Now married to an Englishman and living in Bradford, England, Marina Chapman plans to donate her share of the profits from this book to help finance charities that combat human trafficking and child slavery in Colombia. Based in Wales, co-author Lynne Barrett-Lee's first novel, Julia Gets a Life, was published by Bantam. Her most recent novel, Barefoot in the Dark, was shortlisted for the inaugural Melissa Nathan Award.
Chapman tells the harrowing story of her being stolen from her home in Columbia in 1954 at the young age of four by unknown assailants and dropped in the woods to fend for herself. She found comfort and family among a group of monkeys, whose land she happened to stumble upon. The jungle, being an unforgiving place, forced Chapman to learn the ropes quickly, and she found solace in belonging to a group, regardless of species. In fact, as time progressed, she became more comfortable as a monkey than as a human, even being shunned by the indigenous people in the South American jungle. Throughout her time spent in the forest, Chapman learned an important lesson about belonging; Family is not just about who you appear to belong to... or who you look like... [it] is found anywhere you are loved and cared for. Unfortunately, this lesson was demonstrated again and again, as one day the little girl was taken from the jungle and began a more difficult life trying to survive the dangers of a people s world. Sold to a brothel, only to run away and become a street-hustler, then later staying with an abusive Mafioso family, life was not easy for the girl of many names, until finally one woman took pity on her and offered her to a better life. This book, which is as much a memoir about the importance of classification and belonging as it is about the endurance of the human spirit, will be enjoyed by those looking for a story of perseverance through even the greatest obstacles life brings.