THE ONLY GIRL IN THE WORLD

Derrière la grille

320 pages | Copies in French and English | Editions Stock | Author photo: ©Alain Schmidt

  • A memoir that will leave you astonished by the courage and creative power of even the most neglected soul.

Maude Julien's parents were fanatics who believed it was their duty to turn her into the ultimate survivor - raising her in isolation, tyrannizing her childhood and subjecting her to endless drills designed to "eliminate weakness." Maude learned to hold an electric fence for minutes without flinching, and to sit still in a rat- infested cellar all night long. She endured a life without heat, hot water, adequate food, friendship, or any kind of affectionate treatment.

But Maude's parents could not rule her inner life. Befriending the animals on the lonely estate as well as the characters in the novels she read in secret, young Maude nurtured in herself the compassion and love that her parents forbade as weak. And when, after more than a decade, an outsider managed to penetrate her family's paranoid world, Maude seized her opportunity. 

The Only Girl in the World is a story that will grip you from the first page and leave you spellbound, a chilling exploration of psychological control that ends with a glorious escape.

"Maude Julien's extraordinary memoir, The Only Girl in the World, is a harrowing yet achingly beautiful tale of a girl imprisoned by her brutal, fanatic family, but whose yearning for wonder and love ultimately drives her toward the improbable light of the world. This is a story of resilience unlike any I have ever read." -Mira Bartók, author of National Book Critics Circle Award Winner The Memory Palace



"The Only Girl in the World is one of the most original and compelling stories I've read. Maude Julien's love of books ignites an insatiable curiosity about the world outside the walls of the home where her parents hold her captive. A tale of hope and profound courage, Julien's story illustrates how trusting ourselves and following our hearts can save us from the most oppressive and cruel conditions. Her brave spirit shines as a bright reminder that what lies within us is stronger and more powerful than our circumstances." - Ruth Wariner, New York Times bestselling author of The Sound of Gravel

Rights sold

10 languages
  • Australia/NZ: Text Publishing
  • Czech: Jota
  • Germany: Droemer
  • Holland: HarperCollins Holland
  • Japan: Wave Shuppan
  • Poland: Sonia Draga
  • Portugal: Guerra & Paz
  • Sweden: Lind & Co
  • UK: Oneworld
  • US: Little, Brown