>> Thursday, October 6, 2011
A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: 2011
The Short Version:
Jaycee Dugard tells her own story of her abduction at age eleven and the following eighteen years of her captivity and abuse by her kidnapper.
Why I Read It:
When Jaycee was found and the story of her years of abuse and captivity began to come out it was both horrifying and fascinating. When I read that she’d done this memoir without a ghostwriter I wanted to read her story as she told it herself.
From the inside flap:
In the summer of 1991 I was a normal kid. I did normal things. I had friends and a mother who loved me. I was just like you. Until the day my life was stolen.
For eighteen years I was a prisoner. I was an object for someone to use and abuse.
For eighteen years I was not allowed to speak my own name. I became a mother and was forced to be a sister. For eighteen years I survived an impossible situation.
On August 26, 2009, I took my name back. My name is Jaycee Lee Dugard. I don't think of myself as a victim. I survived.
A Stolen Life is my story—in my own words, in my own way, exactly as I remember it.
I knew going in that this was Jaycee’s own story without the potential tabloid drama that can be added to a story like this with some ghostwriters or co-authors. On the other hand I also know that she’s not a professional writer and because of that I didn’t have high expectations of the writing but I still wanted to read Jaycee’s story.
As far as her story goes, yes it’s horrifying. The things that this eleven year old girl had to endure were so difficult to read that I seriously considered setting the book aside and not continuing to read. That she endured and survived is amazing. She freely admits that she’s still recovering from everything she’s been through and is still learning to be an independent adult and make up for the childhood that was stolen from her. It’s raw and brutally honest in ways that are both awful and a testament to this young woman’s strength and determination.
Yes it’s clearly not written by a professional writer. In many ways it’s very simply written and childlike. This is probably to be expected from someone whose normal life ended at age eleven. Her extensive stories and focus on the many cats she had over the years intensify the childlike feel of the way she tells her story.
As Jaycee says in the opening Author’s Note:
I’m not the average storyteller . . .I’m me . . . and my experience is very uncommon. Yes, I jump around with tangents, but that’s sometimes the way my mind works. If you want a less confusing story, come back to me in ten years from now when I sort it all out!