Home Feed
Home
Search
Search
Add Review, Blurb, Quote
Add
Activity
Activity
Profile
Profile
The Real Lolita
The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World | Sarah Weinman
A gripping true-crime investigation of the 1948 abduction of Sally Horner and how it inspired Vladimir Nabokovs classic novel, Lolita Vladimir Nabokovs Lolita is one of the most beloved and notorious novels of all time. And yet very few of its readers know that the subject of the novel was inspired by a real-life case: the 1948 abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner. Weaving together suspenseful crime narrative, cultural and social history, and literary investigation, The Real Lolita tells Sally Horners full story for the very first time. Drawing upon extensive investigations, legal documents, public records, and interviews with remaining relatives, Sarah Weinman uncovers how much Nabokov knew of the Sally Horner case and the efforts he took to disguise that knowledge during the process of writing and publishing Lolita. Sally Horners story echoes the stories of countless girls and women who never had the chance to speak for themselves. By diving deeper in the publication history of Lolita and restoring Sally to her rightful place in the lore of the novels creation, The Real Lolita casts a new light on the dark inspiration for a modern classic.
Amazon Indiebound Barnes and Noble WorldCat Goodreads LibraryThing
Pick icon
100%
review
Coueriamb
post image
Pickpick

An interesting theory on the basis for Lolita. I‘m certainly convinced of the connection, and all the more horrified that she was lost in the shuffle, immortalized as an anonymous source.

#nfnov

review
Addison_Reads
post image
Pickpick

Of all the books I've read, I have never read Lolita. Now that I've read this book though I may have to try reading the fiction novel.

Be warned, this book is not for everyone. Although it is not graphic in the acts of abuse, there are many references, which made it hard at times to read. I couldn't put it down though; I had to find out what happened with Sally. The fact that Nabovkov denies using the case to write his book intrigued me too.

36 likes6 stack adds
review
CoffeeK8
post image
Pickpick

I struggled with this book. It was an important story about Sally Horner, the real person whose life was probably the inspiration for Nabokov‘s “Lolita”. The author makes a really valid point about the need for Sally‘s story to be told, and for how she was used and abused by her kidnapped and by pop culture through Lolita. Trigger warnings abound and I was frankly shocked by the quotes from Nabokov‘s work and how slimy his characters seem.

ljuliel This is one true crime I probably won‘t read. I don‘t think I‘d want to read the details on this one. Yuk. 1mo
CoffeeK8 @ljuliel I almost stopped a couple times but at the end I felt like I owed it to Sally‘s memory to read her story not the icky Lolita version of her story. 1mo
ljuliel Yea, I know what you mean. There was a new book out a couple years ago that I checked out at the library. It was really good and written well, but the subject matter was pretty rough . How an older man made “ friends” with her family, how he targeted this girl and built up trust with her mom to allow him to spend a LOT of alone time with her. It was disgusting, but I wanted to keep reading to see what happened to the girl in the end. 1mo
CoffeeK8 @ljuliel exactly! 1mo
60 likes4 comments
review
Reviewsbylola
post image
Pickpick

The absolutely tragic story of 11 year old Sally Horner, the muse behind Nabakov‘s Lolita. Weinman takes a close look at the case, as well as Nabakov‘s frame of mind as he wrote Lolita. I was glad that Weinman didn‘t focus too heavily on Nabakov, as I was much more interested in Horner‘s story.

KristenDuck Oooh I like the sound of this one. 3mo
Crazeedi Sounds really interesting!! 3mo
Megabooks I loved this book! 3mo
Mdargusch I didn‘t realize there was a real Lolita. 3mo
Cinfhen Bought this as a recent #KindleDeal 3mo
89 likes4 stack adds5 comments
blurb
Reviewsbylola
post image

When your kids go back to school, you celebrate with his and hers pedicures.

