Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Know My First Name Is Steven by Mike Echols

Seven Year old Steven Stayner thought it was okay to get in the car with "Reverend" Parnell because the "Reverend" has asked to speak to Steven's mother about church.What happened after that was seven years of being held captive by Parnell.Steven endured abuse so terrible that he forgot his own name.Parnell evaded capture by moving his prisoner from one cheap motel to the next.Finally Steven made a desperate escape with five year old Timmy White,another boy who had recently been abducted by Parnell.

This book boggles the mind.This is an old story but will still strike a chord as the crime of child abduction is even more prevalent today as it was in 1972.This little boy will have your heart in the palm of his hands after a few chapters.The writer Mike Echols writes this story so well and with such passion that I wondered about him.What I did find out is that Mike Echols is a strong force against child abuse and his passion and dedication to this subject flows through his writing.

The book details the crime when the abduction took place, the seven years of abuse endured by Steven, the thought processes the young boy went through as he made the final decision to escape in order to save his little friend Timmy White from going through the same abuse he had been through.

But the plot thickens.In movies that would have been the end of the story.The young boy is saved and returned to his parents and everyone lives happily ever after.In real life,as in this true crime book,Steven returns to his family and battles demons his entire life.I do not want to give away the entire story but part of it is the fact that his older brother Cary Steiner is eventually convicted and put on death row for being the Yosemite serial killer.This book updates all these happenings until the end.What is worse is Cary Stayner related in his trial that he had been abused by his father and uncle and always felt a lot of guilt for not protecting his younger brother.This just shocked me.Some children just never stand a chance.If Steven had not been abducted then he would have most likely still gone through abuse at the hands of his father.

What will absolutely disgust you is that the child abductor Parnell is only sent to jail for 8 years of which he only served 5.Bear in mind that this animal was convicted in 1950 for the molestation and kidnapping of an 8 year old child.Then remember he was in jail for only 5 years for the Steven Stayner kidnapping and abuse.As late as 2003,this animal was caught trying to buy a 4 year old child.He still remained free as he was thought to not be a threat to society as he was in a wheel chair.

If you have a child please make a point of reading this book.Steven Stayner was abducted even though his mother had warned him about talking to strangers.There are so many things we need to be aware of as parents and any extra information is good.

If you would like to add your voice against child abuse and vote for stronger laws against criminals who abuse and murder children please go to
Online petition - Child Abuse Prevention Act and the following is for a South African petition I would advise you sign on for both because all children are our future not just the ones in our country.

If you would like to find out more about this book then go to Kalahari Books for South African readers or to Amazon below

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