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Stolen Innocence: Triumphing Over a Childhood Broken by Abuse: A Memoir

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Eleven-year-old Erin Merryn's life was transformed on the night she was sexually abused by her cousin, someone she loved and trusted. As the abuse continued, and as she was forced to see her abuser over and over again in social situations, she struggled with self-doubt, panic attacks, nightmares and the weight of whether or not to tell her terrible secret. It wasn't until Eleven-year-old Erin Merryn's life was transformed on the night she was sexually abused by her cousin, someone she loved and trusted. As the abuse continued, and as she was forced to see her abuser over and over again in social situations, she struggled with self-doubt, panic attacks, nightmares and the weight of whether or not to tell her terrible secret. It wasn't until a traumatic series of events showed her the cost of silence that she chose to speak out-in the process destroying both her family and the last of her innocence. Through her personal diary, written during the years of her abuse, Erin Myrren shares her journey through pain and confusion to inner strength and, ultimately, forgiveness. Raw, powerful and unflinchingly honest, Stolen Innocence is the inspiring story of one girl's struggle to become a woman, and a bright light on the pain and devastation of abuse. Stolen Innocence is written with conviction and clarity. [Erin Merryn] doesn't hold back, and I respect her honesty and openness...By the end of the book, I thought I was reading passages from a much older adult than a high school senior. Erin has grown into a strong, wise, intelligent, perceptive, spiritual, caring adult." --Susan Reedquist, The Children's Advocacy Center


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Eleven-year-old Erin Merryn's life was transformed on the night she was sexually abused by her cousin, someone she loved and trusted. As the abuse continued, and as she was forced to see her abuser over and over again in social situations, she struggled with self-doubt, panic attacks, nightmares and the weight of whether or not to tell her terrible secret. It wasn't until Eleven-year-old Erin Merryn's life was transformed on the night she was sexually abused by her cousin, someone she loved and trusted. As the abuse continued, and as she was forced to see her abuser over and over again in social situations, she struggled with self-doubt, panic attacks, nightmares and the weight of whether or not to tell her terrible secret. It wasn't until a traumatic series of events showed her the cost of silence that she chose to speak out-in the process destroying both her family and the last of her innocence. Through her personal diary, written during the years of her abuse, Erin Myrren shares her journey through pain and confusion to inner strength and, ultimately, forgiveness. Raw, powerful and unflinchingly honest, Stolen Innocence is the inspiring story of one girl's struggle to become a woman, and a bright light on the pain and devastation of abuse. Stolen Innocence is written with conviction and clarity. [Erin Merryn] doesn't hold back, and I respect her honesty and openness...By the end of the book, I thought I was reading passages from a much older adult than a high school senior. Erin has grown into a strong, wise, intelligent, perceptive, spiritual, caring adult." --Susan Reedquist, The Children's Advocacy Center

30 review for Stolen Innocence: Triumphing Over a Childhood Broken by Abuse: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Eva Marie

    I'm hesitant to say anything "bad" about this book even though I know that's part of a review sometimes. The author not only went through this abuse but was obviously young at the time of the book writing. I'm going to be honest however. I thought it was just okay at best. There are many, many books and genres that I know nothing about. This isn't one of them. This is one of the few genres I do happen to know about and I've read many, many books on the subject. This fell flat. It seemed like they I'm hesitant to say anything "bad" about this book even though I know that's part of a review sometimes. The author not only went through this abuse but was obviously young at the time of the book writing. I'm going to be honest however. I thought it was just okay at best. There are many, many books and genres that I know nothing about. This isn't one of them. This is one of the few genres I do happen to know about and I've read many, many books on the subject. This fell flat. It seemed like they weren't real diary entries which bothered me to no end. It was as if Merryn took her diary from that time, went through it, picked and chose what she wanted, and then altered it to her liking. That's fine....but it's not diary entries. Now, I wasn't there with her when she wrote this- remember these are only my thoughts and mine alone. I could be way far off the mark here but this is how it seems to me. Another reviewer mentioned the typos and mistakes all over. There were many and the author commented back that she left them in as they were in her diary. That's hard to believe. I just have a hard time believing this young woman would make more mistakes at 17 than at 13. Many more. I've read books with stupid mistakes and I've read books with real diary entries and this looks like the former to me. I thought once I started it that it would be too religious for me but it wasn't. Her mother does a chapter at the end and her mother is obviously highly religious but as it was only a chapter it didn't take away from the book for me. If it had been longer it certainly would have. Erin doesn't seem like the preachy type while her mother does. The letters to and from Brian- what can you say about that? It's strange at best but it seems to have helped her come to terms with the abuse so I'm glad she was smart enough to write them. I don't know- there were a decent number of parts that seemed off. The later entries seemed way more immature sometimes than the beginning entries. There were no actual dates and that bothered me too. If these were actual diary entried where were the dates? Why just put the month and the year? It seems small but as anyone who has read diaries before know, that's a part of it. You have to wonder if there was a specific reason for keeping the actual dates out? All in all I wouldn't recommend, there are "better" books out there for this subject. I can recommend a dozen off the top of my head right now. I do admire Merryn, not only did she make it through this abuse but she wrote a book about it- that takes a certain amount of courage to do that. I almost forgot- there were a few short parts that didn't even seem like they came from Erin at all. Parts that seemed to be taken directly from her mother that were supposedly her diary entries. For example, her mother kept using the word 'restore' when talking about Brian getting help. Some of Erin's "entries" used the same word in the same fashion. She could have used the word after hearing it from her mother but it didn't seem that way to me. It's not the way a kid would say that I don't think, especially not in their private diary. I wanted to like this a lot more. :(