MicheleinPhilly Did you pay full price for that book???? 3mo
Susanita Nice! My spouse desperately needs a pedicure but wouldn‘t be caught dead in a nail salon. 3mo
Reviewsbylola Library. 😆😆 @MicheleinPhilly I‘m scared to ask why. 🙈 3mo
See All 10 Comments
Reviewsbylola He gets more pedicures than I do. 🤣🤣 @Susanita 3mo
Megabooks @MicheleinPhilly I liked that book! I hope you do, Steph! 3mo
MicheleinPhilly I just remember telling you it was $2 for Kindle and you were all, “I need the real book!” 3mo
saresmoore This is a fantastic idea! 3mo
Mdargusch Perfect way to celebrate! 3mo
Cinfhen That‘s a fabulous idea 💡 I recall you guys did this last year too! Love it 🥰 3mo
93 likes10 comments
review
Tamra
post image
Mehso-so

I am giving this a so-so because I have a pet peeve with non-fiction that contains material that isn‘t directly relevant to the principle story, e.g. music hits of the year or news stories. It always makes me think the publisher/editor/author wanted a longer book.

Pic is our home away from home. 🤗 Currently at another KOA stopover for the kids‘ benefit, but at least it‘s in one of our favorite places in America - Red Lodge, MT.

Christine Red Lodge!! ❤ My sister-in-law is the director of their public library. 4mo
Flaneurette I love Red Lodge but have only been there in the winter. Mas tacos is the best! I‘m still sad bridge creek closed 😔. Have a fun trip! 4mo
Zelma I think many nonfiction books should really be long articles or article series. 4mo
See All 14 Comments
squirrelbrain Looks wonderful! ♥️ 4mo
Crazeedi Looks so beautiful, love your home away from home! 4mo
Samplergal Beautiful there. I am making note of gorgeous campgrounds when we travel for a year. 4mo
Tamra @Samplergal the site pictured was near Bozeman - another area we love! I am looking forward to retirement and travel several months a year. I am sure you‘re gonna love your “gap year!” 😁 4mo
Tamra @Christine small world!! We‘ve always tossed around the idea of retiring here, but I think we like being mobile too. But it is one of our go-to places every year. 👍🏾👍🏾 4mo
Tamra @Crazeedi 👍🏾 4mo
Tamra @squirrelbrain 👌🏾 4mo
Tamra @Zelma agreed! 4mo
Tamra @Flaneurette I‘d love to the whole area in the winter! 4mo
Christine So fun! Such a great community - my retired Floridian parents-in-law are thinking of moving there full time, too. You‘ll have to pop into the library one of these years, if you haven‘t already (and ask for Jodie! 😉). 4mo
Tamra @Christine yes I will! 4mo
71 likes14 comments
review
Samplergal
post image
Pickpick

This book was amazing. It appears that our genius story of Lolita was simply “ripped from the headlines”. Not proven, the author has researched Nabokov and it seems the literary novel that most can‘t stomach, is eerily similar to a case in New Jersey. Really good stuff. #MayMadness #bannedBook (or at least about a banned book) #24B4Monday 5🌟 book four!

Clwojick Looks good! I‘m stacking 📚 6mo
Samplergal @Clwojick I‘d suggest reading Lolita first. Buy extra soap. It‘s disturbing. I actually ended up listening to Jeremy Iron read it. He was in the second Lolita movie. It made HH despicable. 6mo
Clwojick Ooooooo. Okay! 😱 6mo
See All 6 Comments
Megabooks Very good book! 6mo
jb72 Great job! I haven‘t read Lolita yet, but it‘s on my TBR and now so is this book. Thanks! 6mo
Leftcoastzen I really enjoyed this book. 6mo
101 likes5 stack adds6 comments
blurb
Samplergal
post image

Current audiobook sitting by the pool. #greatread #roughlife book about#bannedbook. #24B4Readathon

Clwojick 👏🏻👏🏻 Great choice! 6mo
TheReadingMermaid Sitting by the pool? *Jealous* 😊 6mo
Andrew65 So cold here I‘d free in minutes if not seconds if I was sat by a pool! 6mo
See All 6 Comments
Samplergal @Andrew65 Sorry. South Florida is great this time of year. I‘ve been in the pool yesterday and today. Stay warm. 6mo
Samplergal @TheReadingMermaid Yeah. Lived in cold country most of my life. This is better. 🌞 6mo
Andrew65 @Samplergal Very Cold for the time of year! 6mo
75 likes3 stack adds6 comments
review
js0315
post image
Mehso-so

I've been reading this for awhile now and really thought this was going to be a good one, but I agree with a lot of others that said this could've been better written. The author doesn't seem to be a very reliable source.

blurb
SomedayAlmost
post image

Murder by the Book is a dangerously great place to spend Independent Bookstore Day! #indiebookstoreday #shopindie #staffpicks #mbtbhouston #mysterythrillercrime

blurb
jouleian

Well, now that I've finished Lolita...I figured I could try my hand at this. And the gross part is she is actually mentioned in Nabokov's novel by name, towards the end.

review
Ephemera
post image
Pickpick

I have never read Lolita and after reading this book, I doubt I ever will. This is a non-fiction account of the abduction of 11 year old Sally Horner in 1948 by a pedophile rapist. Sally was with this man for almost two years, until she was rescued in San Jose, CA. Not only do we learn about a crime most of us never heard about, we also find out what influence it had on Vladimir Nabokov, the author of Lolita. Quite interesting, 4 out of 5 stars.

review
danimgill
post image
Mehso-so

I probably would have gotten more out of this if I‘d ever read Lolita but it was still an interesting true crime story. It was very well-researched but the writing itself fell flat for me throughout much of the book.

Cinfhen Darn, just bought this on #KindleDailyDeal 8mo
danimgill @Cinfhen It‘s still worth reading, especially on a deal! I just didn‘t feel as caught up in the writing as I have in other true crime books (I‘ll Be Gone in the Dark and Devil in the White City are two of my faves of this genre) 8mo
Cinfhen I read a fictionalization about the Sally Horner kidnapping so I feel like I know a lot about this case already. But like U said $1.99 can‘t go wrong. 8mo
danimgill @Cinfhen thanks for sharing the title, adding that to my TBR! 8mo
46 likes1 stack add4 comments
blurb
BookishMarginalia
post image
116 likes6 stack adds
review
KathyWheeler
post image
Pickpick

I‘m ambivalent about this book. Sally Horner‘s story is compelling and sad, and the book is very readable. However, Weinman seems to view, despite any real evidence except his unwillingness to discuss it, Nabokov‘s use of the Horner story as nefarious. It‘s problematic in other places as well; first she discusses a note card in Nabokov‘s papers referring to Horner, then later she says the archives contain no mention of her. A qualified pick.

KathyWheeler At another point, she said a woman had two daughters; then 2 months later, when they meet Sally, there are 3 daughters — 5, 6, & 7. So it‘s not like one could‘ve been born in the interval. (edited) 9mo
23 likes1 stack add1 comment
review
Leftcoastzen
post image
Pickpick

Nabokov was working on the book that would become Lolita for years and the author contends that the kidnapping of Sally Horner would fill in details to make that book a reality.A tale that combines Sally Horners difficult story with literary detective work to find connections of the facts with literary inspiration.
Horners story is heartbreaking.

batsy I want to read this! Just need prepare myself for what a brutal story it'll be. 9mo
Leftcoastzen @batsy Since the case is so old , there are not brutal details yet us readers can sadly fill in the blanks. 9mo
56 likes1 stack add2 comments
blurb
KathyWheeler
post image

Tonight‘s non-fiction reading.

blurb
Leftcoastzen
post image

In this book Sarah Weinman tells the story of the kidnapping of Sally Horner and makes the case if it wasn‘t for #ThatGirl Nabokov would have never written Lolita .He always admitted Sally‘s case as an influence,but this author contends that the depth of the connection might run deeper.And I‘d know if I agreed if I ever got it off of TBR mountain and read it.
#TimbitTunes

TheKidUpstairs Sounds fascinating. I think I'd rather read this than Lolita! 9mo
Cinfhen It‘s on my TBR too!! I bought it as a #KindleDailyDeal recently 9mo
Cinfhen I recommend this fictionalized account of Sally Horner‘s story @TheKidUpstairs @Leftcoastzen it was excellent 9mo
See All 6 Comments
Leftcoastzen @Cinfhen I read Rust and Stardust, I liked it a lot. 9mo
jveezer The two-month review podcast talked a little bit about this in discussing the Nabokov section of Dubravka Ugresic‘s novel Fox. Very interesting. 9mo
Leftcoastzen @jveezer I will have to check that out! 9mo
57 likes6 comments
review
Megabooks
post image
Pickpick

Fascinating investigation into the harrowing story of the real-life girl that inspired Nabokov to finish Lolita. This book skips into Nabokov‘s life and inspirations, but mostly it follows Sally, the 11 year old kidnapped by pedophile Frank La Salle and taken across the country for 21 months. The author deeply investigated this story. She was able to speak to some witnesses and children of them with shocking revelations in ch. 29. 4⭐️ #BINGO!

