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Summary

In July 1965, teenagers Sylvia and Jenny Likens were left in the temporary care of Gertrude Baniszewski, a middle-aged single mother, and her seven children. 

The Baniszewski household was overrun with children. There were few rules and ample freedom. Sadly, the environment created a dangerous hierarchy of social Darwinism where the strong preyed on the weak. 

What transpired in the following three months was both riveting and chilling.

In October 1965, the body of Sylvia Likens was found in the basement of the Baniszewski home, where she had been imprisoned. She was starved, beaten, burned, and had the words "I am a prostitute and proud of it" carved into her stomach. 

Gertrude Baniszewski oversaw and facilitated the torture and eventual murder of Sylvia Likens. While she played an active role in Sylvia's death, the majority of the abuse was carried out by her children and other neighborhood youths.

The case shocked the entire nation and would later be described as "The single worst crime perpetuated against an individual in Indiana's history".

Caution: This audiobook contains descriptive accounts of abuse and violence. If you are especially sensitive to this material, it might be advisable not to listen any further.

©2018 Ryan Green (P)2018 Ryan Green

What members say

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Shocking

Im not sure how to describe this book, I would recommend it to fans of true crime, but I was thankful for the warning given to me by the author before I listened to it

It is a truely shocking book, and really hard to listen to in places, at times I felt physically sick. It is very graphic

How a mum, or another human can cause this sort of suffering to a child is beyond me, and to have the sort of control over others, to be able to get them to keep quite and even participate.

Sylvia was let down by so many people, it really is heart breaking

I was given this book in exchange for an honest review

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  • mandy
  • 18-08-18

wow!

Chilling, shocking and totally riveting! I'm not going to sleep well after listening to this but the narration was fantastic. Crazy story but highly recommend for any true crime lover!


I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review

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  • BookLover
  • 17-08-18

Crazy A$$ People

My heart literally is breaking for Sylvia, that no one, not one person stopped to help her or to investigate this horrible, horrible woman. I literally do not understand how people can be so sadistic and hurt others....the abuse this poor girl endured should never, ever have occurred. What sick person, would burn another with their cigarettes and encourage others to do the same....let alone, brand them with hot needles. I started crying imagining the pain this poor young lady went through and the humiliation, pain and loneliness that she must have felt.


This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom

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  • Kimberly Berg
  • 16-08-18

Gripping and Heartbreaking

Not for the weak or soft heated. Written along the lines of A Child Called It. So sad and horrible. This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com.

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  • cafurg
  • 14-08-18

Unimaginably Tragic

This is the story of Sylvia Likens of Indianapolis, Indiana in the 1960s. She was brutally, brutally, brutally, tortured and murdered for no reason whatsoever. I feel that it is important to say her name. I live in Indy and have known this story all my life. This book has a slightly different perspective, so it was interesting to kind of get the back story of the adult murderous ringleader. I refuse to state her name, although I will never forget it. Sylvia suffered horrendously basically due to what began as shallow jealously. How, and why, the neighborhood kids came over and joined in, is beyond me. The penalties for these people were either non-existent or extremely lenient. None of the perpetrators should have ever seen the light of day. It is a difficult story, but Sylvia deserves for the truth to be told. The narration was smooth and easy to follow.
Rest in Peace, Dear Sylvia.
-I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom.

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  • jstep
  • 13-08-18

Simply unbelievable how beyond cruel people can be

Torture Mom by Ryan Green left me pretty speechless. The fact that it's a true story is just...wow. I know the book has a warning that if you're sensitive to descriptive account of abuse and violence then you may not want to listen to this story is a well placed warning. I love true crime, horror, suspense, etc. and this was just over the top. Gertrude Baniszewski is pure evil, plain and simple. What she did, and allowed and encouraged others to do to poor Sylvia and Jenny Likens is just reprehensible beyond anything I can even describe. While listening, I was thinking of the psychological affect that she had on her children and the other kids that she allowed and encouraged to torture Sylvia and I'm just speechless. It's difficult to listen to, but if you want a true crime story that will really get under your skin, this is the book you want to listen to.

Steve White did a good job narrating this audiobook. I simply don't have a complaint. Did his narration blow me away? No, but this wasn't a book where the narration allowed the reader to really show off narration skills. He did a good job and I had no problem following along and enjoying the listen, as well as one can "enjoy" this type of story. I'd listen to narrations of his in the future. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher for an honest review.

Did you find this review helpful? If so, would you please take a moment and select the 'helpful' button below? Thanks so much!

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  • Ashley Hedden
  • 13-08-18

Great Read

Torture Mom: A Chilling True Story of Confinement, Mutilation and Murder (True Crime) by Ryan Green was a good read. As a disclaimer I will say that this book has a few very cringe moments and has some very graphic moments. Sylvia and Jenny were left in the care of Gertrude in 1965. This book followed the horrifying true crime at the hands of Gertrude and the kids in her care. This is a good read for any true crime fan.

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  • Tyler
  • 12-08-18

well read

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

The in depth story of this is disturbing. It truly makes you wonder what people are capable of.

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  • Jeff & Sabrena
  • 09-08-18

Simply an unbelievable true crime

It amazes me that this abuse and torture went on for so long and resulted in murder before it was discovered. This book reads like a fiction thriller. In fact, I read just such a thriller: The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum.

Ryan Green has covered most of the important details of this case in a highly readable, albeit quite disturbing, narrative, starting with Gertrude's background and culminating with recent updates on the perpetrators. And Steve White's superb performance complements Green's writing. This is simply an unbelievable true crime.

NOTE: I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • Rhonda
  • 09-08-18

Unbelievably horrifying

First, I have to say this was difficult to listen to. At times, I doubted it was real but after doing very little internet searching I found out it (unfortunately) is a real case. Secondly, this broke my heart that so many people knew or suspected something was going on at that house and failed to alert anyone. The extreme amount of torture Silvia went through before dying was unbelievable and sickening. For anyone with a weak stomach or who is very sensitive to descriptions of degradation or torture I would recommend not listening to this. For others, this is an amazing story of the sickness of one woman and how it was able to spread to a whole household. It is well-written and doesn't leave anything to the imagination. The narration is very good and helped to make this easier to listen to. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.