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Girl in the Cellar

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Austria 2 March 1998, on her way to school, Natascha Kampusch 10 was abducted by Wolfgang Priklopil. More than 8 years later, 23 August 23 2006, she escaped from a cellar under a seemingly ordinary suburban home. How did she survive? What sort of woman had emerged? What kind of man was her abductor — and what demands had he made of her?

288 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2006

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About the author

Allan Hall

131 books17 followers
Reporter for UK Daily Mail and tabloids on crime, paranormal, history, and the unexplained.
Freelancer: Daily Mail, Daily Star, Daily Express, Observer, Daily Mirror, Daily Record, The Scotsman, The Age, Melbourne, Sunday Times, The Times, Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Mail on Sunday, Sunday People, Sunday Mirror, Sunday Express, Evening Standard, London, Daily Sport.
When based in Berlin worked for: Daily Mail - London, the Age - Melbourne,
Australia, the Scotsman - Edinburgh, New York Post NY. Formerly bureau chief for Britain’s biggest-selling papers – the Sun, then the Daily Mirror – NY.
NOT https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_H... 1929-2001 wine
http://www.allanhall.com/bio.html musician Selah

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5 stars
112 (14%)
4 stars
168 (21%)
3 stars
307 (39%)
2 stars
145 (18%)
1 star
46 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 74 reviews
Profile Image for Shahrun.
1,354 reviews23 followers
September 4, 2011
I found this book rather odd. I think that is because it was written and published very early, after Natascha's freedom and without her direct imput. It is also very repetative (I think to make the book long enough to publish). The authors used the same direct quotes to make the same point in various places in the book.

But it did provide me with a little more information than I knew, from hearing of the story on the news. It also made me very angry about the mistakes made in the search and police investigation. There were leads that had the poilce followed up on would have narrowed their search right down and most likly have ended her ordeal much earlier!

I am also very curious about exactly what went on during her captivity. The book hints that others may have been involved. Natascha aparently said that they went somewhere on the way to his house on the day she was knidnapped. And the supposed S&M angle. Bizare

And I can't believe that they were seen together, in public, towards the end, went skiing, shopping and stuff!

So after reading this book I did a quick search and very worringly found that Natascha's case is not so unique afterall. There are other cases of even longer captivity, serious sexual abuse and multiple births as a result! It makes me scared for all those who must still be captive.

Natascha has written a book of her ordeal. I would be interested to see what she has to say.
Profile Image for Read by Coco ✨.
268 reviews25 followers
December 1, 2018
Natascha endured over eight years of captivity, and while there is some disagreement about what actually happened in the house, her story still deserves to be told in a well formed and respectful manner, which this author didn't do at all. While the author didnt victim blame, they almost seemed to in a way idolise, or glamorise the captor. Honestly, it felt kinda uncomfortable.

I also have another bone to pick with this story. In Wolfgang's (the captor) backstory, Borderline Personality Disorder is brought up as maybe a reason why he felt the need to kidnap and imprison a child. Let me just be clear, HE WAS NEVER DIAGNOSED WITH BPD, so WHY is this author speculating that this (now dead) man has BDP and that it could be the reason he did this horrific thing. Why is BPD even being talked about or mentioned at all? This just further's the stigma that BPD sufferers are all crazy dangerous lunatics and should be feared. I have BPD, and we are not. I hate it when the disorder is brought up just for the sake of really driving home that "this person was crazy". It's shitty journalism, shitty writing, and just plain shitty.

Without the BPD thing i'd probably give it 2 stars because it was badly written, but the story is interesting. But with the BPD thing, i'm giving it 1 star. Because come on dude, theres no need for that. It's super offensive and hurtful to the people who actually have the disorder (WHICH THIS EVIL DUDE WASN'T DIAGNOSED WITH AT ALL).

