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Publisher's Summary

Josef Fritzl was a 73-year-old retired engineer in Austria. He seemed to be living a normal life with his wife, Rosemarie, and their family - though one daughter, Elisabeth, had decades earlier been "lost" to a religious cult. Throughout the years, three of Elisabeth's children mysteriously appeared on the Fritzls' doorstep; Josef and Rosemarie raised them as their own. But only Josef knew the truth about Elisabeth's disappearance....
For 27 years, Josef had imprisoned and molested Elisabeth in his man-made basement dungeon, complete with soundproof paneling and code-protected electric locks. There, she would eventually give birth to a total of seven of Josef's children. One died in infancy, and the other three were raised alongside Elisabeth, never to see the light of day.
Then, in 2008, one of Elisabeth's children became seriously ill and was taken to the hospital. It was the first time the 19-year-old girl had ever gone outside - and soon, the truth about her background, her family's captivity, and Josef's unspeakable crimes would come to light.
©2009 John Glatt (P)2013 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Eric Schurr on 11-08-13

One of the most riveting and disturbing books ever

The story this book tells is truly "stranger than fiction." If it was a novel, you'd say it was too absurd to be true. But amazingly, and shockingly, it is.

From the very beginning, the story is well-paced and well-written. It contains enough details to send chills down your spine that such a sick, twisted man could ever exist. You will wonder how his victimized daughter ever survived and kept her sanity through numerous unthinkable acts: raped 3,000 times by her father, help captive for 24 YEARS, living in a dungeon that is only 5' 6" tall with no's truly unthinkable.

I listened to this book during my commute, and i was anxious to get into my car every day (how often does that happen to you?). In addition to the story being unbelievable, the narrator is perhaps the best i've ever heard. His voice is made for this kind of thing. It is truly one of the best books i've ever listened to.

My only word of caution: be prepared to be amazed, horrified, disgusted, and baffled.

You'll want to hug your children after you listen to this.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By ilovebooks on 12-07-13

I was hooked. A great listen.

Any additional comments?

I know its a good book when I scour the web looking for anything I can about the main characters. This father was a sociopath of the worst kind. I think the author was too easy on the wife but I do live in a different part of the world and have had many things that women did not. Still, how could she let him do all those things to the kids while they were growing up? And the main character, she must really be something to have survived that. I send her and her family all of my prayers and well wishes.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By s.millin on 07-20-15

loved this book

What made the experience of listening to Secrets in the Cellar the most enjoyable?

Just loved this book, she explained every detail of what she did and felt.
How brave she is, to go through what she did, giving birth on her own, with no help from a doctor, and then coping with her children, and the life she was forced to endure.

How brilliantly she wrote this, so inspiring.

Who was your favorite character and why?

the main character.

What about Gildart Jackson’s performance did you like?

All of it, no faults at all.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

it made me cry, in several places.
Not much joy in this book.

Any additional comments?

you will want to listen to this all in one go. Beware serious time needed. You cant stop.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Ben on 03-31-15

Factual and dry, but an amazingly disturbing story

I recommend this book based on the astonishing and disturbing story alone. It delves into the mind of a truly sadistic and damaged man.

I found the part about Fritzels own up bring the most fascinating as it gives clues as to how a person can do such horrific acts to his own family.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By sofia on 10-23-15

A Further Injustice to Elizabeth Frizl.

What disappointed you about Secrets in the Cellar?

I will try to be short and to the point. It is obviously a tragic thing what happened to Elizabeth and her children. I am interested in her story - I admire her strength, as I am sure many others do. It would have been moving and far more interesting to hear how she overcame what was clearly a living hell.

That is the story I wish this book told.

I don't believe this book did Elizabeth Fritzl justice. The story focused on Josef Fritzl. His childhood, his mind, blah blah blah. I actually found it rather frustrating that the focus was on him. 'Secrets in the Cellar' is a narrative into a disgusting human's mind. If that is what interests you, then you will actually thoroughly enjoy this book.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Gildart Jackson?

Many people seemed to enjoy the narrator Gildart Jackson - I found his 'accents' and overall performance rather intolerable. I almost didn't finish the book because I found the narrator so difficult to listen to.

Any additional comments?

After reading only really positive reviews, I was convinced that this would be a great book.
I can appreciate that the high expectation may be why I didn't enjoy it. However, I listen to many books in this genre, and I simply did not enjoy this book at all.

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