Hidden Girl

  • by Shyima Hall, Lisa Wysocky
  • Narrated by Robin Eller
  • 6 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Shyima Hall was born in Egypt on September 29, 1989, the seventh child of desperately poor parents. When she was eight, her parents sold her into slavery. Shyima then moved two hours away to Egypt's capitol city of Cairo to live with a wealthy family and serve them eighteen hours a day, seven days a week. When she was ten, her captors moved to Orange County, California, and smuggled Shyima with them. Two years later, an anonymous call from a neighbor brought about the end of Shyima's servitude - but her journey to true freedom was far from over.
A volunteer at her local police department since she was a teenager, Shyima is passionate about helping to rescue others who are in bondage. Now a U.S. citizen, she regularly speaks out about human trafficking and intends to one day become an immigration officer. In Hidden Girl, Shyima candidly reveals how she overcame her harrowing circumstances and brings vital awareness to a timely and relevant topic.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The fact that this is a very common happening in that part of the world.
How a parent could sell one of their children, is just amazing..

Any additional comments?

I really like the story until she graduated from HighSchool. after that it lost my interest...

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- Don


The underlying story here is heartbreaking abd compelling. However it is not told very well. The reader doesn't get a real sense of the pain and horror experienced by a child forced into indentured servitude. She claims to have moved on in her life as a survivor yet she is unable to really tell others her story in an honest and indepth manner - just as expected by a still traumatized person suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She wants the world to know of her "bondage" and "slavery" especially in the United States, the poster child for cruel oppression lasting hundreds of years, even more than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Hall claims to have gotten her life together and wants to help others by being a police officer or ICE agent. She says that she only sees life and people in "black and white", "good or bad", no gray areas. She states that she believes in God. Yet, she gets pregnant out of wedlock by a guy she only knew about 6 months. Instead of marrying her "baby daddy", they decide the "black and white" thing is to shack up together. What happened to marriage? Sounds awfully "gray" to me.

Don't get me wrong. I feel for what this child suffered, being sold by her parents in Egypt for $20 a month, then being forced to clean house, be a nanny, and live in a closet when brought to the U.S. But she hardly knows what real slavery and bondage means in America. She was not raped or kept in chains. I can't allow her to be the standard bearer for the oppression, slavery, brutality, cruelty that this country is known for. This book reveals nothing that can't be found on Wikipedia or Google. In fact, I read Hall's story in People magazine. I bought this book to get a first-hand feel for what she went through. Instead, we are given a preachy, teachy, prosaic, often naive account that just glides over the facts. Oh, except for an excruciating blow-by-blow chapter of what is involved in becoming an American citizen, complete with parts of the naturalization test questionnaire, required documents, and other minutiae of little interest. I would have liked to know how Hall really feels about the betrayal of her family, her country of origin and the foreigners who smuggled her here. I hope she doesn't hit the wall one day, believing that this tragedy is really behind her. Particularly not with a child to care for. I want to see her ACT on her intent to make sure other children don't suffer from child endangerment, abuse, and smuggling by Egyptian citizens by actually getting a job in law enforcement. Right now all she's doing is talking a big game while not living by the high standards that she claims to revere and expect of others.

This is not a book about slavery and its long-term consequences. At least when Hall was "freed", she could walk down the street as a white citizen without going through decades and decades of racism, depravation, and oppression. This is a true crime story which would have benefited from the experience of a true crime writer. I don't know what Hall's co-author contributed other than, possibly, editing. No research, no background, no NOTHING about child smuggling and modern day indentured servitude. Just a simple memoir, giving nothing of the real essence of the writer. An opportunity missed.
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- Linda Lou "OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - FRONT to BLACK!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-25-2014
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio