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Believe Like a Child by Paige Dearth Review by Jackie Paulson © 06/2012 Paige Dearth was a victim of child rape. Paige escaped from her pedophile uncle at the age of 19 and got married. She married and moved to Chula Vista, California. After two years of being married, she got pregnant, only to find out her husband was addicted to heroin. When her baby was eight months old she moved back to Pennsylvania. It is Paige’s faith that kept her strong and able to face all of her fears to bring such a wonderful true to life story. I have to say that it is an honor to be asked by Paige to review her book, I could feel the pain that Paige endured as a child. I love to read books to learn from them, but this book taught me how Paige endured her hardships but kept the fight of life to be better and overcome such horrific torment. It is proof that Paige can encourage and inspire each of her readers despite her lifetime trials. Main Character is Alessa (Meaning defender of mankind), at age seven years old found her uncle in her bed, forcing sex upon her. Alessa is the youngest of four kids. Main Character is Caterina whom was the youngest of 14 children, Alessa’s Mother. In Alessa’s family turmoil was what Alessa’s family thrived on, whereas all Alessa wanted is to be around people who would make her feel loved and like she belonged in her family. This is not the case as she is the outcast everywhere she goes. Alessa’s family was very poor making her life all that much harder in the real world. How did Uncle Danny get to Alessa? At age six Alessa’s grandma died and this was her best friend. Grandma made Alessa feel special, unlike all of the other family members. So during and after the funeral Uncle Danny made Alessa feel comforted, warm and loved. Alessa felt loved for the first time since Granny died. Uncle Danny was well liked by all family members; he made money, funny and well rounded type of guy. Danny was the type of guy anyone whom would love to be around and like. Danny’s girlfriend dies in a tragic car accident which brought him to realize he needed to be around family so Caterina offers a room for him. This helped Danny and Caterina because he needed a place to live and he paid rent for the room which in turn helped out Caterina with daily necessities the poor family needed. At night Uncle Danny would comfort Alessa and let her fall asleep in his bedroom. Then around six months after granny died, Uncle Danny “raped” Alessa. This made Alessa feel isolated and alone, at the age of seven. After the first rape, Alessa started to sleep in her own bed and Uncle Danny would enter into the room late at night and continue the abuse.

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By the time Alessa is nine years old, Uncle Danny made it a nightly ritual to help himself to Alessa. By the time she was 12, Uncle Danny wanted more from her and decided to have sex in ways “only a pedophile would do.” Alessa childhood was robbed but despite it all it did prepare her with the resilience to hold on to her own dreams and later in life be greatly blessed.

Chapter 1 Caterina’s lack of education had not stood in the way of mastering the “art of manipulation.” As an adolescent, Alessa would always face the brunt of her mother’s criticism, directed primarily at her lack of looks. Caterina was very beautiful and wanted Alessa not to dress so homely. Alessa was different than all of the other family members. As a discipline technique Caterina used a wooden spoon until one day it broke and then decides to use a metal spoon as her punishment of choice. Two years, after Alessa’s first rape, she learned “how to be a survivor.” Deep down Alessa knew she would escape the nightmare. She was determined that someday; she would have all the things she dreamt of including love and a family. Back when all of the abuse was happening, it was not normal to actually “tell” anyone what was happening in fear that she would not be helped or that “they” would believe her story. With that said, Alessa tells her mom about the abuse that was happening and the mother did not care. Since Alessa now knew the abuse from Uncle Danny would keep happening she vowed to herself that she would escape, somehow, someday! Chapter 2 When Alessa went to school, she knew she was different there as well. She was the outcast and a loner. She did not make friends and did not care. Alessa’s home life was so horrible that she just kept to herself. As a surprise to Alessa, as she was in the bathroom washing up before getting into the car with Uncle Danny, she met Ronda. Ronda actually “talked” to Alessa and then invited her to a party in the woods. Excited, Alessa accepted the invite and Ronda would walk over to Alessa’s house for they could walk to the outdoor hangout. This was Alessa’s first invite anywhere outside the horrible house of abuse and she was more than delighted to attend at the age of fourteen. Chapter 3 The “keg” party was at the “Rope” which was located at a small wooded area in Plymouth Meeting the small town In Pennsylvania, where they both lived and attend
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school. Why was it called the “Rope?” It was called that because there is a creek that runs through the woods in the place where all the kids would hang out and someone tied a thick “rope” on a big branch overhanging the creek. When Alessa and Ronda get to the location there are over twenty teenagers drinking and smoking “pot.” The other teens approach Alessa while Ronda walked into the woods with a boy that she is a “slut.” Alessa had just made a new friend so she defends Ronda. Chapter 4 As the argument died down a boy named Carl joins Alessa on a log to chat with her. They talk and drink beer and smoke pot. Alessa loved having just one person to acknowledge her at the party. Chapter 5 This began a wonderful friendship and ritual between Alessa and Ronda as they spent every weekend at “the rope.” After going to the rope Alessa would then get to spend the night at Ronda’s house and Alessa escaped Uncle Danny’s Ritual abuse. Although when Alessa does stay home, Uncle Danny tortures Alessa in ways only a sick man would do. This night Carl took Alessa into the woods and she kissed Carl. Then all of the sudden when Alessa tells Carl to stop, he forces himself upon her and “raped” her. When they are finished and walk back to the “rope” Alessa’s announced to Ronda that she wanted to leave. Alessa heard one night that Uncle Danny was “sterile.” She asked Ronda what that mean? Ronda explained that she would never get a baby because of it. Then Ronda understood that Uncle Danny was ruthless. Alessa loved being with Ronda and her mom, Zoe. While at their house she felt more safe and at home than her own house! (Imagine that)! After Carl “raped” Alessa (age 16) she stayed over at Ronda’s, Zoe announces that her (boyfriend of the night) cancelled and she would hang out with the two girls. The girls loved this idea. After awhile the door bell rings and it’s a woman. The girls run downstairs to hear a woman screaming at Zoe and then all of the sudden Ronda was shot and killed by this woman who then runs off. (Zoe was a one night stand to many men, and this women was one of the men’s wives, who shot Ronda by accident and not Zoe). Alessa was not allowed to call anyone or even attend Ronda’s Funeral. Alessa was beaten by her own mother and told to just attend school and come home. About a week before her 17th b day Alessa’s parents had to go to Atlanta on a trip and this is when Alessa is alone enough that Uncle Danny has his way with her several times a day!
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Then one night Danny tells her that he is inviting men friends over and that she will do as they ask (sexually or otherwise). Just the thought makes her want to throw up. She feels trapped and alone not knowing what to do. Alessa then decides that she needs to escape and at the right moment, runs to Ronda’s mom, Zoe’s home. When she arrives she finally tells Zoe all of the horrible abuse that she had endured since the age of 7. Ronda did not even know before she was shot and killed. Zoe then decides that she needs to help Alessa and runs to the bank and withdrawals 2,000.00 to help in the escape. Zoe put her on a train to Philadalphia and guides her as to what to do and where to go. Zoe booked a room for her on her credit card so she had a couple nights’ sleep and could figure where to live and be able to get a job. The next day Alessa searches for an apartment and makes arrangements to look at it. Alessa did not like the neighborhood or the place to live but knew her options were few. By the third day she moved into the new apartment which was nothing special other than a cheap room to provide for her until she found a job. But for the first time in her life, she felt invigorated as she did all of this alone and she felt safe. Each day Alessa would call Zoe to fill her in and keep her posted on her status and safety and one day Zoe tells her, “your mom called looking for you.” Zoe made a promise to never tell anyone where she was, so Zoe plays the game of “I don’t know anything.” Zoe was bound to help Alessa no matter what! Alessa finds a job at the Dollar Store and works until close. The only problem is that in the neighborhood it is not so safe and boys harass her. While taking the bus she meets Tasha and Tasha lives close by and warns Alessa about the boys who are harassing her. Tasha told her that those boys don’t mess with me because my brother will kill them. I sell pot for my brother Harlin, her brother. They meet up at night and go to see Harlin to make a drug deal and they all talk. Tasha is 18 graduated high school in June. Chapter 11 Alessa will be 17 in three days and to celebrate Tasha invites Alessa to Pulsations which is a night club. Eager to go, Alessa gets a fake ID from Tasha and they celebrate at Pulsations Club. Alessa opens up to Tasha about her Uncle Danny and messed up home life and Tasha reaches to give her a warm hug. Tasha could not believe the stuff Alessa went through for such a young girl. Chapter 12 On Alessa’s birthday Tasha meets Alessa at the bus stop and they walk to her house where she and Harlin sleep. Tasha does her makeup and hair and makes her pretty. When she tells Harlin, “you remember Alessa from the other night right?” Harlin couldn’t believe the nice transformation in Alessa and greets her kindly. They dance all
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night at Pulsations and Tasha tells Harlin not to mess with her new friend and that if he does, she will make him pay! So Harlin agrees for the time being because he wants to know what is so special about Alessa that Tasha defended her. Chapter 13 The job at the Dollar Store was paying Alessa’s rent and keeping her fed. For now, that would have to be good enough. She was proud that she was living on her own. And now, with Tasha as her best friend, it seemed that she could even enjoy life a little too. The two were almost inseparable daily. She does not call Zoe as much now that her new family was Tasha and Harlin and his gang. *Tasha is out of town visiting family* When…… After work one evening this boy “TAG” and his gang of friends kidnapped Alessa and brought her to the woods to rape and beat her. Alessa prayed to God before closing her eyes for the last time. When she re-opened her eyes, Harlin was there standing above her with a gun to threaten Tag and his gang. “One of the gang members was inside Alessa and when he stood up, most of the gang went running, but he froze. “Harlin took a knife split him from gut to heart.” Harlin then takes Alessa home to clean her up and tells her that he threaded the Tag gang enough that they won’t bother her no more! She was shaken and beaten and Harlin came to her rescue and that she was grateful for. Harlin realized that he liked Alessa. He was beginning to understand the special quality about her that his sister loved. He could see now that unlike other girls her age, Alessa took nothing in her life for granted. And her needs were minimal. All she wanted was to feel safe and be cared for. Harlin tells his gang, “Anyone who has to steal sex deserves to die.” Chapter 14 Alessa stayed overnight at Harlin’s and needed to rest before returning to work in two days. Tasha was out of town visiting family when this happened, so Harlin called Tasha to tell the horrific news and she returned home immediately concerned about her new friend and her beaten condition. Harlin and his gang go to visit Tag and his gang. When he gets to Tag he asked Tag, Why did you rape Alessa? Tag said he got carried away. Harlin told him that he broke the code of Dauphin Street when he raped Alessa. Harlin took Tag to a hidden seceded area and ordered him to take off his clothes as Tag begs for forgiveness. Harlin cut off his penis and poured gas and lit a match and that was the end of Tag. *In two days, Harlin killed both boys for the rape of Alessa.
