Book Review: Girl A

The place card name “Girl A” was given to Lex, who escaped from her family home as a teenager. They lived in squalor, with a father who had grown increasingly psychotic with his religious views.

Their mother simply had babies, one right after the other. Because that seemed to be what Father wanted.

There came a time when he wouldn’t allow them to attend school. There was a gradual gradation to how far things went. They were chained in dirty rooms and not allowed to leave them. They were basically starved, while Father ate quite well.

And then Lex escaped one day and ran in front of the first car she saw coming down the road. She had the despairing look of someone who had been betrayed by the very people who should have loved and cared for her.

The children were all adopted separately. Lex, being one of the oldest, ended up with an older family. She had a good life, received therapy, and became an attorney.

But at the very core of her she carried the scars of what happened. She wondered about the others and who had adopted them. Perhaps the luckiest one was the baby, who would not remember where and how they’d been made to live.

The case of course was famous, their home a shrine where a monster had lived and abused his children on a regular basis. People came to stare at it, dismayed and horrified.

Lex struggled along. She was not good at relationships. She asked the men she slept with to hurt her. It was the only form of love she knew.

It was hard to see the other siblings, even as adults. The memories swam just beneath the surface threatening to erupt at any time.

Their father had died and the mother had gone to prison. When their mother died and Lex was named the executor of the will, the story begins to unfold.

And finally, secrets emerge as they always do when you begin to walk backward to another time and place.

About The Author:

This is Abigail Dean’s first novel, a debut that has catapulted her to fame. She is an attorney in her early thirties who has surprised even herself with the notoriety this book has given her.

Abigail Dean is a writer from Manchester, living in south London. Her first novel, GIRL A, was published in the UK in January 2021, and was an instant Sunday Times Bestseller. GIRL A was published in the US on February 2 2021.

Abigail is working on her second novel, THE CONSPIRACIES.

My Thoughts:

I read this book in a couple of days. Like someone caught staring at a car pile up on the interstate, it was hard to look away from the contents of this book. Although of course it was fiction.

To think of someone willfully starving and chaining his children due to whatever demonic cult-like beliefs he held is reprehensible of course.

I imagine it was hard to write this sort of book. To sit in the character’s head to write her story. Even a work of fiction can be profoundly troubling.

First Paragraph:

You don’t know me, but you’ll have seen my face. In the earlier pictures, they bludgeoned our features with pixels, right down to our waists; even our hair was too distinctive to disclose. But the story and its protectors grew weary, and in the danker corners of the internet we became easy to find.”


  1. Very disturbing and sounds like the real life Turpin family story of 13 children found in Perris, CA in 2018 when one of the children escaped and reported to police. I try to concentrate on the good in the world but the evil is truly astounding.

  2. We all have different tastes in books, but I finally quit reading this type. It’s just better for my head if I don’t go there.

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