Escaping Life on the Streets, One Helping Hand at a Time
An astonishing story of triumph and a fierce determination to give back
Carissa Phelps was a runner. By twelve, she had run away from home, dropped out of school, and fled blindly into the arms of a brutal pimp, who made her walk the hard streets of central California. But even when she escaped him, she could not outrun the crushing inner pain of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. With little to hope for, she expected to end up in prison, or worse.
But then her life was transformed through the unexpected kindness of a teacher and a counselor. Miraculously, by the time Carissa turned thirty, she had accomplished the unimaginable, graduating from UCLA with both a law degree and an MBA. She had left the streets behind, yet her path would eventually draw her back, this time working to help homeless and at-risk youth find their own paths to a better life.
This is Carissa’s story, the tale of a girl who lost herself and survived, against all odds, through the generosity of strangers. It is an inspiring true story about finding the courage to run toward healing and summoning the strength to light the way for others.
Praise for Runaway Girl:
"This devastatingly honest memoir is not for the fainthearted. . . . Kafka famously wrote, 'A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us.' Runaway Girl just might become such a book. [Phelps] gives the reader valuable insight into a problem that is larger than most people realize."
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Runaway Girl demonstrates a great amount of insight and maturity. Crisp writing and perfectly chosen events highlight the story of what happens to the majority of 12 year olds on the street.”
—School Library Journal, selected as one of the “Best Adult Books for Teens 2012”
“Riveting . . . A genuinely important book that casts the problem of sex trafficking in America into stunning, heartbreaking relief.”
“A brave memoir”
“A runaway and school dropout by age 12 who worked the streets for a brutal pimp, Phelps finally freed herself and is now a lawyer also working with a global collective helping survivors of sex trafficking rebuild their lives. This memoir, following hard on the heels of an award-winning documentary, is stirring some interest.”
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