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Then Harlin goes to the Dollar Store and demands that Alessa be put on day shift only and Mr. Brady complied. When Harlin asked of anything, people did what he said. He was a big man and a common drug dealer that no one would mess with. Harlin had an idea when he got home. He knew Alessa could dance, since he watched her at Pulsations, so he decided that Alessa could make money at Double Visions, making a ton of money. He would provide “protection” and she could dance naked for “Double Visions.” Chapter 15 Tasha finally arrives home and Alessa tells her about the gang rape and that Harlin “Killed a man.” Harlin took a knife and split him from guy to heart and was worried if someone finds out it was Harlan what would happen? Tasha tells her not to tell anyone! Tasha then thanks Harlin for saving her best friend from Tag and the other creep and that killing them was the nicest thing Harlin could have done for her and her best friend Alessa. Harlin tells his sister to convince Alessa that she can make tons of money at Double Visions and that Harlin would get half of what she brought in “for protection.” Alessa could then move into their house and both of the girls would be happy. Chapter 16 In four months Alessa would turn 18. She was now living with Harlin and one of the gang members drove Alessa to and from the Dollar Store job. Tasha convinces Alessa that she could be topless and make 1,500.00 a week dancing. She explained that no sex was to be done and that it is easy money. This way Alessa could get her GED and save money. They all three went to show Alessa the club and then Harlin convinces the owner that Alessa could dance. The owner gave Harlan 200.00 to buy a costume and get pretty for the next day’s audition to be accepted as a dancer. They bought the costume and Harlin had her do what he wanted at home to teach her what the men would expect as a test run before the audition. Alessa put in her mind that what she would do is consider this a business deal and she would do what Harlin wanted. Although, she felt like a cheap whore every day it was better than being at home with Uncle Danny. Chapter 18 Jay is the owner of Double Visions and Alessa had to perform for Jay in order to get a nightly gig dancing. Jay tells Harlan to stay put as Jay takes Alessa to his private office to perform. Jay introduced Shiver to Alessa because Shiver has been a dancer the longest at Double Visions.
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Alessa impressed Shiver and Jay and was sent with Shiver to dance to Def Leppard song. Alessa went out and amazed the crowd of men whom gave her the first 88.00 she ever made dancing. At the end of the night she gave Harlin half as promised. Chapter 19 Weeks went by as she danced and become friends with Shiver. When Alessa tells her that she gives 50% of all her money to Harlin, Shiver tells her that she is being used. The girls voted to give Alessa her stage name “Rana, which means beautiful.” Harlin expresses when she got home that he watched Alessa (Rana) turned down a lap dance. He then proceeds to tell her to do them when they are asked because it brings in more money for Him! Harlin told her to get into costume and he will show her how the men love a lap dance. While they are in a private room, she feeling like a cheap used whore, she complies feeling obligated. As Alessa (Rana) dances he rapes her and she felt she had no choice but to let him. Tasha expresses to Harlan that the more money Alessa gives to him, the more dope he seems to smoke. Harlin changes and tells his sister that this is the prostitute business and he owns Alessa. Tasha is very upset but knew she could not fight her brother on this. Chapter 20 Harlin’s gang saw a change in behavior as Harlan smoked “heroine” and became mean. “Alessa knew that she ran away from the prospect of servicing her Uncle Danny’s friends. And here she stood, before a man whom she had one idolized for saving her life. He had now been reduced to a pimp, searching for an easy way to score enough cash for a hit of crack.” Harlin makes her lap dance for each gang member to test her abilities. By the end of the night she felt used, worn, abused, and worthless. Chapter 21 Alessa realizes that she needs to escape the clutches of Harlin and all that he wanted in her as a prostitute. She plans her escape with money she had saved from dancing. Chapter 22 This night she was dropped off onto the street to prostitute for Harlan and she planned her escape. She arrives at a shelter and they deny her but say she can return in the morning at 8:00. This is when she meets another wonderful character, Ebby! She is the day manager and the therapist for the women who stay at the shelter.
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Chapter 23 and Chapter 24 Alessa shares her story with Ebby in the shelter about her abuse and when Alessa was finished Ebby had never heard of such hardship for Alessa. Ebby hugged her and promised to help her with her future. Chapter 25 When Harlin asks his sister where Alessa went, Tasha denies any involvement in her leaving. She is afraid of Harlin herself but stays true to her best friend, Alessa. Harlin’s behavior and obsession with Alessa got worse because of his addiction to Heroine. Chapter 26 Alessa shared that she has been abused, a whole, a used girl her whole life practically. She has not job, no place to live and now needs medical attention according to Ebby and Alessa did not know what to think or do next. It is the clear guidance of her therapist and counselor Ebby that helps her the most. Chapter 27 Harlin starts going crazy without Alessa and her money to buy crack. He then sells anything he can that he owned for another buy of crack. Harlin threatens Tasha that she will be “his prostitute” for money if she does not confess where Alessa is. Tasha calls the shelter to warn Alessa and that means that Alessa must move on fast. Chapter 28 In two weeks Ebby had encouraged Alessa to be the best she can be. Alessa cuts her hair, dyes it and transforms into another person who is really beautiful. Then she started to move to protect herself and her friend Tasha. Chapter 29 Ebby calls the police and a man named Jon comes to the shelter to hear about the threats given to Alessa. The shelter was at risk for being attacked by Harlan and it needed to be protected immediately. The Philadelphia police were to post two men in the shelter for everyone’s protection. Ebby decided to take Alessa to her house. Yes, imagine that, the day manger took Ebby to her house for protection. WOW! Chapter 30 When Alessa told Ebby at the shelter, “no one in the world would miss me if I died,” and Ebby responded, “I want to be the kind of person people miss when I am gone.” This is why Ebby took in Alessa to her house for safety.
