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I'm Nobody: My Mother Said It; I No Longer Believe It

4.47  ·  Rating Details ·  118 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
As sixteen-year-old Erma Steppe stood in a one-room apartment over a bar in Columbus, Ohio, her mother said to her, "You are nobody." With no money, no clothes, and a rumbling stomach, Erma retreated into herself as her angry and intoxicated mother continued a familiar rant. Erma had always been her victim.

In her poignant autobiography, Erma Steppe shares her heartbreaking
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 2nd 2011 by iUniverse, Incorporated (first published November 2nd 2010)
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  • I'm Nobody by Erma Steppe
    I'm Nobody: My Mother Said It; I No Longer Believe It
    Release date: Jan 02, 2011
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    Availability: 10 copies available, 740 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Sep 25 - Dec 08, 2016

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    Format: Print Book

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    Erma Steppe I'm not sure about what you are saying, but I am sorry your heart is broken. I would ask my children why they are saying this. It seems you love them…moreI'm not sure about what you are saying, but I am sorry your heart is broken. I would ask my children why they are saying this. It seems you love them and I would think that where there is love things can be worked out. I do wish you the very best. Thanks for the question and sorry I can't answer it.
    Thanks Erma(less)

    Community Reviews

    (showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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    Erma Steppe
    Jan 19, 2014 Erma Steppe rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
    I started this book as a journal because I was dealing with continual rejection from my mother. I put my memories and heartaches on paper and there was enough pain and suffering to complete a book. I was emotionally, physically, and sexually abused throughout my childhood. This memoir is my story of survival. My hope is for adults to recognize and respond to any child who encounters bullying or is a victim of any form of abuse.
    Sep 04, 2011 Terri rated it it was amazing
    I haven't stopped thinking about this book since I finished reading it. It's an amazing story of someones life that had every reason & every opportunity to never be more than what she grew up in, but her will and determination lead her down a different path. Although she may be still coming to terms with her pain, her story has the ability to change many lives or at least their outlook on their own lives. I have recommended this book to everyone I know.
    ‘Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me; my LORD has forgotten me.” Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.’ Isaiah 49:14-15

    All mothers are not created equal. In I’m Nobody, Erma Steppe describes a mother who far surpasses the Scriptural maternal forgetfulness and neglect described by the Prophet Isaiah. And yet it wasn’t the great atrocities committed by Erma’s mother, her numerous boyfriends, husbands, vari
    Susie Spizzirro
    Sep 17, 2016 Susie Spizzirro rated it it was amazing
    A good read. I read it in one sitting. Difficult to put down once you start reading. A book abt. cruel life struggles and ones desire to be love by her mother. A strength unbelievable for a small child and later as a teen, to continualy strive for love and understanding. How many of us have walked a similar path?

    Merged review:

    I'm Nobody written by Erma Steppe follows closely the path of life this woman was given as a child, as a teenager and as she began to make her own path as a young wife and
    David Gallagher
    Jul 12, 2012 David Gallagher rated it really liked it
    I've never won a giveaway before, so I'm thankful I did with this book.

    I wish there were half stars, because this book is a 3.5 for me. Currently, I don't have the heart to give it a 3.

    I'm particularly critical when it comes to books that are autobiographies and/or memoirs. The information age and the internet has made us all writers, and unfortunately, so many stories of those being written are not worth being read.

    That doesn't happen here however. A complete page-turner, with the author's vo
    Feb 28, 2012 Sharnie rated it it was amazing
    I was fortunate enough to receive this book as a part of Good Reads Giveaways, and I'm very glad I did.

    I began reading this book earlier today as a break from study, I was unable to stop reading.

    It tells the story of Erma who since she was a toddler found herself in and out of children's homes and foster care due to abuse of a physical, sexual and emotional nature as well as heartbreaking neglect, all the while dreaming of attaining her mother's love.

