THE ONLY GIRL IN THE WORLD: A MEMOIR is a powerful true story I choose to see as a triumph of the human spirit.
Maude's father wanted a superhuman child and set out with single minded purpose to achieve his goal. He found a young girl and adopted her. When she was old enough he married and impregnated her. When his daughter was born her training began.
I'm not going to go into everything Maude went through, because it's grim. Extremely grim. Also, a lot of what she went through might not seem believable at first. As I was reading though, I realized that Maude's story is altogether too possible. What a scary and depressing thought: to have every aspect of your life controlled. To have to hold a chamber pot for your father. To have any family pets used as objects to control you. The only good things in Maude's life were books and music-and even those were controlled by her father.
To be clear this book never descended into the area of torture porn. Everything is presented in a rather detached way, whereas you are just an observer. The things that happened were indeed horrific, but you never felt like you were a part of them. Instead, your heart just ached that these things ever happened.
An interesting component to this tale was the pop psychology theories the father would come up with and how he used them to devise mind controlling techniques. Seriously, I think this guy could have developed a cult of his own if he wasn't so lazy and stupid. His family were actual blood relations and unlike Manson's family could never have left even if they tried. If you can imagine what Manson could have done to a daughter, you have a good idea of what Maude's dad did to her.
I can't get into what happened to Maude in the end, because that would ruin everything. However, she did survive to write this book so that should tell you something.
Highly recommended, especially for those interested in the psychology of brainwashing.
*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*