"Daddy's Little Princess" Adi Linial
A story about childhood, motherhood, death and the miracle of a
newfound passion for life.
Daddy's Little Princess tells Maya's story, a story about growing up in a household where
physical and emotional violence are prevalent. Maya struggles to become a good girl and win
her abusive father's love. As she slowly comes of age, she realizes it's a war she can't win.
Maya grows up to be a sensitive, rebellious teenager, who fights for her place in the world,
though she frequently gives up and resorts to self-harm.
Maya leads a double life.
In her outer life, she's a pretty, successful teenage girl, always friendly and smiling.
She's an honor class student and her boyfriend is the most popular boy in school. Her dark life,
completely unrelated to her outer life, takes place simultaneously. Bearing the burden of her shameful secret, Maya becomes an expert at pretense and lies.
She spends her twenties just trying to survive, both financially and emotionally, while estranged from her home and family. The knowledge that her younger sister is still being abused by their father causes Maya great pain, but she chooses to stay away and save herself.
Maya becomes a woman who lives on the edge. She's not afraid to die and she walks around feeling like she has nothing to lose. After several years, she meets her partner and future husband, who is determined to teach her that love exists in the world, unconditional love, despite the monster within her.
Maya's relationship with the monster is complex. Her father's voice and the violence it entails live on inside her. On one hand, she's ashamed by the monster and tries to suffocate it, but on the other hand, she uses it to feel empowered and alive. It continues to rule Maya all the more forcefully when she becomes a mother herself and loses control. It motivates her to beat her own children, and she sinks into a guilty conscience and suicidal thoughts, until she eventually finds her own unique way to break the chain of violence she was born into and save her family and herself.
Maya's voice is the voice of hundreds of thousands of children growing up in violent and abusive homes, giving children and adults the hope that they can create a different life and break the chain.
Daddy's Little Princess was written by Adi Linial.
She is 43 years old and lives in the moshav of Sho'eva in Israel with her husband and two sons.
"The 'Daddy's Little Princess' status doesn't always come with a promise of happiness and security.
Adi Linial skillfully illustrates the life of a family where love, caring and parental responsibility are expressed in a twisted, abusive way.
In a gripping, intimate style and with absolute sincerity, she reveals a multi-generational loop of physical and verbal violence, and the attempt to stop it with the help of self-awareness and much inner strength."
Amnon Jackont, Israeli author, editor and book reviewer
"The book is a therapeutic journey that evokes many emotions - pain, rage, helplessness – but it doesn't stop at the difficult experience.
Adi's words take the reader through a powerful, gripping experience, arriving at healing, understanding and forgiveness at its end. Daddy's Little Princess courageously and eloquently exposes things that are usually kept secret, and as such, passed on to the next generation as subconscious behavior, while they continue with the loop of pain. In this book, Adi teaches us how to change karma and create a new life, even through the most difficult crises. Anyone can find healing and growth in this book, particularly those who experienced such pain in their own childhood."
Michal Gazit, journalist and writer, creativity coach
"Adi uses her huge talent to describe difficult experiences of violence and humiliation. I felt the pain and humiliation as if I were the one experiencing them. It made me want to run out and help that girl at that very moment, to voice her scream.
Alongside the difficult experiences, Adi describes the protagonist's inspiring way of coping, overcoming and healing.
Daddy's Little Princess is a fascinating, powerful, disturbing, exciting, inspirational and important book.
It's a book that contains great pain, but also love and optimism. It's a book that makes you think about raising children, about listening, about controlling your anger, about coping with difficulties, about hiding, about compassion and about forgiveness.
It's been a month and a half since I read the book, and I'm still thinking about it and its implied meanings. When a book is still on your mind long after you've read it, that's the sign that it's a good book."
Ricky Ravid, copyeditor
"'Mom, why are you crying?' Ella, my 6.5-year-old daughter, asked yesterday, while I was reading a book that was written by a woman dear to my heart.
'I'm reading a story that's a bit sad,' I replied.
'Does it have a happy ending at least?'
'Oh… I'm sure it does!'
Adi, it's been a long time since I read a book that was so intense. I knew your writing was gripping, I knew it was moving, but I wasn't expecting such intensity! Your writing shoots darts straight to the heart, which starts bleeding right from the start and continues to alternately heal and bleed throughout the book. And the ending is indeed happy, clever and full of wisdom.