    The true strength of this novel comes not f
    Ms Thraxan
    Jun 04, 2012 Ms Thraxan rated it it was amazing
    If I can recommend any book over the years I would say that this is it. This book has hit me on an emotional and intellectual level.
    It is a book that has haunted me, it's taken me a while to try and even formulate a review on the book due to the impression it has made. Where do I start? This book sits with me because the author is brutally honest about what happened to them, how they felt and how they still feel. It is not a book about self-pity. It is simply Ms. Steppe telling her own story and
    Dec 04, 2012 Hollysteppe rated it it was amazing
    Very heartbreaking story of a young women that had a very hard life. This book is truly motivational and a must read for everyone!
    Dec 02, 2013 Wanda rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: giveaway, first-reads
    I received a copy via Goodreads Giveaway and I express my sincere appreciation to the author Erma Steppe for giving me the opportunity. It was with a heavy heart that I read Erma's life story. I chose not to review her book as I would with all the others as to do so would be unfair and judgmental. I cannot put a rating on someone else's life, only I can rate my own. Erma Steppe endured unimaginable abuse and suffering at the hands of the adults that were meant to protect her. She and her sibling ...more
    Nov 06, 2013 Wendy rated it it was amazing
    Recommended to Wendy by: Goodreads Giveaways
    Shelves: memoir, contemporary
    "I'm Nobody My Mother Said;I No Longer Believe It" by Erma Steppe which I won from Goodreads Giveaways is a poignant and heartbreaking memoir about a woman crippled all her life by the sexual abuse, torment, and lack of parental love she suffered as a child. Crushed by a lack of self-esteem, this courageous and gentle woman struggles to overcome the nightmares of her past, doting affection on her children and loving a domineering husband while still clinging to the hope that one day her mother w ...more
    Eddie Laudermilt
    Nov 17, 2013 Eddie Laudermilt rated it it was amazing
    I'm Nobody, written by Erma Steppe is a real life history of Erma Steppe. A story filled with history of the social work programs for the children in need in the 40s, 50s and 60s. A history of the court systems and the school systems in dealing with children living in severe poverty and extreme cruelty on a daily basis.
    Erma's story goes on to present day seeking only to hear these words, "I love you" from a mother who has no understanding of what these words mean.
    As a part time teacher, I bel
    Teresa Laudermilt
    Nov 16, 2013 Teresa Laudermilt rated it it was amazing
    I read this book when it first came out. a true story of a little girl living with a cruel, unloving mother. Erma endured years of physical, emotional,sexual and deviant behaviours from her mother and her mothers' boyfriends. A child with the added responsibilities of her little sister and little brothers.
    I'm Nobody, contains legal documentation of when and how a friend finally put a stop to the mothers' rule of Erma and her siblings lives only to be tossed into another world of childrens hom
    Amanda Chalifoux
    Apr 11, 2012 Amanda Chalifoux rated it it was amazing
    This sounds book sounds so good, but I'm glad from the title you were able to overcome it & it def. makes me wanna read more. And I think no one should go through that stuff, your mom but you through. I hate violence of any kind.
    Laura Comley
    Nov 15, 2013 Laura Comley rated it it was amazing
    WOW! This heartwrenching autobiography is a mustread for anyone who has been abused, knows someone who has been abused, or works with someone who has been abused. In otherwords,EVERYONE. Everyone should have a copy of this book.
    Oct 31, 2013 Courtney marked it as to-read
    This book is a must read for everyone, I simply could not put it down.
    Such an inspirational and insightful tale into a woman's cruel life. Truly amazing.
    Dec 13, 2012 Annie rated it it was amazing
    This was a heart breaking book. A quick read too. She writes with honesty. I hope she goes on to let go of the past and have a bright future.
    I just received the book! Thanks to goodreads and Erma Steppe for providing it!...Review forthcoming!
    Jae Park
    Dec 02, 2015 Jae Park rated it it was amazing
    I read this book extremely quickly, and for two reasons. The first being the fact that wasn't a super long book, and the second reason was because it was one helluva good book. "I'm Nobody" is a gritty, real and no holds barred look at an abused neglected child's life.
    The main character and author, Erma, tells the story of her life as a small child being raised by alcoholics, or as she puts it, "mean drunks." She and her siblings suffer abuse after abuse, such as hunger, filth, beatings, and
    May 19, 2012 Adelaide rated it really liked it
    Shelves: non-fiction, memior
    I'm glad I used my gift certificate to buy this book. I've started reading it as soon as I received the book from the mail, and found it really hard to put down.

    I give I'm Nobody: My Mother Said It; I No Longer Believe It a rating of 4.5/5. It's not one of my favourites, but I definitely really liked it. Simply because of how Erma's story drawn me in so easily.

