The Only Girl in the World by Maude Julien
Paraphrased from Goodreads
Maude Julien’s childhood was defined by the iron grip of her father, who was convinced his daughter was destined for great deeds. His plan began when he adopted Maude’s mother and indoctrinated her with his esoteric ideals. Her mission was to give him a daughter as blonde as she was, and then to take charge of the child’s education. That child was Maude, on whom her father conducted his outrageous experiment—to raise the perfect ‘super-human’ being.
The three lived in an isolated mansion in northern France, where her father made her undergo endless horrifying endurance tests. Maude had to hold an electric fence without flinching. Her parents locked her in a cellar overnight and ordered her to sit still on a stool in the dark, contemplating death, while rats scurried around her feet.
How did this girl, with her loveless and lonely childhood, emerge so unscathed, so full of the empathy that was absent in her childhood? How did she manage to escape?
I really, really enjoyed this book. It was super interesting. Julien’s story is really heart-breaking and it was hard to listen to at times. Her perseverance and ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel was really inspiring.
The audiobook was, for me, the best way to read this book. The narrator does a fantastic job, and I just find audiobooks better for non-fiction.
My one issue was that I wish there was a tiny bit more at the end. She pretty much escapes, there’s one chapter, and then the epilogue. I wanted a couple more chapters about her life outside of her parents’ house. What did she struggle with? What was easier than she expected? How did she adjust? What actually happened? I wanted to know more in the end, which is why I took off half a star.
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you plan on reading it? If you do, I’d highly recommend the audiobook!
Thanks for reading! xx