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Girl in the Cellar
The Natascha Kampusch Story

by Allan Hall and Michael Leidig


If you like details, then the book Girl in the Cellar: The Natascha Kampusch Story by Allan Hall and Michael Leidig is a book you will enjoy. As told by two journalists, this story about a ten-year-old girl who is kidnapped and held hostage in a cellar—referred to as a dungeon throughout the book—is loaded with details. As the child's ordeal is described, you will begin to feel angry and frustrated about the means the law enforcement agency employed as they tried to find her. Too many clues were overlooked. Even the many signs she gave to others on trips outside the home were overlooked. Hall and Leidig walk you through the child's life as she was held captive by a pedophile. They chronicle her life for eight and a half years, describing the child, her captor, their personalities and how these meshed together: her need for survival and his for maintaining control. What is exposed is truly unfathomable by anyone with one ounce of morality or sensibility.

It is all overwhelming what the captor did and didn't do to the child. His fears and insecurities made him hold her captive while he attempted to convince her that the outside world was against his so-called protection of her. As it turns out, in the end, she believed him, viewing his death after her escape from captivity as a result of the outside world being unfair to him. His control over her mental state before her escape left her without the ability to adapt to the world outside her prison.

When Natascha escaped she was 18 and had never grown up with any kind of normalcy. She wanted fame and fortune. She wanted to have the outside world see her as important. She wanted to be a star in her own right. She was, in one minute, the ten-year-old child and in the next, a mature young woman who must control her own life since it was not in her control during the years she was in captivity.

Overall, the results of her newfound freedom are best described by the book’s authors, who write, "It is the hope of the world, and certainly of the authors, that Natascha Kampusch achieves everything she wants to in a life where experience has been replaced with a yawning chasm. The hope of everyone is that Natascha fills that chasm with love and friendship." This was because after her return to real life, Natascha was unable to let go of her captor, even after his death. She continued to feel like she was still, in a small way, the ten-year-old victim and needed to control her destiny through film and stardom, to tell her story her way, filled with what she thought was the truth. What others thought was inconsequential to her.

The Book

March 9, 2010
Mass Market Paperback
Nonfiction / Biography
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The Reviewer

Sylvia McClain
Reviewed 2010
NOTE: Reviewer Sylvia McClain is the author of the 2nd edition of The Write Life: A Beginning Writers Writing Guide and Skipping Through Life: The Reason I Am. She is also editor of the Scribal News Calendar, a newsletter of writer events and happenings.
© 2010