At once disturbing and empowering, the memoir of a courageous woman who was abused, groomed, and trafficked for sex from age eleven to age sixteen, who then killed her trafficker/father figure and was sentenced as a juvenile to life in prison without parole.
Kruzan’s memoir, written with the author and playwright Thomas, is a cogent and moving firsthand account of how systems fail to protect some of the most vulnerable among us. In a poignant chapter, Kruzan describes several suicide attempts ... Kruzan’s narration of harrowing events is forthright, but her compassion and resourcefulness shine through ... The chapters about Kruzan’s fight for freedom — aided by tireless activists and lawyers she meets following a highly publicized interview with Human Rights Watch — are both hopeful and sobering. After two decades in prison, she was released; but how many child trafficking survivors remain behind bars?
The narrator’s voice in Kruzan’s story is difficult to define. She uses sophisticated words and ideas to describe the horrors of her life as a pre-teen that she could not possibly have known then. She admits that many of her memories have been suppressed and that her mind went someplace else during much of her abuse ... Kruzan’s story holds a stark warning for anyone who thinks that we should let families cope with their own problems, allow gangs to operate freely in poor neighborhoods, or trust our criminal justice system to mete out fair punishment.
Courageous and unforgettable ... Kruzan encountered a new set of social, emotional, and logistical challenges when reentering society. Now she’s an advocate for young people who face similar struggles, a fighter who fights with a hopeful, loving spirit. That spirit is captured on every page of this memoir that’s as brave and brilliant as its author.