Stolen: A Memoir (Hardcover)
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A gripping chronicle of psychological manipulation and abuse at a “therapeutic” boarding school for troubled teens, and how one young woman fought to heal in the aftermath.
At fifteen, Elizabeth Gilpin was an honor student, a state-ranked swimmer and a rising soccer star, but behind closed doors her undiagnosed depression was wreaking havoc on her life. Growing angrier by the day, she began skipping practices and drinking to excess. At a loss, her parents turned to an educational consultant who suggested Elizabeth be enrolled in a behavioral modification program. That recommendation would change her life forever.
The nightmare began when she was abducted from her bed in the middle of the night by hired professionals and dropped off deep in the woods of Appalachia. Living with no real shelter was only the beginning of her ordeal: she was strip-searched, force-fed, her name was changed to a number and every moment was a test of physical survival.
After three brutal months, Elizabeth was transferred to a boarding school in Southern Virginia that in reality functioned more like a prison. Its curriculum revolved around a perverse form of group therapy where students were psychologically abused and humiliated. Finally, at seventeen, Elizabeth convinced them she was rehabilitated enough to “graduate” and was released.
In this eye-opening and unflinching book, Elizabeth recalls the horrors she endured, the friends she lost to suicide and addiction, and—years later—how she was finally able to pick up the pieces of her life and reclaim her identity.
About the Author
Elizabeth Gilpin is an actress, writer, and producer. She starred in and produced Life Boat, a short film directed by Lorraine Nicholson which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for Live Action Short Film at AFI Fest and won the Audience Award at the Napa Valley Film Festival. Elizabeth also starred in Endings, Inc. and Guerra. Stolen is her first book.
Elizabeth currently splits her time between Los Angeles and Nashville.
"Elizabeth Gilpin’s memoir broke my heart. She writes in vivid prose about how, as a fifteen year old girl--an honor student and a promising athlete-- she was kidnapped in the middle of the night by strangers, sent to live in the woods for months, and finally placed at a cruel, abusive, “therapeutic” boarding school. The story is fascinating. It is also a powerful and timely examination of the consequences of misdiagnosing and mistreating mental health and trauma."—Molly Bloom, bestselling author of Molly's Game
"By confronting the ugliness of a system that almost killed her, Gilpin emerges victorious in a narrative that radiates with humanity. This unflinching account is impossible to put down.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)