuristic because it’s listening to hours of torture and brainwashing. It is definitely worth the time to hear this strong woman’s story.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Incredible story!

One of the best memoirs I have ever read. Perfect narration!
I would like to know more about the demented father. Perhaps another book will be written.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Devastating and Brilliant

Heartbreaking story but brilliantly written and read. Highly recommend if you enjoy being immersed and emotional.

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Unbelievable story

First time writing a review but this book deserves it. This story is unbelievable, I couldn’t stop listening and was soooo sad when it was over. My favorite type of books are memoirs so if you like them too you should buy it.

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Difficult to Express How Much I Recommend This Boo

Would you listen to The Only Girl in the World again? Why?

I would listen to this book again - if only to try and understand how Maude Julien is able to put us so firmly into her shoes, make us feel everything she feels, and then rescue us with her own courage before I am exhausted and terrified.

What did you like best about this story?

I apologize for the following ramble:

This story is incredible, not just because of its poignant writing, provocative situations, and extensive depth, but how even as I describe it, there is little I can say to express the life the author has lived.

In The Only Girl in the World, we are transported into the mind of a little girl, her emotions and her thoughts conveyed with great clarity and vision. Her telling is simple and direct, but creates situations that will make you feel the incredible pain, anger, confusion, and fear she does.

Maude Julien successfully dances on an incredible line of putting the audience as both child and observer. As we are older than the narrator, I find myself forcing my mind away from the young narrative in order to imagine the perspectives of the others in her life, which Julien aptly describes with her striking descriptions and dialogue.

We watch a child mature under oppressive manipulation with incredible strength.

I listen as I am let to make my own decisions on every family member and outsider that crosses this girl's path, and am overjoyed with her as she escapes, not with a brilliant escape or violent crash - but with pure determination. It takes my breath away.

Which character – as performed by Elisabeth Rodgers – was your favorite?

Elisabeth Rodgers is a brilliant narrator - she characterizes ever person perfectly. Minute changes in her inflection and tone make distinct personalities that never once seem out of place. When I hear the Father - I heard Elisabeth Rodger's version, so distinctly, even after it is over. Her way of showing Maude Julien's inner thoughts are full of subtle emotion, perfect in every situation.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened to it in 2 days. It was amazing.