So yeah... Maybe give this one a miss.
Profile Image for ♥ Marlene♥ .
1,687 reviews130 followers
May 30, 2008
Okay I did not know much at all about this story. Only that the victim is accused of loving to be the centre of attention in the media.
Did not know what happened, only that she was abducted.
Well this book did tell me a little bit. How she was kidnapped, how long she was there, but I find this all so weird.
Her behavior so crazy. I decided to search the Internet get to understand her, and afterwards I think the writers did explain her pretty good.
So weird, why did she lie about some stuff? Why did she not want to be with her parents after she finally had regained her parents. She seems to be a control freak and surrounds herself with people who oblige her every wish. Interesting book but this was all the authors could do because Natascha does not want to say anything negative about her abductor. it seems she cares more about the mother of her kidnapper, someone she never met then her own parents.

I finished reading this last night Saturday May 24-2008

Profile Image for Nikki Rouillet-Thrun.
287 reviews450 followers
July 18, 2022
So this is obviously a super heartbreaking, tragic thing to happen to someone and I may get nailed to the cross for this, but Natasha is also infuriating. I 100% understand that she was groomed, she was manipulated, she was abused and that will fuck up someone’s mind, but god damn. I mean….I guess get your money girl, but the whole being more concerned with signing deals and making money than healing the trauma is fucking weird.

The dude is a monster.

Overall, the book itself was just okay. It was basically a series of interviews and as has been stated the whole thing is really repetitive.
Profile Image for Summer.
137 reviews186 followers
August 13, 2018
A lot of people know this story. It's so disturbing you just can't wrap your brains around it. The only thing that bothered me with this book is, that it wasn't wrote from a victim's perspective.
Profile Image for April Barber.
147 reviews1 follower
February 17, 2016
This book was dreadful and boring. The story on it's own was really interesting. That it is a true story makes it sad for the person involved. The way it was put into this book just didn't do it justice though.

The book did not seem thoroughly researched, or very detailed with solid facts. It feels like a school paper, where the student pretty much just copy/pasted things they found online. Then, because it needed to be longer, they restated some of the things, in a different order and said by different people at different times. There seemed to be a lot of repeating. It is very journalistic writing, almost like you are reading a magazine article or a newspaper. A boring magazine or a boring, not well known paper.

I like reading current affairs/true crime stories, but this just didn't work for me.

You would be better off searching online about this story instead of picking up this book.
Profile Image for Ummu Auni.
513 reviews
August 24, 2010
I found this while in Manchaster. It intrigued me, plus the cheap price too. I'd been fascinated with the Natascha's story. Her ordeal is extraordinary, for someone who had been trapped underground for 8 years, she displays amazing extraordinary will and strength.

The write up does not focus on Natascha's ordeal in the cellar, but rather from newspapers, interviews with relevant personnel and her families. It's looking at two-sided coin. It's indeed quite difficult to pinpoint whether Natascha wanted only fame after she escaped from the cellar. But, from someone who had gone through as much as she is, it maybe extra difficult to cope with normal life. I pitied her, she had been brainwashed by her abductor saying that if she attempted to run away from him, he would do this this this. As much as I read the story from beginning to end, I still think that Natascha was indeed a victim.
Profile Image for Fishface.
3,070 reviews222 followers
January 24, 2016
A fast, intriguing read. As an "instant paperback" it necessarily skims over the top of this amazing story, but it covers the bases and leaves you wanting to know much, much more, even as the authors ask the public to leave poor Natascha alone, already. A great warm-up to my future reading of Natascha's own "3,096 Days."
Profile Image for Chloe Hynes.
49 reviews
February 5, 2020
Book 6 of 2020: “Girl in the Cellar”- Allan Hall and Michael Leidig. Before reading this book I didn’t really know much about what happened to Natasha Kampusch all I knew was that she was held captive in a cellar and escaped and that the public portrayed her as an attention seeker. This book was very factual and very informative and I learnt quite a lot about the Natasha Kampusch case like the fact that Natasha was seen in public with her kidnapper and nobody recognised her. In my opinion, Natasha is quite a strange character I understand that she went through a very disturbing and horrible experience and had Stockholm syndrome but I still find it very strange that she lied about what happened in the cellar and wouldn’t tell the police what actually happened to her as she wanted to protect Wolfgang’s mother. This book is written without Natasha’s input and is very repetitive. The repetition makes it quite boring in parts. This book has left me with so many unanswered questions and I’d love to read what Natasha has to say about her experience. This book has also left me feeling disturbed and sick at the fact that something so terrible can happen in broad daylight. I’d give this book 2⭐️
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lupurk.
817 reviews32 followers
February 10, 2022
Un libro molto interessante. Ammetto che non avevo mai sentito nulla di questa storia, benché sia recentissima e non abbia nemmeno la scusa dell'"ero piccola", ma mi era proprio sfuggita.
Il punto di vista dei due giornalisti è il più obiettivo possibile e tenta di mostrare (a mio avviso riuscendo benissimo nell'intento) come sia difficile giudicare da una parte il rapporto che si era instaurato tra la ragazza e il suo carceriere durante tutti quegli anni e dall'altra l'atteggiameno di Natascha nei confronti dei media e di chi la circonda ora che è uscita dall'incubo.
Per altri commenti:

