"Won't Somebody Think of the Children??"
November 17, 2006 5:49 PM   Subscribe

Help me identify a book I read as a child that scared the bejeebers out of me!

I read it when I was 11 or 12, which means it was the early 90's, but I don't know how old the book was.

It was an adult-sized paperback, which I found on my grandmother's shelf during a family visit. On the cover was a photograph of a broken baby doll.

The book was a nonfiction (or at least, I thought it was) book about the abuse of a little girl. In the book her parents had to leave on a sudden trip and she was dropped off with a babysitter they had never met, a woman named Florrie who had a daughter and a son. Florrie, the kids, and a neighbor boy basically keep the girl as a prisoner and humiliate her physically and psychologically. The girl is kept fom notifying anyone. I seem to remember at some point that the parents extend their stay and she is left there even longer. At some point her captors cut off her hair, and she is beaten. Several times she tries to get the garbage-collector's attention. At the end of the book she either escapes or her parents return for her-- I don't remember which.

I was totally too young to be reading this book, and it scared me to death because I realized for the first time that these things could really happen to someone.

Does anyone remember this? I'd love to read it again, I'm sure it was pure trash but I think it would be interesting to revisit the site of one of my childhood nightmares.
posted by hermitosis to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I believe you're looking for By Sanction of the Victim, by Patte Wheat. It's a fictionalized account of the true story of Sylvia Likens.
posted by cerebus19 at 6:39 PM on November 17, 2006 [2 favorites]

Oh my god, it seems to be even worse than I remembered. I forgot the part where they burn the words "I'm a prostitute and proud of it" onto her with a needle. It sort of makes me ill recalling it all.

Thanks a million, cerebus19. I never would have been able to figure this out on my own!
posted by hermitosis at 6:57 PM on November 17, 2006

Also my memory seems to have glossed over the fact that she died.
posted by hermitosis at 7:01 PM on November 17, 2006

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