See All 14 Comments
MrBook Great review!!! 9mo
Megabooks @MrBook Thank you 😊 9mo
Cinfhen Oh, good idea for the #NonFiction2019 prompt!!! I bought this book on a #KindleDailyDeal recently🤓 looking forward to reading it now. BTW: did u ever read this fictionalized story about Sally Horner 9mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen No! But I‘m adding it to my TBR now. Thanks!! I hope you enjoy this nonfiction. (edited) 9mo
Cinfhen I wonder how they will compare xx hope you‘re doing well!!! 9mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen I wonder what people would think of Lolita today in the age of #metoo and with the greater awareness of how many children are sexually abused. I think what people got from Lolita bothered Nabokov‘s wife, Vera. And I am doing okay. Not better yet but closer!! 😁👍🏻 9mo
Cinfhen Glad to hear you‘re on the mend 🧡 9mo
Reviewsbylola I can‘t wait to read this!! 9mo
Megabooks @Reviewsbylola I think you‘d enjoy it! 9mo
Reviewsbylola It‘s on my TBR so I‘m confident I‘ll get to it eventually. 😆 9mo
Megabooks @Reviewsbylola sometimes I feel like the guy in the Twilight Zone. I just wish I could be alone with all the books and infinite time to read. Then I break my glasses! 9mo
107 likes7 stack adds14 comments
blurb
Megabooks
post image

Oh you guys!! Litsy has turned me into a true crime reader!! 😱 I never thought I‘d get into this genre since I don‘t like “fake crime” (fiction mysteries, etc.), but I‘m really starting to like it.

gradcat Warning: It can become an obsession—it happened to me! ⚠️ 😂 10mo
Megabooks @gradcat I can definitely see that happening! 10mo
Reviewsbylola Glad you‘re coming over to the dark side. 😆 9mo
Megabooks @Reviewsbylola Hehehehehe! ☠️ 9mo
101 likes7 stack adds4 comments
review
gypsymoon
Pickpick

I really enjoyed this book. Well researched, informative, fascinating, and heartbreaking. I was at times devastated, furious, and dumbfounded. It was an excellent read and I would highly recommend it.

blurb
RidgewayGirl
post image

Fascinating story about the crime that helped Nabokov write Lolita, or the crime that he was at least aware of and mentions in the novel.

15 likes1 stack add
blurb
EleniKara
post image

When my non-reader best friend remembers that I mentioned wanting to read this book once and bought it for my birthday 😍😍 what a sweetheart!

Reviewsbylola I want to read this one badly! 11mo
EleniKara @Reviewsbylola I‘ll be sure to let you know how it is when I get to it! Very excited, seems incredibly fascinating! 11mo
Crazeedi Never heard of his one, it sounds very interesting ! 11mo
67 likes5 stack adds4 comments
review
whatsthEStorey
post image
Mehso-so

The true story of Sally Horner‘s kidnapping that inspired Nabakov. It‘s a sad story worth knowing, especially as Lolita has often been portrayed as a vixen rather than victim in pop culture. Unfortunately, not much of Sally‘s story remains today and the writing fell flat, so this book was not as compelling as it should have been.

review
cdreincarnate
post image
Mehso-so

Fascinating topic, but it could have been better executed. Weinman isn‘t a good writer and some of the conclusions she draws are tenuous at best, while she appears to completely miss other parallels between the two crimes. My guess is that it was hastily written, but it was still worthwhile to read about the real-life abduction with too many similarities to Lolita‘s story to be coincidental.