December 14, 2019
Kniha, kterou jsem si chtěla dlouhou dobu přečíst, byla lehkým zklamáním. Očekávala jsem senzaci? Ano. Dočkala jsem se jí? Ne. V knize je uvedeno obrovské množství informací, některé jsou v knize uvedeny i 3x, a to doslova. Očekávala jsem detailnější příběhovou část. Nicméně na konci knihy mám z Nataši spíše negativní pocit i přesto, že si ani neumím představit, co prožila a jak tohle zvládla.
Dočteno spíše ze zdvorilosti a pro fajfku read ✔️
Profile Image for Robin.
38 reviews
April 28, 2020
VERY interesting and a great topic for discussion. 4 stars only because it was rather repetitive at times. It’s a story that leaves SO many unanswered questions. Both about the victim and her abductor. Questions we’ll probably never have the answers to. Fascinating story.
63 reviews2 followers
November 28, 2021
As other reviewers have mentioned the book is a bit repetitive. There is a lot of speculation about what could have happened. For a true crime novel it is worth a read however there are better books out there. I gave it two star and read it in the period of a couple of weeks.
Profile Image for samantha.
29 reviews
September 19, 2022
Felt like a lot of victim blaming. Like Natascha had a choice to leave the whole time.
She was held captive, she wasn't given the option of leaving. Then acting like she had sympathy for the creep, she had to adapt to her environment to survive for as long as she did with him.
June 6, 2022
I liked it a lot. Left me with a lot of questions and my mind wondering and wanting more. Grammar was a little difficult and the German names tripped me up but overall a good read!
Profile Image for Sharona.
1 review1 follower
January 23, 2022
Waargebeurd verhaal , heel indrukwekkend wat een 12 jarig meisje wel niet heeft mee gemaakt in de kelder. Na 8 jaar eindelijk ontsnapt uit de kelder.

Ik raad dit boek zeker aan je leest het zo weg aangezien je in het verhaal blijft hangen.
Profile Image for Ape.
1,677 reviews36 followers
December 28, 2011
I picked this up for "light" reading for kind of current affairs/true crime reading. I just feel sometimes that I should know more about what's going on in the world than I do. And this book certainly helps with that. It will tell you one thing, then repeat it several times throughout the rest of the book to make sure that you have remembered it! I'm sure that's not the reason why they've done it like that; it'll have more to do with the fact that they needed to bump this up to a book-length piece of writing, and also because of the style of writing it is. It's very journalistic writing, like you're reading a paper, nearing the tabloid style of writing. They say it's an impartial representation of the facts, but then you get these inserts repeated here there and everywhere about this innocent young girl who didn't know it was to be her last day of freedom, the last of an innocent childhood, whilst the evil man sat in his van with his demonic plans that he had been plotting for years. It was to be the beginning of his dream and the start of her nightmare.... ok, I'm not quoting directly from the book, but it does have moments when it goes into that mindset. The front cover is very manipulative as well. It's obviously aiming for that bookshelf in popular booksellers - true life stories of abused children, poverty childhoods etc etc

I certainly have a better understanding of the case and what happened, although there's a lot of gaps. I don't even know whether her own book would fill everything. Her business when she is released - all the media and the organising, the refussal to talk about certain things because it's private and irrelevant, and anyway, lets make plans for a charity to support battered women... it all screams that she's avoiding the issue and distracting herself from something awful that she can't even bare to think about. I suppose with something like this, where the criminal committed suicide, and you only have a messed up victim left, you're never going to get a completely impartial and total account of events. For starters, we'll never know what was going on in his head. She's been raised by one nasty man and contact with the media through tv and radio - I don't know where you'd begin trying to get your mind back together and trying to live a "normal" life after all of that. But apparently it can be done. They mention a Russian girl who was also kidnapped and locked up by a sadist for four years, and she's since moved on.

