Annie O’Sullivan was abducted and held hostage for over a year by a psychopath control freak trying to create his own family at an isolated cabin in t...moreAnnie O’Sullivan was abducted and held hostage for over a year by a psychopath control freak trying to create his own family at an isolated cabin in the mountains. He not only abused her sexually and physically but also psychologically, keeping her locked in the cabin and scheduling everything, even her visits to the bathroom.
We hear the story from Annie’s point of view as she talks to her therapist. As she recounts her abduction, captivity, and eventual escape, the story she tells is not only compelling but is also quite disturbing. Now home, she wonders if she will ever be able to readjust and overcome the paranoia that forces her to sleep in the security of her closet at night.
The reader is drawn into the story quite effectively. I felt like I was there, sometimes as the detached therapist but sometimes as Annie herself. Some of the scenes were so disturbing I wanted to go shower and get clean, myself, afterward.
“Why me?” is the questions many victims ask. Was it coincidence? Was it just random? Through the course of her therapy sessions Annie discovers the horror is not over and that the truth might be more than she can bear.
The last couple chapters, just when you were wondering how the story was going to end, kept me up way past bed time.
These adventures of a young girl in the Wisconsin ‘wilderness’ make for a great read. It is hard today to imagine Wisconsin being considered ‘the west...moreThese adventures of a young girl in the Wisconsin ‘wilderness’ make for a great read. It is hard today to imagine Wisconsin being considered ‘the west’ let alone ‘wilderness’. The strength of spirit it must have required to make a home and raise a family in the wilderness is unimaginable. This ‘American’ spirit is embodied in our young heroine, Caddie Woodlawn, as she matures from a tomboy to a young woman; without losing her self-reliant and independent streak. As father of three daughters, I appreciated the ‘talk’ that Caddie’s father gave her near the end of the book:
It’s a strange thing, but somehow we expect more of girls than of boys. It is the sisters and wives and mothers, you know, Caddie, who keep the world sweet and beautiful. What a rough world it would be if there were only men and boys in it, doing things in their rough way! A woman’s task is to teach them gentleness and courtesy and love and kindness. It’s a big task, too, Caddie—harder than cutting trees or building mills or damming rivers. It takes nerve and courage and patience, but good women have those things. The have them just as much as the men who build bridges and carve roads through the wilderness. A woman’s work is something fine and noble to grow up to, and it is just as important as a man’s. But no man could ever do it so well.
Don’t imagine that this book is only for girls! The stories and adventures will appeal to both boys and girls. I highly recommend this book to young readers, especially those who enjoy the Little House on the Prairie stories or the feisty Anne of Green Gables.(less)
This is quite an odd story about odd people. Each character’s life was turned upside down by the run-away success of the Hayseed books but we are give...moreThis is quite an odd story about odd people. Each character’s life was turned upside down by the run-away success of the Hayseed books but we are given evidence that all of them, with the possible exception of Luke, were involved in dysfunctional relationships prior to the success of the series. The celebrity status and money just exacerbated the already present symptoms.
Charles Elton, the author, says the inspiration for this book was Christopher Robin Milne, son of A.A. Milne and inspiration for Christopher Robin of Winnie-the-Pooh fame. Christopher Milne is said to have hated the fame his father's books brought him and Elton sought to retell that idea in a modern context. A similar story line is the basis of The Unwritten, a recent American comic book series by Mike Carey.
I also want to give a caution for young readers or those buying for young readers. I am sure there is nothing in the story that they have not read or thought about, but the brief sexual content seemed so gratuitous and unnecessary that I wondered why the author added it.
So, if you want to read a study in dysfunctional relationships, this is your book. I wondered at times why I was still reading it. Maybe it is a sense of voyeurism, maybe it is just hoping the story was going somewhere.
Only 191 pages, and maybe not many more sentences. In his final days, while confined to a bed with family all around, George’s life begins to scroll t...moreOnly 191 pages, and maybe not many more sentences. In his final days, while confined to a bed with family all around, George’s life begins to scroll through his memory. But not just his, his father’s memories also start to meld into George’s memories, passing back and forth between them in a mixed stream of consciousness.
I found a couple paragraphs that I had the kids attempt to read. Many sentences were more than a half page long, spliced with commas, I suppose trying to paint a picture that I just was not seeing. The 'best' sentence started on page 180 and finished on page 182, even throwing two words, vastation, scurf, and intaglio, that I had to look up. (They will be my ‘vocabulary words’ for the next 3 days.)
I am guessing I am just not up to reading this ‘high’ literary stuff.