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Book Review: A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard

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Jaycee Lee Dugard was an average 11 year old girl, with immense hopes and dreams for the future. She planned on going to water parks and parties in the summer with her best friend and finally finish 5th grade. On June 10, 1991 Jaycee Lee Dugard’s life was forever destroyed by a villainous, disgusting animal. That animal is named Phillip Garrido. Garrido and his wife, Nancy stun-gunned Dugard and threw her in the back seat of their van. Dugard didn’t see her mother that morning, and never saw her again for 18 long, torturous years.

The book, A Stolen Life is written by survivor, Jaycee Dugard. She details her life from the day she was kidnapped till present day. The book starts out with Dugard discussing herself as an average eleven year old girl. She literally narrates the day she was taken as if it was yesterday. The tiny details she remembers, makes it seem as though she’s been writing in a journal since day one. How she wakes up, goes to see her baby sister, gets dressed, and is sad that her mother forgot to kiss her goodbye in the morning and how she would do anything to avoid her stepfather.

After she is kidnapped, Garrido forces her to shower with him and then locks her up in a shed in his backyard and handcuffs her. She eats once a day, has a bucket to go to the bathroom in and he is her only human contact. After a week in captivity he rapes her and decides to make her his sex slave. Eleven years old, in Antioch, California, USA beautiful blonde Jaycee Lee Dugard goes from average fifth grader to handcuffed sex slave in only a matter of days. She spends actual years locked up in this shed getting raped and forced to do whatever Garrido wants her to do. His wife Nancy, knowing what is going on and not only does nothing but is actually jealous of her, an eleven year old rape victim. After a few years, she gets pregnant and gives birth to two baby girls in Garrido’s secret backyard. The first baby was born in 1994, which would make Dugard only 14, the second was born in 1997 when Dugard was 17. Dugard and her daughters lived in tents in the Garrido’s backyard for years, going unnoticed.

Several attempts could’ve been made to be rescued, but Dugard was beyond damaged from Garrido’s brainwashing and manipulation, her fear stopped her from ever attempting an escape.

It took 18 dreadful years for Dugard to irrevocably be saved from the sickening Phillip Garrido. Police finally discovered who she really was after repeatedly asking her for her name, although Dugard was forced to be called Allissa, she ultimately reveals her name, which in turn forces Garrido to be arrested along with his pathetic wife, Nancy. And for the first time in almost two decades, Dugard reunites with her mother, who never gave up hope.

The book is well written especially for a woman with barely a fifth grade education. She writes chronologically but will every now and then write a ‘reflection’ section, discussing what she was thinking or how she feels about a situation or occurrence now, looking back on those torturous, painful days.

A Stolen Life is highly recommended to anyone who wants to learn about a young girl, who is stronger than she believes, and survives almost her entire life in captivity. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare, and will definitely cause a mother, father or anyone for that matter, more appreciative of life and more grateful for having their children with them. This memoir is a truly heart wrenching tale, and at times difficult to read due to the graphic details of her crucial, abusive life. No one should ever have to endure the pain and suffering Jaycee Lee Dugard had to experience.

For more information on what Jaycee Lee Dugard is doing now, check out The JAYC Foundation today. Jaycee Dugard started an organization called The JAYC Foundation for families that are recovering from abduction and the aftermath of other traumatic experiences.

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About Dorothy Gale

  • http://toddtsays.blogspot.com Todd Thompson

    I look forward to reading this soon. Thanks for the review.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dorothy-gale/ Dorothy Gale

    No problem, glad you enjoyed my review. Although some parts are rough to get through, it’s a an inspiring read.