With all the criticism about the media, Natascha needing to step away from it all and get her life etc etc, this book is actually just a part of that as well. And I suppose we are too for having read it!

And the really sad part is that this isn't an isolated case. Lots of people get kidnapped and their lives taken away from that as if they're nothing more than livestock. And since Natascha's case there's been the Fritzels, which was, if you can imagine it, even worse. It's horrible what people think they have the right to do to other people.
Profile Image for Suspense Magazine.
569 reviews78 followers
April 24, 2010
As if carefully plotted by a master storyteller, picture the scene: its early morning and an innocent young girl is making her way to school. Maybe her backpack is slipping from the weight of her schoolbooks as she heads unenthusiastically towards her destination. She’s already focused on her day ahead and only momentarily distracted by the sight of an indistinct white van with a single occupant up ahead. It is close to the entrance of her school so she ignores that nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach, which urges her to cross the street, and carries on with her original path, straight into the arms of her abductor.

Regrettably, this chilling storyline did not develop from the vivid imagination of a great writer, but is all too true and was systematically carried out by a modern day monster. “Girl in the Cellar” is the detailed account of the incomprehensible case of Natascha Kampusch. The ten-year-old girl who was stolen from the streets as she made her way to school in March of 1998.

Not your typical true crime novel, “Girl in the Cellar” chronicles the myriad of missteps made by authorities during the almost decade long search for Natascha. If this horrifying situation had been a piece of fiction, the errors of judgment and sloppy police work would be almost comical. Only this wasn’t fiction and the mistakes had very real consequences as Natascha spent her formative years locked in a one room dungeon.

After the abduction, the natural course of life began to take hold and the worldwide media frenzy slowly died down on this subject. Only a few held the slim hope of Natascha’s safe return while others prepared for a different form of closure. No one could foresee what was to happen on August 23, 2006 when a waif of a woman, skin and hair dull from lack of sunlight and nutrients arrived at the police station stating that she was indeed eighteen-year-old Natascha Kampusch.

Though Hall and Leidig were unable to meet with Natascha face to face, this astonishing account is filled with intimate interviews with her family, authorities and those who had contact with the very real monster, Wolfgang Priklopil. While he took the coward’s way out—committing suicide upon her escape—questions to this day remain unanswered as Natasha, now quick tempered and with an understandably stunted maturity level, refuses to discuss many aspects of their relationship. As readers slide through the pages, Hall and Leidig successfully manage to return Natasha to her rightful position of innocent victim.
Profile Image for Trisha.
630 reviews49 followers
July 24, 2013
Het verhaal gaat over Natascha Kampusch, het meisje in Wenen dat 8 jaar heeft vastgezeten in een kelder na een ontvoering op 10 jarige leeftijd. Haar ontsnapping is wereldnieuws, maar ze vertelt niet het hele verhaal. Allan Hall en Michael Leidig vertellen het verhaal niet uit haar ogen, maar door middel van interviews en krantenartikelen om de onduidelijkheden in Kampusch verhaal proberen te ontrafelen. De heren geven echter al aan dat het verhaal geen duidelijkheid zal geven op vragen die Kampusch niet heeft beantwoord. Alleen zij zal de onduidelijkheden kunnen verklaren en duidelijk kunnen maken wat haar is gebeurt.
Kampusch heeft de regie over haar huidige leven en met de mensen die zij daarvoor nodig heeft. Zij besluit wat er naar buiten komt dus de kans is groot dat de vragen blijven bestaan.

