In New York City, in April of 1874, a most unusual event took place. A severely abused nine-year-old girl named Mary Ellen Wilson became the first child in America to be rescued from an abusive home. She had been beaten, burned, slashed with scissors, locked in a closet, and had never been outside of her tenement home in over 7 years. Thanks to the concern and dedication of a missionary named Etta Wheeler, the child was finally saved from her cruel captors. Henry Bergh's ASPCA - yes, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - was instrumental in securing her rescue. When no other agencies would become involved, the ASPCA used its power and influence to not only save Mary Ellen, but to charter the first organization of its kind to prevent cruelty to children, the NYSPCC - the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. This book remains the only book that tells the dramatic story of Mary Ellen's life and rescue.
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History, Human suffering, drama, all in one
Yes, the characters were brought to life. The drama felt real. The descriptions of the living conditions, how people were treated, felt more intense.
When Little Mary Ellen was being tortured by her "mama" and her "papa"... definitely got my heart racing wanting to know how she would be saved...I also was very angry when the horses were being mistreated... especially the one in the snow.
Characters were easy to differentiate. Felt like she was rooting for Mary Ellen, too. Her male voices were quite good! Also, you could feel the hatred and anger when she was voicing Mary Ellen's "MAMA"... a bit eerie...
YES!... I cried and was very distraught at many points during this book. And I was elated when she was rescued, as well as heartbroken at her condition and her innocence of her own condition.
Great audio book! I especially liked the behind the scenes drama regarding the ASPCA, and how that pre dated the New York Children's Services. I can't imagine how children survived back then. Strong people.
- Debra Cox
- Sharon Nolen