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Chapter 31 Ryan is Ebby’s husband and he is not happy that Alessa will be staying in his house. Chapter 32 Harlin found the shelter where Alessa was staying at, and then he stabbed Samantha in the shoulder for not sharing information about Alessa. An officer shot Harlin in the left thigh because Harlin pulled out a gun, sending Samantha and Harlin to the hospital. Ryan got all bent out of shape and fought with Ebby about Alessa, which made Alessa leave the house on foot. She called Ebby and lied that she was at another shelter. She did not want to impose on them and cause fights between them. She would rather be on the streets that do that to Ebby. Alessa hung out at a train station and at the end of the night when the security guards came she knew she had to leave. A teenager named Sara told her to follow her to a bridge where the gang of homeless teenagers lives about two blocks away. Alessa was relieved to have somewhere to go and with another girl. Chapter 33 Sara reveled that all the kids had been either sexually or physically abused by someone in the family. Everyone one of them had fled their homes to live on the streets. She herself had been raped by her brother when she was 12. When Sara told her mother, she had been beaten so badly she could not walk for weeks. After the buses healed and she was able to walk again, Sara had left home. She had been on the threats for six years now only 18 years old. Sara explained all of the rules of being on the streets with this particular group. The youngest girl was Lucy and she was eight years old. Being new to the homeless group it was Alessa’s job to take care of Lucy. Chapter 34 Alessa finds a pay phone to call Ebby to tell her about her “new shelter” and her new friend, Lucy. *Alessa lies to Ebby* because she does not want to be a burden on her and her husband but also wants to keep the friendship as Ebby did help Alessa. Ebby talked to both of the girls on the phone and start a wonderful friendship between the three of them. Lucy was sexually abused since kindergarten and one day her parents dropped her off at a McDonalds and never went back. Alessa’s heart sunk!

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Winter was going to come quickly so the group left one night leaving Alessa and Lucy to care for them. Alessa knew Lucy could not handle the cold, so she found an abandoned house to go to with her. Chapter 39 There were other homeless teenagers at the house, drinking, partying, doing drugs and being ruthless but somehow Alessa convinced them to stay in a corner with Lucy. Alessa has Crystal take care of Lucy and goes out to find a job. Page 215 When Harlin stabbed Samantha in the shoulder at the shelter he was convicted of assault with a deadly *weapon two months ago. He was sentenced to give years in prison and will be eligible for parole in three years. Chapter 44 Alessa and Lucy start living at a “hotel” (according to wiki Hostels provide budget oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge and sometimes a kitchen). This is an arrangement that Ebby helped arrange. Alessa went and got a job dancing nude. Lucy is put into a school, at age 9. Chapter 45 Alessa turned 19 and wants help from Ebby to adopt Lucy, Legally. Chapter 46 Alessa dances and makes 1500.00 a week. She attends school to get her GED. She accomplishes this by July. Alessa helped work in shelters and on the streets and wants to go to college to become a counselor. She can relate to what they are going through and encouraged them. She would volunteer every moment she possibly could. On Page 226 after watching the 4th of July fireworks they head across the street to call a cab to get home. As she was walking a boy bundled over screamed for help, and as Alessa went to see what was wrong, a gang of homeless boys came. They threatened Lucy with rape and Alessa would do anything to avoid that, so she said let the girl take this dollar to the restaurant across the street and you can have your way with me… anything you boys wish. They finally let Lucy go and Alessa knew she was in trouble. One of the boys entry was so brutal that she screamed out in agony. In response, he punched her in the ribs and went back to thrusting into her. One of the men holding her