Juist omdat het boek niet ingaat op de onduidelijkheden en omdat men alleen kan speculeren is het boek niet meer dan 3 sterren waard. Het geeft wel een beeld van het verhaal, maar belicht door een buitenstaander. Hall en Leidig geven duidelijk aan dat een juiste beeld alleen gemaakt kan worden door het volledige verhaal en dat er zolang Natascha dit niet naar buiten brengt er onduidelijkheden blijven.
Het boek werpt vragen en soms irritaties op over hoe het onderzoek is gebeurt. Hoe mensen Natascha behandeld hebben en nog steeds behandelen na haar ontsnapping en het feit dat zelfs haar "verzorgers" nu niet door hebben dat Natascha nog steeds manipuleert en niet uit haar gevangenis is ontsnapt. Dit verhaal zal geen gelukkig einde hebben. Nu is de belichting alleen gebeurt uit journalistiek oogpunt om te kijken of er misschien duidelijkheid kan worden gegeven. Maar allen Natascha kan duidelijkheid geven en vragen beantwoorden, maar ik denk dat we nooit te weten zullen komen wat er echt gebeurt is, zolang zij niet met rust wordt gelaten en zij niet onder ogen ziet dat zij op dit moment niet aan het genezen is.

© 2006 The house of Books
Girl in the cellar: the Natascha Kampusch story
Vertaling: Ed van Eeden en Edwin Krijgsman
Omslagontwerp: Studio Jan de Boer bno
Omslagfoto: © Grainger Laffan
Foto's auteur: Allan Hall: © EuroPics / Michael Leidig: © Grainger Laffan
Opmaak binnenwerk: ZetSpiegel
ISBN: 978.90.443.2915.5
175 pagina's; E-book
Profile Image for Ruth.
201 reviews
April 12, 2008
Wow. I didn't know anything about this true story before I read this book. I expected this book to only be about the kidnapping of Natascha. However, the authors wrote it in a way to give you the perspective of the media, society, her parents, police, therapists, and detectives as well. I enjoyed that because it left me to come with my own conclusions about what really happened, why it happened, and whether or not it could have been prevented. At times I found myself wondering if Natascha's mother was involved in the kidnapping itself--although it's hard to believe a mother could do that to her own child. My husband and I had many discussions about while I read this book; including how we would behave in the same circumstances Natascha found herself in.

I am curious why Natascha keeps quiet about her relationship with her kidnapper, but it is her life and she's entitled to some privacy. It is disturbing to know that there are people in this world who are like Natascha's kidnapper and it almost turns me away from wanting kids, just so they won't have to deal with the evil found in this world.
Profile Image for Belle.
37 reviews
January 27, 2015

This book was dreadful!! The descriptions are flat, boring and over-dramatic. "Only so and so many days left until..that fateful day!", for instance.

It was interesting to find out more details about how exactly she escaped. But that's it. The book did not seem thoroughly researched, or very detailed with solid facts, I still find myself skeptical of its content. But that was not the worst part.

The worst part was the dreadful, horrific and hopeless and obvious translation from German into English. The worst mistake that still comes to mind now when I think of this book was "she stood up every day at 7am". In German, "sie steht auf" - but in English, she GETS up in the morning. That's a mistake that an average 13-year old will make in middle-school. Not by what are supposed to be authors, or journalists or professional translators. I don't even remember who wrote this book - and don't really care to know anymore.

Really terrible book. You're better off googling the event or looking it up on Wikipedia than wasting your time on this book. Lucky it was only a pound. Then again now I know WHY it was only a pound.
Profile Image for Annchan Maulana.
467 reviews57 followers
October 17, 2007
Cerita tentang seorang anak kecil perempuan (Natascha) yang diculik dan disekap selama 8 tahun di ruang bawah tanah. Tidak ada yang menduga ada seorang anak kecil yang disekap dalam rumah itu karena rumah itu terlihat seperti rumah biasa yang letaknya juga tidak terpencil.

Yang jadi misterius dalam cerita ini adalah :
1. Apa tujuan si penculik ? minta tebusan juga ngga ....
2. Apa saja yang dilalui oleh Natascha itu selama 8 tahun disekap ?
3. Kenapa dia baru melarikan diri setelah 8 tahun itu, padahal banyak kesempatan untuk dia kabur ?