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I appreciate the message Merryn was hoping to convey to her readers, and the sheer hootspah it takes to tell such a deeply personal and traumatizing story for such selfless reasons as to help other victims of abuse. In that respect, I whole-heartedly admire her. However, getting through this novel was hard to do because of the bland diction and constant, overused sentence structure. There was not much of a variety, and as a result I have a hard time remembering much of the work other than the b I appreciate the message Merryn was hoping to convey to her readers, and the sheer hootspah it takes to tell such a deeply personal and traumatizing story for such selfless reasons as to help other victims of abuse. In that respect, I whole-heartedly admire her. However, getting through this novel was hard to do because of the bland diction and constant, overused sentence structure. There was not much of a variety, and as a result I have a hard time remembering much of the work other than the basic summary, which is easily obtained on the back of the book. I sympathize with this woman 100%, but I probably would not read another work of hers, should she publish again.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Orliender

    no comment... so touching!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Julia Hickey

    Great read! I admire the amazing strength it must have taken for Erin to publish this.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hotavio

    Stolen Innocence is excerpts of a diary from a girl who was molested by her cousin. While the acts are committed in the first 50 pages, her agony rages on throughout her adolescence. The book's story was its strength. It is unfathomable that the author, Merryn, is continually subjected to her tormentor through consistent family gatherings, the extended family favoring her cousin over her by proclaiming his innocence and taking a heightened interest in his scholastics and athletics. Erin is a bri Stolen Innocence is excerpts of a diary from a girl who was molested by her cousin. While the acts are committed in the first 50 pages, her agony rages on throughout her adolescence. The book's story was its strength. It is unfathomable that the author, Merryn, is continually subjected to her tormentor through consistent family gatherings, the extended family favoring her cousin over her by proclaiming his innocence and taking a heightened interest in his scholastics and athletics. Erin is a brilliant gal who gives to her community and writes a book out of high school. That being said, there are noticeable flaws in it, including poor editing (the text is spell checked, but laden with typos). Erin quotes herself in a series of famous quotes. Also, her series of correspondence to her cousin is long in the tooth and could have been edited, provided that most of it was seemingly ignored by her perpetrator. Seeing Erin replace seething anger with forgiveness was probably the best treat of this memoir, though the religious overtones may be a little grating for some.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Trina

    I've felt like I've heard/read a LOT of information as of late on the dangers of sexual abuse to children. It has been a good reminder that it can be ANYONE - friend, family, stranger- that can take advantage of our children. While I thought I knew what to expect, it the end it was more about forgiveness and not harboring anger than it was about the abuse. I liked her message, but didn't find myself too drawn to her writing style. I had to keep reminding myself how young she is, especially when I've felt like I've heard/read a LOT of information as of late on the dangers of sexual abuse to children. It has been a good reminder that it can be ANYONE - friend, family, stranger- that can take advantage of our children. While I thought I knew what to expect, it the end it was more about forgiveness and not harboring anger than it was about the abuse. I liked her message, but didn't find myself too drawn to her writing style. I had to keep reminding myself how young she is, especially when she using a lot of the jargon you know her counselors were feeding to her.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel Lopez

    The reson i picked this book is because when i read a child called it that book was so sad and when i finish that book at the end of the book it said stolen innocence a real life book so then i began to read the back of it and became interested and began to read it so when I was reading it it became to be emotional and how he began to tough her and tryed to rape her so I want to said for the girl who out their getting rape dont be sraced to tell anyone what is happen in your life ang god bless y The reson i picked this book is because when i read a child called it that book was so sad and when i finish that book at the end of the book it said stolen innocence a real life book so then i began to read the back of it and became interested and began to read it so when I was reading it it became to be emotional and how he began to tough her and tryed to rape her so I want to said for the girl who out their getting rape dont be sraced to tell anyone what is happen in your life ang god bless ya. :)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Wonderful book. Shows the trials and triumphs when overcoming childhood sexual abuse.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jackelyn

    Has a great window veiw of what it is to be abused by a family member and the rejection you get from family..

