• Out of the Darkness

  • The Story of Mary Ellen Wilson
  • By: Eric A. Shelman
  • Narrated by: Deb Thomas
  • Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (352 ratings)

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Out of the Darkness  By  cover art

Out of the Darkness

By: Eric A. Shelman
Narrated by: Deb Thomas
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Publisher's Summary

In New York City, in April of 1874, a most unusual event took place. A severely abused nine-year-old girl named Mary Ellen Wilson became the first child in America to be rescued from an abusive home. She had been beaten, burned, slashed with scissors, locked in a closet, and had never been outside of her tenement home in over 7 years. Thanks to the concern and dedication of a missionary named Etta Wheeler, the child was finally saved from her cruel captors. Henry Bergh's ASPCA - yes, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - was instrumental in securing her rescue. When no other agencies would become involved, the ASPCA used its power and influence to not only save Mary Ellen, but to charter the first organization of its kind to prevent cruelty to children, the NYSPCC - the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. This book remains the only book that tells the dramatic story of Mary Ellen's life and rescue.

©Print Version: 1999 Audiobook: 2014 Dolphin Moon Publishing (P)2014 Dolphin Moon Publishing

What listeners say about Out of the Darkness

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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Story
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Harrowing Story

The story was terrifying and awful but I loved learning the history. Well written. However I feel the narration was not right. The voices done by the narrator seemed almost cartoonish. Had it not been for my interest in the history I would have turned it off.

12 people found this helpful

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Amazing Story

As someone who was rescued from an abusive home, this story was especially great. Those of us who have been saved from childhoods similar to that of Mary Ellen's owe our "second lives" (as I refer to mine) to Henry Bergh, Etta Wheeler, and those alike who dedicate their time and hearts to help those in need.

9 people found this helpful

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Great story.

Although a very sad story, it was told really well & I found it hard to turn it off. Thoroughly recommended!

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good narration

She did all different voices, which I enjoyed. I wish more time was spent on the story of Mary Ellen a bit more, but it was, overall, a good book!

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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historical fiction

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes it was easy to listen to and kept my attention

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, it was very easy to listen to. Some audio books can distract from the story.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating, just fascinating!

What made the experience of listening to Out of the Darkness the most enjoyable?

I almost wasn't going to listen to it. It started off a little strange to me in the beginning but I thought I better hold out and see where this goes. I am glad I did hold out. This was amazing. To learn how the ASPCC evolved from the ASPCA was especially interesting.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Out of the Darkness?

I found myself riveted when the woman lied to the mother and from that moment on this little girls life just kept taking bizarre twists and turns!

Which scene was your favorite?

Obviously, the ending was the best part. To learn how normal her life ended up being was just as fascinating to me as the entire book itself.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

a little girls love beyond the terrors of her reality.

Any additional comments?

I read that some people didn't care for the narrator. I think she did a great job. Helped me keep each character straight and I felt it gave the book a little more life and reality. Just a great book.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Captivating

Beyond the story of abuse lies the history of an intertwining of a love for animals and children alike. Excellent piece!

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I didn't love the narration

I liked the book, but the narration was lacking. A better narrator would have made this 5 stars across the board.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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History, Human suffering, drama, all in one

Would you consider the audio edition of Out of the Darkness to be better than the print version?

Yes, the characters were brought to life. The drama felt real. The descriptions of the living conditions, how people were treated, felt more intense.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Out of the Darkness?

When Little Mary Ellen was being tortured by her "mama" and her "papa"... definitely got my heart racing wanting to know how she would be saved...I also was very angry when the horses were being mistreated... especially the one in the snow.

What about Deb Thomas’s performance did you like?

Characters were easy to differentiate. Felt like she was rooting for Mary Ellen, too. Her male voices were quite good! Also, you could feel the hatred and anger when she was voicing Mary Ellen's "MAMA"... a bit eerie...

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

YES!... I cried and was very distraught at many points during this book. And I was elated when she was rescued, as well as heartbroken at her condition and her innocence of her own condition.

Any additional comments?

Great audio book! I especially liked the behind the scenes drama regarding the ASPCA, and how that pre dated the New York Children's Services. I can't imagine how children survived back then. Strong people.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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So disturbing

I find it so hard to believe anyone would mistreat a child. Poor defenseless innocence stolen!

2 people found this helpful

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  • G Girl
  • 04-03-21

Unfortunately/ Unbelievable

This was an eye opener and very informative book. Could not stop listening, ever spare second I was hooked.