About My Book Reviews

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Girl With No Name by Marina Chapman


Title: The Girl with No Name

Author: Marina Chapman, Vanessa James, and Lynne Barrett-Lee (Ghostwriter)

Published: 2013

Genre: Memoir

Grade Level: Adult

-Trigger Warning: Child abandonment, child abuse

-Movie Rating: PG-13


Blurb (from goodreads):

In 1954, in a remote mountain village in South America, Marina Chapman was stolen from her housing estate and then abandoned deep in the Colombian jungle. She was four years old. Soon she came upon a troop of capuchin monkeys. She decided to copy their actions and little by little she learned how to fend for herself.

Gradually became feral; she lost the ability to speak, lost all inhibition, lost any real sense of being human, replacing the structure of human society with the social mores of her new simian family. But society was eventually to reclaim her.

This rousing story of a lost child who overcomes the dangers of the wild and the brutality of the streets to finally reclaim her life will astonish readers everywhere.


Disclaimer: My review of this memoir is not in any way a reflection upon the author or their life. I am a book reviewer, I review books… not people.

My Scores:

Writing Style: Good

The writing style is a bit odd to me, but that's most likely because the ghostwriter is from the UK (while I am from the US).

Regardless, I found the beginning of the novel to be a bit flowery. The pacing is really slowed down by a lot of tiny, little redundant details. I was engaged enough with the plot to continue reading, but I did not enjoy reading it as much as I wanted to.

However, as the novel progressed the pacing thoroughly improved (since it no longer repeated itself) – hence the ‘good’ score.

Characters: Memorable

(I known they’re real people. I’m referring to them as character’s anyway.)

It was so odd not having a real name to go along with the “I” persona for most of the novel (almost like reading Rebecca all over again). But I am definitely going to remember the MC, Marina (I guess?), for a long time! 

The MC sees human society in such an interesting way because her only frame of reference is her life in the jungle with her monkey family. At times it's humorous, but at other times it's truly heartbreaking. Her story made me glad to live in present-day America, despite our problems.

I do wish other characters in the novel had more development, but unlike in fiction sometimes we don’t get to have every character’s motivations explained.

Plot: So Many Plot Twists!

Oh my gosh, you guys, the plot is nuts! I never thought I would give this score to a memoir, but it certainly deserves it! 

I’m so glad Marina’s daughter cared enough about her mother’s story to create this novel. Her unique upbringing in the Columbian jungle is just the start of her traumatic but incredibly inspiring story!

Overall: Obsessed

Overall, I’m obsessed with this novel! It started out slow, but as it progressed it was an incredible, almost unbelievable story to behold. According to the author’s notes there is a sequel in the making, and I am hoping it’s true!


“The only names you have ever known have been slave names… What you need, my dear, is to have a name all of your own.”

Goodreads Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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