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According to Michael Azerrad's 1993 Nirvana biography Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana, "Polly" is based on the true story of a female rape victim from Tacoma, Washington. The girl, 14, was abducted in 1987 while returning from a punk rock show, and was raped and tortured with razors and a blowtorch by her abductor Gerald Friend. Cobain's only narrative flourish is that the victim manages to escape by flirting with her captor Gerald Friend, convincing him to trust her. This allows her to escape while he stops for gas.

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Q: What is the real story behind nirvana's polly?
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