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aleyda Rodriguez

    loved the ending it was a happy ennding

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jazmyn

    This was a Great book One of my Favorites

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dominique Egbers

    I have worked with survivors for decades. And heard some of the most gut wrenching and heart breaking stories. However, I think the best thing this book did for me, was to open my eyes that the abused doesnt have to be extensive to cause deep and long lasting trauma. Until about halfway through this book I have to be honest, I felt like the author was being dramatic. But opening my heart and reading the years of PTSD she dealt with because of her abuse and having to constantly still face her abu I have worked with survivors for decades. And heard some of the most gut wrenching and heart breaking stories. However, I think the best thing this book did for me, was to open my eyes that the abused doesnt have to be extensive to cause deep and long lasting trauma. Until about halfway through this book I have to be honest, I felt like the author was being dramatic. But opening my heart and reading the years of PTSD she dealt with because of her abuse and having to constantly still face her abuser gave me more empathy for how trauma effects each person differently. And that no matter the level of abuse, a victim has to make their own journey to becoming a survivor. I would definitely recommend this for anyone that has preteen and teenage children, or has a family that likes the skeletons to stay in the closet. Though the format can be a bit dull, it is a very honest diary of a survivor.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Princess Pottymouth

    It is very heavy subject matter for the target age group, and the lack of proofreading and writing level was difficult to stomach, but the overall message was uplifting. I cheered for the protagonist here but couldn't help comparing her to others who have had zero support when abused. What would it be like if you had a crowd of people to help you along after time after time of trauma? "Stolen Innocence" gives us a peek. Erin is lucky to have her parents and support network in her corner. Such a It is very heavy subject matter for the target age group, and the lack of proofreading and writing level was difficult to stomach, but the overall message was uplifting. I cheered for the protagonist here but couldn't help comparing her to others who have had zero support when abused. What would it be like if you had a crowd of people to help you along after time after time of trauma? "Stolen Innocence" gives us a peek. Erin is lucky to have her parents and support network in her corner. Such a book is a blessing and a hope for those of us still struggling to climb out of the darkness. There is always hope and this book just might help you muster up some strength.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Rotz

    I feel disgusted knowing this poor lady was abused by her own cousin at such a young age, and I am so proud of her courage to share her story and to help others who have gone through what she went through, and to help prevent more abuse from happening. With that being said, there was a lot of repetitive sentence structures, and I would skip big chunks at a time especially during her nightmare entries. It was a good read, especially during the deep, raw emotional entries in her diary, but would h I feel disgusted knowing this poor lady was abused by her own cousin at such a young age, and I am so proud of her courage to share her story and to help others who have gone through what she went through, and to help prevent more abuse from happening. With that being said, there was a lot of repetitive sentence structures, and I would skip big chunks at a time especially during her nightmare entries. It was a good read, especially during the deep, raw emotional entries in her diary, but would have liked to see less of the same nightmare entries.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kristen - kristenpryorreads

    It’s hard to judge/review a book that is a true story and uses diary entries. My heart aches for her, and she has overcome so much. I’m assuming the diary entries were real so the grammar and spelling wasn’t always there, but it also seemed like some entries she added to which wouldn’t make them completely accurate. Either way, it was a good book, my heart goes out to her.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    After getting Erin’s Law passed in DE and having the opportunity to be the one FaceTiming with Erin, I do feel a connection to her. What strength it takes to write such a book!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline Sanchez