    (view spoiler)
    Oct 31, 2013 Catherine rated it it was amazing
    I'm Nobody: My Mother Said It; I No Longer Believe It
    I was sent this book by good - and I would like to warn people not to read this unless they are prepared to be reduced to tears.
    I find it incomprehensible that any mother could treat a child so, and Erma looks such a dear little girl!
    The story is told very straightforwardly, without any traces of self-pity, and is heart-rending at times. It is incredible that a child who has been so abused still yearns desperately for her mother's l
    Lucy Leblanc
    Jun 27, 2012 Lucy Leblanc rated it really liked it
    I received this book about a month ago from Good Reads and put it aside as I was already reading two books at the time. Once I picked it up today I couldn't stop reading. Erma Steppe shares her heartbreaking story in a way that makes the reader feel as if they are having a conversation with her. From the Introduction right through to the Epilogue, Erma had me hanging on every word. Written simply and honestly, "I'm Nobody" is Erma's haunting memories of her abusive childhood and her journey thro ...more
    Jul 06, 2012 Deandra rated it it was amazing
    Out of all the giveaways I had won, this book was the first that I actually wanted to read.
    The cover and the print saying "I'm nobody" craved that I should read it.
    I read the book expecting nothing but entertainment, like any normal book, but I ended up getting so much more out of it than imagined.
    I learned that forgiveness is a valuable lesson that no one learns easy. What ermas mom did to her was inexcusable and probably something I wouldn't have forgave her for, so for you Erma Steppe, I admi
    Won the book from Goodreads First-Read Giveaway.


    What is a mother?

    According to, a mother is a "female parent". And what is a parent? According to the same source, a parent is a "protector or guardian". So, if a mother couldn't protect her offsprings, does she still deserve to be called a "mother"?

    As a toddler, Erma was neglected. Not only denied the love and care from the only parent she knew, her mother, she had to endure physic
    Mary Hosmar
    Nov 18, 2013 Mary Hosmar rated it liked it
    Shelves: first-reads
    This is a disturbing and thought provoking book. Erma is told over and over again by her mother that she is a nothing. She has written this book in an effort to make her story known and possibly to exorcise some demons. At the end of the book she lets the reader know how successful that exercise has been.
    The style of writing takes some getting used to. It is written very simply, almost in the manner of a child listing a series of events. At first glance there seems to little if any emotion invol
    Nov 02, 2013 Julia rated it it was amazing
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Apr 12, 2016 Carmen rated it really liked it
    Shelves: first-reads
    Thank you for the Goodreads win!

    This memoir was a page turning. Very emotionally captured and seems as if I was watching scenes from a movie than just reading a book. Towards the ending though, I felt the story was a bit rushed, like Ms. Steppe just wanted the story to end.

    There are so many children out there just like Erma and her siblings. Some are fortunate enough to be fostered into loving families, other's adopted to families that actually love and care for them. But others like Erma are n
    Oct 25, 2015 Annie rated it really liked it
    Erma Steppe's life story will break your heart. She endured what no child should ever have to survive. Erma grew up in Ohio with a mother who could hardly be called a mother. Her mother barely provided the basic essentials for life. Even with so little to give her mother had several more children. Erma's mother was more interested in the men in her life than her children. I can't even begin to understand that thought process. She blamed her problems on everyone else but herself. She was a poison ...more
    Lucille Spizzirro
    Dec 01, 2013 Lucille Spizzirro rated it it was amazing
    Excellent book. When things get tough, the tough get going. Despite a terribly hard life Erma proved that you can still come out on top. Nothing prevented her from getting what she wanted. The book was extremely easy to read, very compelling. Your beginning is your beginning; but the end is what you make of if. It may not be easy but with a little determination and hard work the end results can be wonderful.

    I feel this book should be in a requirement in all middle schools. Perhaps someone will
    Nancy Luebke
    Nov 05, 2015 Nancy Luebke rated it really liked it
    Shelves: goodreads
    This was a very heartfelt and revealing telling of what many children are going through.This woman's telling of her life as she remembers it, touched me in many ways that I find hard to describe. This is not a story for the under 18 age group. Erma tastefully recounted many of the things she went through. No child should have to go through what Erma and her siblings and even her cousins went through in their young lives. I applaud Erma for the courage to reveal these things though her mother wou ...more
    Steve Wilson
    Jul 31, 2012 Steve Wilson rated it really liked it
    Received this book courtesy of Goodreads First Reads

    The subject matter of the book is disturbing (child abuse, abandonment, foster homes, alcoholism etc). Certainly not the type of book to pick up for pure enjoyment and pleasure. Regardless, this is the type of book which everyone should read from time to time to get a first hand appreciation of what the victims have to endure, cope and survive. The author's experiences are vividly portrayed in this book and I admire her courage for openly putti
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    My name is Erma Steppe.
    I grew up w/a mother who was an alcoholic w/no desire to be a mother to her children. She gave birth to 6 children and never gave us another thought.
    I have spent the majority of my life waiting to hear my mother say," I love you". She never has uttered those words.
    I was abused, every possible form of abuse. I have several learning disabilities.
    During my lifetime to da
    More about Erma Steppe...

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