Individuum publishes a book The True Life of Lolita is a nonfiction by American journalist and writer Sarah Weinman. It will be available for purchase on paper or read on Bookmate. The book tells how at the end of the 40s of the last century in the United States, pedophile Frank Laselle kidnapped eleven-year-old Sally Horner and held her in captivity for almost two years.
Vladimir Nabokov read about this story in the newspapers, and in his "Lolita" you can find many references to the Horner case. Sarah Weinman explores in detail who the kidnapped American was, why she could not escape from her tormentor for two years, and how exactly the writer rethought her fate in his book.
It took Lasalle and Sally a week, if not more, to get to San Jose. They crossed Texas, drove along the Oklahoma border, then through New Mexico, Arizona, Southern California, and finally reached their destination via South Bay. Sally has never been that far from Camden, and she has never visited since. Sally had been in captivity with Lasalle for two years, from the age of eleven. She constantly felt his presence, even when she was alone and, it would seem, could have herself. The seven or ten days they were on the road, side by side in the car, she probably felt trapped.
As soon as Sally pondered her situation, she must have been overcome with despair or anger over what Lasalle had deprived her of. Or maybe she was trying to focus on how to survive at any cost. After a few days in the car and nights in a trailer parked at the next resting place along the track, after endless lunches and dinners at roadside eateries, Sally must have been completely exhausted.
Palm trees grew along the wide avenues of the West Coast, in particular Northern California, and cars drove freely, did not stand in endless traffic jams, like at home. Police officers in uniform shorts patrolled the streets on motorcycles. The air was not as humid as in Dallas or the East Coast. But the thoughts of a better life, which had brought Lasalle and many others before him, did not occur to Sally. She already had something to think about.
March 18, Saturday, Frank Lasalle parked the trailer at El Cortez Motor Inn; by this time, Sally Horner already understood that she was ready for changes, which she had not dared to do for so long. She has already taken the first decisive step. Before leaving Dallas, plucking up the courage, she confessed to a school friend that their relationship with "father" implies intimacy. The friend replied that it was “wrong” and “this must be stopped,” as Sally later said. Girlfriends instructions were not in vain: Sally began to refuse Lasalle, but maintained the appearance that he was her father.
Sally now understood: their relationship
with Frank Lasalle are unnatural. What he does with her is contrary to nature. You can not do it this way
She was silent for so long and resigned herself to what the man pretending to be her father called "a completely natural thing." It was easier for her to yield in order to survive for sure. Now Sally felt that she was a little freer. Not quite free, because she was still in the clutches of Lasalle and saw no way to escape. But she could say no, and he did not punish her for it, as before. Maybe he was looking at Sally, who was about to turn thirteen in a month, and thought she was already a bit old for his taste. Or he believed that Sally was completely and completely in his power, which means that there was no need to subjugate her with the help of violence - both psychologically and physiologically.
Sally now understood that their relationship with Frank Lasalle was unnatural. What he does with her is contrary to nature. You can not do it this way.
Frank Lasalle needed to find a job.A few days after they arrived at the trailer park, he left the car (probably after a long journey through the pits and bumps of highways, she needed repairs) and took the bus two miles to the city to look for work. He already enrolled Sally in school, and she may even have studied for four days. That morning, however, she did not go to class. And this absenteeism changed the last twenty-one months of her life.
On the morning of March 21, 1950, 129 Ruth Janish invited Sally Horner to her trailer. The woman knew that Frank Lasalle would not be back from work in a few hours, and felt that this time she would be able to get Sally to talk: she just needed to push her a little. If you don't take advantage of the opportunity that comes along, who knows when another chance will come up? And Ruth did manage to get Sally to confess. But before, in Dallas, she did not agree to any. But in San Jose it was different.
Sally confirmed Ruth's suspicions: Frank Lasalle is really not her father, he has been holding her by force for two years. The girl admitted that she misses her mother Ella and her older sister Susan. And he wants to go home.
Please report to the FBI, let them come for me! Tell my mother that I am alive and well, let her not worry. I want to go home. I used to be afraid to call
Ruth considered what she had heard. Lasalle and Sally's relationship had long raised her suspicions, but she could not even imagine that he had kidnapped the girl. Realizing everything, Ruth energetically set to work. She brought Sally to the phone, explained how to call another city, which Sally had never done before.
First, Sally called her mother, but her phone was turned off: in January, Ella was fired from the studio, and while she was out of work, she had nothing to pay with. Then Sally called Florence's sister Susan. No one answered the home number, and the girl called the greenhouse.
Her son-in-law Al Panaro picked up the phone.
“Sally Horner is calling you from California. The call is at your expense. Connect? the operator asked.
- What are we talking about, of course! - answered Panaro.
- Al, hello, this is Sally. Please call Susan.
- Where are you? Tell me where are you? Panaro shouted barely holding back his excitement.
- In California, with a friend. Please report to the FBI, let them come for me! Tell my mother that I am alive and well, let her not worry. I want to go home. I used to be afraid to call.
The connection was bad, Al could hardly hear his sister-in-law. However, he still sorted out the address of the trailer park, wrote down and assured Sally that he would call the FBI. And let her not go anywhere.
Then Panaro handed the phone over to Susan, who was here with him in the greenhouse. Susan did not remember herself for joy: her younger sister was alive, she called. Susan asked Sally not to go anywhere and wait for the police.
Sally hung up and turned to Ruth; there was not a single blood in the girl's face, it seemed that she was about to faint. "What will Frank do to me when he finds out what I've done?" she repeated endlessly.
Ruth did her best to reassure Sally, hoping that the FBI or city police were about to come and arrest Frank. Sally was overwhelmed with excitement. She decided to go back and wait for the police in her trailer. Ruth let her go, hoping they would come soon.