Thursday, July 2, 2020
Book Review: The Girl With No Name by Marina Chapman
The Incredible True Story of a Child Raised by Monkeys
Review by Kristy McCaffrey
This story of survival and endurance is all the more amazing because Ms. Chapman was five years old when she was abandoned in the jungle following a terrifying abduction from her home in Colombia. After wandering for several days, alone, bereft, and confused, she collapsed and a family of capuchin monkeys found her. They didn’t exactly raise her, or even accept her at first, but their tolerance was key to her survival. By watching and imitating them, she was able to find food and shelter. Over the course of five years, she even came to understand their primitive language of screeches, whistles, and calls. In time, she developed an affectionate bond with several of the members.
Some of her experiences are extraordinary, such as the time the grandfather monkey saved her life when she ate the wrong plant. He dragged her to a muddy pool of water and forced her to drink, inducing her to vomit and eject the poisonous plant. Eventually she was rescued by poachers. The course of her life following this was almost unimaginable. She was sold to a brothel, where she was abused until she ran away. Then she lived as a street urchin, putting the skills she learned from the monkeys—namely theft—to good use. When she was finally able to get off the street, she ended up in the home of a local cartel family where she was further abused. When she realized her life was in danger, she escaped to a convent.
While this story might sound depressing, you can’t help but admire the sharp resiliency of Marina herself. This was the name she chose at age fourteen, after years of others calling her what they wanted. This is an extraordinary journey of survival, written with the help of Marina’s daughter and a ghostwriter. I couldn’t put it down.
Find The Girl With No Name at Amazon