An Amazon Best Book of December 2017: Maude Julien has every reason to be a terrible human being. As her chilling memoir reveals, her parents subjected her to a horrifying degree of physical, psychological and emotional torture, all in pursuit of raising a child who could survive anything. That she managed to endure with her humanity intact is almost more unbelievable than the tests her mum and dad cooked-up in service of their goal. Had it not been for her love of animals, literature, and the intervention of an unlikely savior, Maude’s tenuous grasp on sanity would very likely have been lost. The Only Girl in the World adds a fascinating chapter to the nature versus nurture debate. But more than that, it is a testament to the power of the human spirit to overcome extraordinary obstacles, and proof that love, indeed, wins. –Erin Kodicek, Amazon Book Review
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.
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