A Beautiful Child by Matt Birkbeck
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the story off a young girl who was abducted by a man (or she was given to him by her father) when she was about four to six years old. She was a beautiful child even then, but she managed to be an exceptional student who received a scholarship to Georgia Tech and a stunningly beautiful young woman. She wanted to be an astronaut and it appears as if she would have achieved that goal had she been allowed to. Instead, her father put her in stripper bars and basically became her pimp. Eventually he was implicated in her death.
I just finished this and found it to be impossible to put down. It is amazing to think about all "Sharon" accomplished in school, knowing what her home life was. I can't help but think of what she could have done in a nurturing home. Her abductor blamed all his trouble and bad behavior on his upbringing and yet he provided such a horrible life for her and she rose above it. What a tragedy all around.
My feelings about then end of the book are divided. It is amazing how much law enforcement has improved in the area of missing children. Where once there was little done nationally and local law enforcement didn't get involved until the child was missing 24 hours, now there are the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, America's Most Wanted, and numerous other groups to help families whose children are missing. Local law enforcement have the child's description on the police database within the hour, but still too many children are abducted and murdered.
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