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legs reached in, while his friend was on top of her and sliced her thigh with a large knife he was holding. She flinched backward in pain and shock. The man having sex with her paused then yanked her head up by her hair and slammed it back into the ground. By 11:30 she begged God to keep Lucy safe, thinking she would surely die. Basically, Lucy was told to stay put until Alessa got her. When Alessa did not come, Lucy asked the waitress who was closing the restaurant to use the phone. Ruby said yes. Ruby listening to Lucy tell about what the boys threatened them with and Ebby came to the rescue. Chapter 47 Ebby called a detective she knew at the Philadelphia Police Department. Ebby and the police arrived to gather Lucy, whom took them to the underpass where she was earlier with Alessa. There, they found her beaten and unconscious. They called an ambulance and took Alessa to the hospital. An arm, a femur and several ribs had been fractured. Her body bruised all over including genitals. As soon as Alessa awake, she asked Ebby about Lucy, and Ebby reassured her that she was fine. Alessa drifted off to sleep. Chapter 48 The doctors have to insert a metal rod into Alessa’s leg. In order to recover Ebby found help from the Housing Authority. Chapter 49 Alessa tells Ebby about the “violent ruthless rape scene” and vows to get back on her feet for Lucy. Chapter 50 To recover Alessa had to get physical therapy; Remo is his name. Remo had been born in the city and raised by his foster parents, Patrick and Hannah. He regularly volunteered at homeless shelters, providing light physical therapy to some of their residents. He and Alessa had a similar sense of humor. They get along great as the therapy continues. Remo helps Alessa to build up her confidence. Chapter 51 Slowly Alessa recovers and builds a friendship with Remo and Lucy too. In her three months of therapy, Alessa had received financial aid for community college and started her first real college class. Remo officially asks Alessa on a date. He said to her, “the

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important thing in life is not where you came from, but where you are going. You are going places.” Chapter 52 Alessa is on a date with Remo and she cannot decide if she should confess her entire childhood history of abuse. Remo romances her for the first time and the kiss they enjoy is much different from all of the men who forced sex with her. She felt safe and confident for the first time in her life. They go back to his one bedroom apartment when she finally discloses all the gory details of her horrid childhood until now. He replies, Alessa, you did what you needed to do to come out of the other side alive. All your past experiences have gone not making who you are today. He loves that Alessa takes care of Lucy as if she is her own child. He is drawn to Alessa and she is drawn to him. Chapter 53 The next few weeks become Alessa dream. Remo is two years older than Alessa, she is 19 he is 21. They go to a local pub and she recognized a man she performed a lap dance for before the rape. Remo takes her aside to talk it out and make her know that she is beautiful and the only women that is important to him. He tells her that her past is not an issue for him and to just relax while they are together. They get back to his apartment and make passionate love for the first time. Chapter 54 Alessa and Remo decide to live together with Lucy. They hunt for an apartment and when they finally decide to move into one, they are all happy. Then they go to meet Remo’s parents. Hannah is a decorator and Patrick is an attorney. The parents were hesitant when first meeting Alessa, and had too many questions. In the first visit Remo and Alessa knew the mother did not approve. This is not something that bothered Remo but it did bother Alessa. The next few chapters talk about both families and issues and it shows how much Remo really loves Alessa and Lucy. Chapter 77 Alessa talks to Remo when Remo’s mom excluded Lucy and Alessa from a weekend family photo. Chapter 78 to end of book Basically, Harlin hunts down Alessa and finds her and he kidnaps her. He tells her that he killed Lucy and Remo so after she shot and kills Harlin, she kills herself! In the end, Remo and Lucy are alive and well, and he raises Lucy as his own.
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Believe like a Child by Paige Dearth © 2012 written by Jackie Paulson

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