Unfinished Autobiography of Aileen Wuornos

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Part 1: Childhood

Part 2: Life on the road

Narrative for use in the form of script, graphic novel or biography.

Wuornos aspired to write her autobiography, at first in response to Jacqueline Giroux’s request for stories from her early years, which could be used in Giroux’s film. From time to time, Wuornos worked on the project, interjecting a few “road stories” and memories, some of which are presented here. This never took the form of a completed manuscript. . .

This is being done like Sound off.  But of-course like I said. Real brief . . . Hitting area’s most important. Like looks and character, on Mom, Dad, Lori, Barry, Keith, then to me, and the life I lead. Thats going to be really hard to brief. You know how much I’ve seen!? Geez! . . . But Ill get through. And must before I should die soon . . .

I am really close to God. Read the Bible three times all the way through. And in even my young and road days I got into God—(Jesus) and my heart was as good then it as it is now. Even though I became a pro in being a prostitute . . . I still believed on the Road anyway, and always willing to give a helping hand to anyone, “even strangers,”because of my experiences from my young days and how I was treated. I cannot elaborate how many times sex was forced upon me . . . But when I do get some time down the road a book out. It is going to be about my life, not these crimes. And how people should “NOT” treat each other like this . . .

Table of contents

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Source Material

DEAR DAWN: Aileen Wuornos in Her Own Words

Edited by Lisa Kester and Daphne Gottlieb, Forward by Phyllis Chesler

Aileen Wuornos, the “hitchhiking hooker” and “first female serial killer” who killed 7 men was an outlaw, a sometimes feminist vigilante heroine, and cautionary tale. Her captivating story has inspired myriad books and articles, as well as the 2003 movie Monster, for which Charlize Theron won an Academy Award. Reviled and revered in equal measure, Wuornos has become iconic of vengeful women lashing out at those who have hurt them, as well as a touchstone for women’s, sex workers’, and prisoners’ rights.

A runaway at 13, Aileen Wuornos slept in abandoned cars in the Michigan winter after being kicked out of an abusive and alcoholic home. She survived by using her only resources – her mind, her body, and occasional charity.

Between 1989 and 1990, Aileen Wuornos shot and killed seven men in remote Florida locations.  Arrested in 1991, Wuornos insisted she had acted in self-defense, but the jury had little sympathy. Condemned to death on six separate counts, she was executed by lethal injection in 2002.

Dear Dawn is Wuornos’s autobiography culled from her ten-year death row correspondence with beloved childhood friend Dawn Botkins. Authorized for publication by Wuornos and edited under the guidance of Botkins, the letters not only offer Wuornos’s riveting reflections on the murders, legal battles, and media coverage, but go further, revealing her fears and obsessions, her rich humor and empathy, and her gradual disintegration as her execution approached. A candid life story told to a trusted friend, Dear Dawn is a compelling narrative, unwaveringly true to its source.

Aileen Wuornos’s letters to her closest friend are poignant and haunting, and show us that as destructive and devastating as true crime is, there may be nothing as powerful or redemptive as true love.


The editors would like to thank Anne Horowitz for her tireless, brilliant, and ruthless editing; this book would not be here without her hard work. Words are insufficient to express the depth of our gratitude.

Lisa would like to express her sincere gratitude to Daphne Gottlieb for her enormous gift of dedication and focus on this book. She has been the anchor in this project from day one.

A special thanks goes to Jesse Merril, for enlisting us in this project. Without her gentle nudge, this project would not have been started. Also, heartfelt gratitude goes to Brenda Bass, for believing in this project from the start and helping to make it happen.

Thanks to Susan Seager and Jonathan Gottlieb, who had wisdom when we needed it. Thanks to our agent Katie Boyle, who was there when we needed her.

Thanks to Aja Aguirre, Meg Chilton, Deborah Teramis Christian, Annalee Cobbett, Joie Rey Cohen, Amber Hogue, Cassidy Jones, Marie Militana, Cat Ondriezek, and Jae Sevilus for inputting assistance and various other supports.

Most of all, thanks to Dawn and Dave Botkins. Dave did a great deal of preparation for this project by scanning and organizing the letters and photographs. Dawn has courageously opened her letter file and her heart to us and made this all possible.