7 likes1 stack add
blurb
cdreincarnate
post image

Um, you do realize you published the photo alongside your “description” of it and we can therefore clearly see that neither is his hair tousled nor are his eyebrows raised. Why bother printing misinformation alongside contradictory evidence? How am I supposed to believe anything else in this book?

blurb
m.galehuxley
post image

This story is very sad and fascinating. The author‘s tone bothered me for some reason I can‘t explain fully yet, but I‘m glad I read it. It‘s also interesting to learn about how Nabokov likely drew much Lolita from Sally Horner‘s story, and why he would want to keep that obscured.

29 likes3 stack adds
review
LauraBeth
post image
Mehso-so

⭐️⭐️⭐️ If you love true crime and the behind-the-scenes of how a book came to fruition (in this case, Nabokov‘s Lolita), you‘ll enjoy this. It wasn‘t quite my cup of tea but I didn‘t bail, so...

Crazeedi Your kitty is precious 12mo
Lcsmcat 😻😻 12mo
JoScho Oh gray cat looking so calm and sweet. 12mo
AlaMich Hi Gray Cat! 12mo
113 likes5 comments
review
Morr_Books
post image
Pickpick

I thought this was a great analysis of Lolita and comparison to the real life kidnapping of Sally Horner, which I had known little about prior to listening to this book. I had a couple issues with the writing, but overall enjoyed this book.

Velvetfur I've never heard about this! Thanks for bringing it to my attention, I'll Google this case 👍 13mo
56 likes2 stack adds1 comment
review
Skeebies05
post image
Pickpick

Ugh what a terribly sad story :( This one will stick with me for a bit. Poor girl. 😢 This the last page of the book.

blurb
LauraBeth
post image

I honestly just want to live my life using author names and/or main characters as adjectives in everyday conversation. Quixotic. Nabokovian. Raskolnikovian. Just to be obnoxious.

MayJasper 😀 13mo
tournevis You and me both! 👍 13mo
Sace Poe-etic 🤣Sorry. Couldn't resist. 13mo
See All 10 Comments
heikemarie That scenario sounds kafakesque 😂 13mo
LauraBeth @RestlessFickleBookHoarder and @heikemarie y‘all are the worst 🤣🤣🤣 13mo
LauraBeth @MayJasper, @tournevis, @Megara I want to update the list and be all, “That‘s so Ng” or “Murakami-esque” 13mo
minkyb It is quite fun! 13mo
mdhughes72 How about Brobdingnagian? 13mo
LauraBeth @mdhughes72 I haven‘t heard that word in about 30 years (since I read GT in college)! Best one yet! 13mo
91 likes1 stack add10 comments
blurb
LauraBeth
post image

“The appreciation of art can make a sucker out of those who forget the darkness of real life.”

LeahBergen I‘ve been eyeing this one. 13mo
LauraBeth It‘s good so far @LeahBergen! “...the story of Sally Horner is the story of so many girls and women, not just in America, but everywhere. So many of these stories seem like everyday injustices - young women denied opportunity to advance, tethered to marriage and motherhood. Others are more horrific, girls and women abused, brutalized, kidnapped, or worse.” 13mo
95 likes7 stack adds2 comments
review
Bookish_B
post image
Pickpick

I've never read Lolita. I know zero about Nabokov so maybe that's why I enjoyed this. I had no preconceived notions about the work of fiction and relied solely on what the author was telling me. There's a lot of guesswork by the author because there's a lot that's not known but I appreciated the effort! 😊

Purrsistently I just listened to the audiobook of this and thought it was great! 13mo
40 likes2 stack adds1 comment
review
Bookish.SAM
post image
Pickpick

Very interesting read... the story of Sally Horner was compelling enough, but I may have enjoyed learning about Nabokov even more. I‘ve not read Lolita, but after reading this my perspective on it has changed and I might have to dig into it some day.

Dragon I listened to the author‘s radio interview a few weeks ago, sounds very interesting. 😀🐉 13mo
50 likes2 stack adds1 comment
blurb
teainthelibrary
post image

All cozy on the couch and ready to spend this chilly evening starting this.. I‘ve heard great things and if it‘s even half the reading experience Lolita was, I‘ll be very happy!