You've given every parent food for thought, precisely because the protagonist herself, as a parent, comes from such a low point.
Friends – this book will be available soon – it's a must-read!"
"I got my copy of Daddy's Little Princess at the exciting launch party yesterday. I can't stop reading. It's a thrilling, intense book.
Three words are enough to describe the joy of reading it: woman, courage, inspiration!"
"It is now 2:10am and I just finished eagerly reading the second half of the book.
All I can say right now is "wow"… or in two words, "wow, wow!"
This is the thought going through my mind right now, encompassing the entire journey you took me through in your book.
I feel like I just watched a long film, where the feelings you evoked in me were a series of emotions. Sadness, compassion, grief, hope, courage, tenderness and what not…
I feel dizzy. I don't know if it's because of the intense experience or due to my effort to read till the end of the book in a little over two hours. But I knew I had to write to you right now, when the memories and emotions inside me are still raw…"
"I finished reading your book and I have so much to say to you…
I couldn't put it down. I wanted to keep reading, but on the other hand, I didn't want it to end…
And now that I'm finished, I feel like starting again from the beginning – really!
I really enjoyed reading your book. Kudos for the courage and sincerity it took to share such difficult, intense experiences, without sugar-coating anything.
For me, you are the living proof that it's possible to find a new, better place in life even when you've grown up in a difficult household.
I wish myself the same."
"I started reading yesterday and I just couldn't stop.
What's interesting about the book is that the topic of domestic violence is seemingly the primary topic, but there are so many other layers where anyone could relate to the protagonist.
For instance, the conflict between her desire to experience love and sexuality and her fear of what people will say and think or the fear of losing a guy, the protagonist's coming of age and her struggle to be a good parent.
It's simply electrifying. I felt like I was in a time machine, going back to times of confusion in my own life.
Thank you so much for such a powerful reading experience."
"This is an unforgettable book!
The writing is excellent, eloquent, suspenseful.
It stays on your mind long after you've finished reading.
Anyone can find themselves in it. I'm waiting for your next book!"
"I already wrote about the book the day I finished reading (and it took me 24 hours to finish it, including sleep and a few other things in the middle… and I'm a slow reader).
I feel the need to promote Adi's mission again.
On one hand, it's a book that's almost impossible to read because it hurts so much inside, and on the other hand, it's so gripping, eloquent and piercing that you can't put it down."
"I don't remember ever feeling so moved by a book.
You won't believe me if I tell you that I sat and wept loudly. I am also a mother of two young children and I could relate to the feeling of the lack of control that sometimes overwhelms us in our daily routine.
You've encouraged me by letting me know I'm not the only one, and that there's a way to cope and move forward, and to love the kids to no end.
I wish you more of this amazing writing."
"I felt that anyone who was hurt as a child must read this book and let its words wash away the pain that in still living inside them, let the book produce a healing cry inside them, deep inside, a cry of understanding and acceptance, a cry of self-love."
"Most of the time there were tears in my eyes while I was reading, and sometimes those tears trickled out.
The book fascinated me, moved me, put life in perspective and taught me some things about myself.
I want to thank you and I wish there were more people and writers like you! Thank you…"
"The book you wrote overwhelmed me with emotion…
I was excited, I was angry, I was scared, I laughed, I was alarmed, I blushed, I was enthusiastic, and mainly, I learned to breathe.
Thank you for a book where you exposed everything with no inhibitions.
The way you write sinks into every cell in my body."
Daddy's Little Princess" was very successful in Israel.
Daddy's Little Princess" was very successful in Israel. Many readers were excited to read it and felt inspired by the story and its message. 1,500 copies have been sold within a year – a large number for such a small country as Israel.
"Daddy's Little Princess" has been reviewed in the biggest social workers' magazine in Israel and has been the subject of focused talks, including quotes from the book. It has also been reviewed in various newspapers and popular blogs in Israel – you can see a list here. I have received hundreds of touching comments and have saved them all.
After publishing the book, I began holding intimate group meetings where I read passages from the book, talk about my personal journey and conduct an open conversation between the attendees.
"Daddy's Little Princess" is a candidate for the Sapir Prize for Literature, a prestigious Israeli award for Israeli writers.