SCARED SELFLESS by Michelle Stevens


My Journey from Abuse and Madness to Surviving and Thriving
Email this review


A psychologist recounts the sexual abuse/enslavement she suffered as a child and how she overcame its horrific effects on her life as a teenager and an adult.

Stevens was 8 years old when Gary Lundquist came into her life. A primary schoolteacher and toystore owner, his apparent interest was in the author’s impoverished, poorly educated mother. But shortly after the pair began dating, Lundquist declared his intention to develop a “special relationship” with Stevens and took the child home with her mother’s consent. There, he began to “train” her as a sex slave whom he also prostituted to other equally sadistic pedophiles. The abuse, which Stevens could not articulate to her mother, continued for six years. Forced into silence about her double life, the author developed physical symptoms, including paralyzing headaches, dizziness, and nosebleeds, and she tried to commit suicide. At this time, she developed dissociative identity disorder, and two of her multiple personalities—“Mooch,” who was outgoing and fearless, and “Michelle,” who was shy and quiet—began to form. But it was not until the end of college that Stevens experienced her first “body hijacking” by one of her personalities. Unable to remember what happened during these “hijackings” or the traumas she had suffered as a child sex slave, she searched desperately for answers while continuing to suffer bouts of debilitating, often suicidal depression. In the end, it was the empathetic, nonjudgmental kindness of a dedicated therapist—who later became Stevens’ professional role model—that saved her life and gave her the courage to begin the journey toward psychological health. Courageous and insightful, Stevens’ book is not only important for the light it sheds on some of the effects of extreme sexual abuse. It also provides hope to survivors that living “a successful and satisfying life” is absolutely possible.

A raw and powerful account from a survivor of unspeakable abuse.

Pub Date: March 21st, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-399-17338-7
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2017


NonfictionSUGGESTIONS OF ABUSE by Michael D. Yapko
by Michael D. Yapko
NonfictionBEAUTIFUL JUSTICE by Brooke Axtell
by Brooke Axtell
NonfictionTHE INHERITANCE OF SHAME by Peter Gajdics
by Peter Gajdics