Allan Hall and Michael Leidig merangkum cerita ini (btw kisah nyata loch) dengan melakukan observasi ke berbagai pihak seperti polisi yang menangani kasus tersebut, pengacara, psikiater, peramal, pekerja yang bekerja di rumah Natascha, dan anggota keluarganya.

buku ini juga dilengkapi beberapa foto yang tambah bikin kita bisa membayangkan dan masuk ke dalam cerita saat membacanya. So we had more clear vision about the story ^^

Originaly review by AnnChan ^^
Profile Image for Bookguide.
832 reviews50 followers
July 2, 2018
Dit boek is geschreven in een journalistische stijl, en zeer kort na de ontsnapping van Natascha. Als gevolg moeten de auteurs vaak speculeren over het ware verhaal en baseren hun bevindingen op allerlei onbewezen geruchten en theorieën. Dit wordt nog erger gemaakt door de manier waarop Natascha de media manipuleert en nog steeds weigert alles te verklappen. Gezien het feit dat haar kidnapper zelfmoord gepleegd heeft, blijven veel vragen onbeantwoord omdat er weinig onderzoek is gedaan en er geen rechtszaak komt. Het boek is heel interessant maar het blijft toch nog onbevredigend voor nieuwsgierigen die alles willen weten. Ik ben toch blij dat ik het gelezen heb, en ben van plan een documentaire erover te bekijken:

Ze heeft inmiddels zelf een boek geschreven, haar moeder heeft een boek geschreven, en Natascha heeft een eigen praatshow. Het woord "mediageil" komt in me op, en ik vraag me af hoe Natascha ooit een gewone leven kan opbouwen.
Profile Image for Lisa Bennett.
227 reviews3 followers
August 2, 2011
That is one weird woman! It sounds to me like she totally manipulated the guy, even though she was in his power, and used what happened to her for her own advantage when she was free to make the millions she's made. Total manipulation for her own benefit. It'sobvious to me she's keeping stuff back, ie her real relationship with him. More went on than she's letting on, and the amount of occasions she had to run, and never did! What annoyed me about the book was the poor grammer. Too many long sentances without commas, or ongoing really long sentances with commas, that felt like they would never end. Also repetition, which is boring. Not the best written book i've ever read. Some serious editing needed! I wonder if that girl who went missing a few years ago from england is still alive and in a similar prison somewhere!
Profile Image for Laura.
519 reviews27 followers
February 15, 2011
This review is going to be very short because it just didn't do anything for me. I love reading storys about kidnappings and crimes and hearing survivors storys. This story wasn't told from the victim Natascha's perspective and instead told from two journalists perspectives, which made it feel very cheap in the respect that I feel like a lot of the aspects of the story were made off assumptions and here-say instead of factual information.

Because there were two differenet authors I felt like a lot of information was repeated and irrelavant at that. I feel like the story would have been better if told from her perspective or at least with one authors voice versis two.

This book just didn't kept my attention and was very mundane unfortantally...
January 5, 2013
I think it was horrible that there were people out there that blamed Natascha for what happened to her. I think people forget that she was only 10 years old when she was taken and even though she was 18 when found she is still a child b/c she never had a chance to grow-up. Even though she had feelings for the man who kept her that doesn't mean she was happy to be there and its just rediculous that way people treated and talked about them after she was found. I don't believe that anyone can say anything about the way she's acting or how she should act because none of these people have been through what she has been through. Until you have been through it you will never know and I don't wish it upon anyone.
Profile Image for Jean (Bookish Poetess).
623 reviews73 followers
July 2, 2016
"But we forgot a simple truth here — that evil people don't look evil."

When I picked up the book, I honestly expected something more spectacular in a way that the story was enchanting at the first few pages because the sypnosis looked so promising. And boy, I was wrong. It took me such a long time — more time than my usual reading time — to finish the book because it was boring. It made me sleepy for most of the times and the way the author told the story of Natascha, it was rather monotonous than sympathizing. There had been so many person speaking to the point where I got confused who was speaking and I just didn't got the hang for the book. But I'm proud that I finished it anyway.

Don't pick up this book. There's more book than this. I don't recommend it really.
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