    A book I will never forget

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alyssia Corbett

    I am currently reading this book 📚 and I am on page 59, and the first time I am reading this book I thought it was the 2nd time reading this book but no it's the first time me reading this book 📚, started reading it last 🌃 , which was Monday, night 🌃 7/13/2020, I am going to finish reading this book 📚 by the end of the summer, and then finish reading my other book well by the end of the summer as well and then I am going to start on a new book to read and the next book that I am going to start r I am currently reading this book 📚 and I am on page 59, and the first time I am reading this book I thought it was the 2nd time reading this book but no it's the first time me reading this book 📚, started reading it last 🌃 , which was Monday, night 🌃 7/13/2020, I am going to finish reading this book 📚 by the end of the summer, and then finish reading my other book well by the end of the summer as well and then I am going to start on a new book to read and the next book that I am going to start reading that I already have here at home 🏘️ until I get the book 📚 that I want to buy on pay day gets in the mail, and hopefully after I buy it it'll be here within 5-8 days, and not like 10-14 days after it is bought and paid for, you know? On amazon on thrift books you cAn get it and buy it and then have it delivered 👍 right away like 5-8 days to 5-10 days somewhere around there.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Raddatz

    A young girl was molested by her cousin, Brian. Her memories were present all the time. She also develops Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and has to learn how to cope. She cut herself in an attempt to release her pain. She was very suicidal and wrote a note to family members and at one point took a bottle of pills. She was put on antidepressants and anxiety medication to help her cope with her flashbacks and body memories. Erin went to an outpatient program at a hospital to participate in groups A young girl was molested by her cousin, Brian. Her memories were present all the time. She also develops Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and has to learn how to cope. She cut herself in an attempt to release her pain. She was very suicidal and wrote a note to family members and at one point took a bottle of pills. She was put on antidepressants and anxiety medication to help her cope with her flashbacks and body memories. Erin went to an outpatient program at a hospital to participate in groups to help her learn coping skills. I never knew you could go to the hospital on an outpatient basis. I liked knowing I wasn't the only one that suffered sexual abuse by a family member.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Zoey Indiana

    This book was pretty good, and a big thank you to all that Erin has done with and since this book. She has helped children everywhere. Regarding the book, there was some grammar errors that were a bit off putting and distracting. Aside from that, the diary format was a little difficult because she would talk about somethings too much and it felt like others were left out. Maybe a diary with commentary format would have been better, but still a good book. The emotions are vividly described and so i This book was pretty good, and a big thank you to all that Erin has done with and since this book. She has helped children everywhere. Regarding the book, there was some grammar errors that were a bit off putting and distracting. Aside from that, the diary format was a little difficult because she would talk about somethings too much and it felt like others were left out. Maybe a diary with commentary format would have been better, but still a good book. The emotions are vividly described and so is her pain through all the years of abuse. I would have like to see a bit more after where the book stopped, to see how she handled the next few years and such. Overall, I would recommend.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cori

    A girl and her sister were sexually abused by one of their family members when they were just little kids. It took them a long time to come out about it and when they did, it was like starting another battle. Everyday was a fight to live. But despite adversity and having an amazing support system, they eventually got past it. I really liked this book. I liked the plot and the way it was written. I could really see everything that was happening in the book in my head like a painted picture. I cou A girl and her sister were sexually abused by one of their family members when they were just little kids. It took them a long time to come out about it and when they did, it was like starting another battle. Everyday was a fight to live. But despite adversity and having an amazing support system, they eventually got past it. I really liked this book. I liked the plot and the way it was written. I could really see everything that was happening in the book in my head like a painted picture. I could feel their pain. I highly recommend this book. Anyone who has been through what they were going through and just anybody period. It would be a good read for anyone.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    Read 2007 This courageous young author and child abuse survivor spoke at our local college. I was so moved by her story and her "breaking the cycle" I had to run out and grab the book right away. Child abuse happens every day, and more often than we ever think. It's not always the families who look like they have problems...sometimes it's the "clean" ones. This memoir offers a glimpse into the true life of the abused and what you can do to help. I wasn't disappointed with this read, and neither will Read 2007 This courageous young author and child abuse survivor spoke at our local college. I was so moved by her story and her "breaking the cycle" I had to run out and grab the book right away. Child abuse happens every day, and more often than we ever think. It's not always the families who look like they have problems...sometimes it's the "clean" ones. This memoir offers a glimpse into the true life of the abused and what you can do to help. I wasn't disappointed with this read, and neither will you. (reviewed 09/22/08)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    Most memoirs that I have read are the truly horrible cases a child abuse ("A Child Called It"). So it is good to read a memoir of abuse that has happened to many, but is not often discussed. In the book, Erin has to continuously see her abuser at family gatherings because her extended family doubts her claim of abuse. Erin's mother even admits to her own past abuse. Erin is not a writer and the book is written as her diary, so at points in the book it failed to capture me. Still, a good read fro Most memoirs that I have read are the truly horrible cases a child abuse ("A Child Called It"). So it is good to read a memoir of abuse that has happened to many, but is not often discussed. In the book, Erin has to continuously see her abuser at family gatherings because her extended family doubts her claim of abuse. Erin's mother even admits to her own past abuse. Erin is not a writer and the book is written as her diary, so at points in the book it failed to capture me. Still, a good read from someone who is not a "writer".