10 likes1 stack add
blurb
Chocamanda
post image

Today we kick off the beginning of Chocolate Season! (Yes, in my world, that‘s a thing 😝). I‘m cooking brittle, cutting truffles, making fancy chocolate granola, and listening to this fascinating audiobook. It‘s narrated by Cassandra Campbell who is one of my favorite narrators, and the book itself is compulsively readable. Weinman looks at Nabokov, Sally Horner, and other cases relevant to the topic and period. One of my faves for 2018 I think.

Reviewsbylola I def want to read this! 13mo
22 likes4 stack adds1 comment
review
Vocalities
post image
Pickpick

The book sheds a lot of light not only on Sally Horner, but also all the related people in her life that have since been forgotten. Detectives and friends, judges and family members. It fleshed out Horner's life about as much as possible, given how little remains.

I went into this book as a fan of true crime, but I think it works better as a companion piece for Lolita itself, giving context and insight into the book and its creator.

blurb
BooksAtNight
post image

Me: “I just need to pick up a hold.”
Also me: “these books aren‘t checked out they‘re so unloved I must take them home and cuddle them”
Also me: “shhhh, don‘t talk to me about the 20 library books at home”
#libraryhaul #bookaddict

mcipher Yeah. I am right there with you!! 14mo
30 likes1 comment
blurb
Vocalities
post image

I read Lolita last week just so I'd have the context to fully appreciate this book. Strangely, my annotated copy of Lolita made no mention of this case even though the novel mentions Sally Horner by name.

review
kate_reads
post image
Pickpick

I‘m pretty new to nonfiction and true crime—but after hearing the editor talk about it at BEA, I was sold. I thought this was well-done and super interesting. I recently read RUST & STARDUST which is a retelling of Sally Horner‘s kidnapping so this was timely and fit in perfectly.

MicheleinPhilly Those are some pretty impressive #BOTM stacks! 1y
emilyhaldi I can‘t stop looking at the background stacks 😍 1y
39 likes3 stack adds2 comments
blurb
WellReadCatLady
post image

Loving this #arc so far

Lcsmcat Intriguing. I did not know this. 1y
18 likes1 comment
blurb
Matilda
post image

Today‘s #bookmail !

Reviewsbylola I really want to read this!! 1y
Vertabrain I‘m so jealous!! Please let us know what you think. 1y
69 likes8 stack adds2 comments
blurb
MrBook
post image

#TBRtemptation post 2! #BEA18 Edition! An Adult Editors' Buzz book. The gripping true-crime investigation of 11-year-old Sally Horner's 1948 abduction and how it inspired Nabokov's classic novel, beloved & notorious at the same time. Reams of documents, and interviews with those still alive, being this crime narrative, cultural history, & literary investigation to vivid life. This book is being talked about EVERYwhere! #blameLitsy #blameMrBook 😎

Godmotherx5 I‘m hooked. 1y
LikelyLibrarian I read Lolita last year, under protest, and (gulp) I loved it. It was fascinating and beautifully written and the author‘s use of first-person POV was disturbing and thought-provoking. I just may have to read this too 😏 (edited) 1y
77 likes17 stack adds2 comments
blurb
MarticaMustRead
post image

??? #BEA18 #BookExpo #LibrarianLife #WorkPerks #LitsyLovesLibrarians #LibrariansOfLitsy #ForTheLoveOfBooks #BookCoverLove #LunchtimeReading

A hungry Martha makes for a grumpy #BookExpo attendee .... very late lunch stop after attending the Adult Book Buzz panel & picking up these lovely galleys!

Super intrigued for the tagged book about the real life child kidnapping that inspired the famous "Lolita" classic. #TrueCrime

38 likes3 stack adds
blurb
Liberty
post image

Reading this upcoming true crime book while I wait to watch the Golden State Killer press conference. ☠️

MidnightBookGirl The struggle for the wait is real! 2y
Cinfhen Did you read 2y
Sophoclessweetheart Lolita is one of my favourite classics... I think I need to read this. 2y
See All 6 Comments
Liberty @Cinfhen No, I was waiting to read this first. 2y
Cinfhen I‘ll be curious to hear your thoughts on Rust & Stardust. I thought it was really interesting ~ I‘m excited to read the book you tagged! Thanks for posting & sharing (edited) 2y
Vertabrain I can‘t wait for this to be released. Waiting for more details on the EAR! 2y
129 likes24 stack adds6 comments