Written by John Man

Copywrite – John Man

First Published in 1987

Viking Penguin, Inc.

This book is one of my all time favorites. I’ve read it at least once a year since I first found it in a library. I now own a copy. If you like true stories of survival against tremendous odds, especially by women, this is one of the best that has been documented.


Jan Little was handicapped with poor hearing and eyesight. She managed to get into college on a disability program, and drew social security checks. After an affair ended, she gave birth to a daughter, Rebecca. The father did not want anything more to do with Jan or the child.

Wanting more for her and her daughter’s life, she moved them to Mexico. She had a taste for adventure, and yearned for some land to homestead on. She thought she could find it there. She was doing all right for being sole provider for her daughter, but had yet to find her dream. Then she met Harry Little.

Harry Little was an a self-proclaimed naturalist, and adventurer, as he travelled around South America, documenting the lifestyles of the native Indians of Brazil. When he offered both marriage, and homesteading to Jan, she didn’t hesitate. They began their life together by travelling down the rivers of the Amazon jungle, by boat. It was not easy, but theyuntitled finally settled on a nice piece of land, miles from civilization. They set up a camp, and planted a huge garden. Jan even befriended a small monkey, they then kept as a pet.

As time went on, there were many difficulties to overcome. Harry was becoming more and more eccentric, and he and Jan were at odds with each other on many occasions. Jan’s hearing and eyesight were gradually getting worse,  until she basically could see nothing. Then tragedy struck.

How Jan managed, is detailed in this book. A harrowing look at what she had to do to survive, is detailed in a way that keeps you turning the page. It is a book/story that will remain in your thoughts for a long, long time. Photographs and maps are included.

This book has been out of print for a long time, but I did find it on Amazon. If you get a chance to read “The Survival of Jan Little”, you won’t be disappointed.

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