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pepper

    sexual abuse victim's journey to recovery and healing. After reading this book, there will be no doubt in the reader's mind what Erin went through. The author writes about her feelings in detail and does so repeatedly. It's a sad account of a little girl's childhood irreparably broken at the hands of a family member. The book could have been better edited as there are a lot of mistakes. Of course, anyone can read this book but the writing style is that of an adolescent and would be a great read e sexual abuse victim's journey to recovery and healing. After reading this book, there will be no doubt in the reader's mind what Erin went through. The author writes about her feelings in detail and does so repeatedly. It's a sad account of a little girl's childhood irreparably broken at the hands of a family member. The book could have been better edited as there are a lot of mistakes. Of course, anyone can read this book but the writing style is that of an adolescent and would be a great read especially for pre-teens and young adults.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    At first, it was a little boring. You could tell a child was writing, but then things started picking up. I'm not going to lie, I wanted to read it because I went to school with the author and heard so much about it. After I was done reading it, I was in shock, speechless. Just to know that something that horrible happened to someone I knew, and she was able to forgive the perpetrator, was unbelievable. It definitely brought up memories from my freshman year of high school, but it was a good rea At first, it was a little boring. You could tell a child was writing, but then things started picking up. I'm not going to lie, I wanted to read it because I went to school with the author and heard so much about it. After I was done reading it, I was in shock, speechless. Just to know that something that horrible happened to someone I knew, and she was able to forgive the perpetrator, was unbelievable. It definitely brought up memories from my freshman year of high school, but it was a good read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Daisy giannetta

    The beginning of the book was really good and exciting(in like a creepy way). Let just start off with that this is a true story of what happened to the author, and although I respect her for writing it out and sharing her story, it started to get pretty repetitive after the first couple chapters. After all the molestations happened it was kinda just her saying the same thing over and over about her being sad and suicidal. It got really boring. Overall the first half of the book keeps you on edge The beginning of the book was really good and exciting(in like a creepy way). Let just start off with that this is a true story of what happened to the author, and although I respect her for writing it out and sharing her story, it started to get pretty repetitive after the first couple chapters. After all the molestations happened it was kinda just her saying the same thing over and over about her being sad and suicidal. It got really boring. Overall the first half of the book keeps you on edge, but second half is kinda annoying

  27. 5 out of 5

    Georgie

    I've read all of Erin's books, and each one is good. She's telling her story. It's not easy to read, but each book is well done. It's not easy for her or anyone to share a story like this, but her triumph has turned into a passion, and she is determined to do her part to eradicate child sexual abuse. She is an advocate that lived it, and will do whatever she possibly can to help even one child, but helping one will never be enough. Erin is tough as nails and will keep going like the energizer bu I've read all of Erin's books, and each one is good. She's telling her story. It's not easy to read, but each book is well done. It's not easy for her or anyone to share a story like this, but her triumph has turned into a passion, and she is determined to do her part to eradicate child sexual abuse. She is an advocate that lived it, and will do whatever she possibly can to help even one child, but helping one will never be enough. Erin is tough as nails and will keep going like the energizer bunny to save as many as she can. With Erin, the key word is prevention. So admire this woman.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marnie

    Okay, I have had my fill of nonfiction abuse reading. This is a way too depressing subject that breaks my heart to no end. This is a very good book, not nearly as outstanding as Dave Pelzer. On the other hand, this is a book that opens up the other ends of effects abuse has on the victims, families, and the system even today. This book is a more current up to date book of todays laws. And yes, we still have a big hole that needs to be filled.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I dont know that I truly believe this is this girls diary but I do like some aspects of sexual abuse that this book is reporting. I definetely would recommend it to someone trying to overcome a similar experience. However it does have a little bit of a god overtone to it and at times I wanted to hit her, but I truly sympathize with her as well.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    By far the best book I have ever read and I have read thousands of books. This book is so moving and inspiring to see a young woman overcome what she survived and be such an inspiration for others. The letters confronting her abuser were powerful. I can't wait to read her other two books. Starting tonight! By far the best book I have ever read and I have read thousands of books. This book is so moving and inspiring to see a young woman overcome what she survived and be such an inspiration for others. The letters confronting her abuser were powerful. I can't wait to read her other two books. Starting tonight!

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