Sunday, May 28, 2017

Book Review: A Stolen Life: A Memoir

This is a series that involves spotlighting interesting nonfiction, memoir, as well as some fiction mental health literature. I really am fascinated with psychology and think there needs to be more education. Feel free to check out the series here. Below is a running list of each post in this series. 

This is such a hard book to read, and I knew that from the very beginning of cracking this book. This book was so much more complicated than I could have expected. This book is so monumental, mainly because it shatters the silence of abuse. It is one of the few times where a victim of prolonged mental torture, sexual abuse, and imprisonment has opened up and shared her individual personal story. There is such an importance of books

If you are unfamiliar with the story, essentially Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped at the age of 11. It was June 10th, 1991 and she was waiting at her school bus stop, like so many children in America do. She was so close to her home, that you can actually see it from her house. She was held captive for 18 years while a man repeatedly raped her and had her bear two of his children. At the age of 29 she was freed, and now she seems pretty well adjusted given her trauma. This is her story, and it is extremely brutally honest and unapologetic

The experiences this girl had to endure are horrific, the book can be painful to read at times. There are very graphic descriptions of the rapes, the drug-fueled binges of her captors, and how they mentally and physically hurt her. Some of the details can be hard to stomach but they need to be shared. 

“I learned in therapy the word "No" is a complete sentence.” 

I found it extremely interesting about when Jaycee explained that her captor was pretty "nice" to her when he wasn't brutally assaulting her. At times he would sob uncontrollably and even apologize profusely. He would tell her that she was helping him with the problem, that he interestingly recognized that he had. This must have been so painful for her to endure, it must have become pretty confusing for her also. 

“We live in a world where we rarely speak out and when someone does, often nobody is there to listen.” 

One of the most interesting parts of this book for me was the information about the reunification process and how that all works. I had never really excepted how her integrating back into her family would go, the fact that she had little ones to think about, or what kind of rocky road finding normal would be. I guess perhaps I was naive.

“I don't believe in hate. To me, it wastes too much time. People who hate waste so much of their life hating that they miss out on all the other stuff out here.” 

I recommend this book to anyone, honestly, I read this book in just one sitting. This story has really made me question everything and loose faith in our so called system. This book and research into her tragic case shows just how easily things can slip through the cracks. I am glad that this kidnapping was solved and everything, for the most part, turned out okay. Even though there are emotional and physical scars. I am so proud of Jaycee for surviving, fighting, thriving, and never allowing them to break her. 

Additional Reading:

If you are interested in learning more about this type of subject or want to read something about the same topic, I want to share you some of my recent favorites. The most moving book that is technically fiction but loosely based on a horrific crime is Room. Another good one that is more recent is Circle 9, which tells the story of Abby and the fact that she knows only Sam, a mysterious teenage boy. He is her sole companion. 

Goodreads Description: 

On 10 June 1991, eleven-year-old Jaycee Dugard was abducted from a school bus stop within sight of her home in Tahoe, California. It was the last her family and friends saw of her for over eighteen years. On 26 August 2009, Dugard, her daughters, and Phillip Craig Garrido appeared in the office of her kidnapper's parole officer in California. 

Their unusual behavior sparked an investigation that led to the positive identification of Jaycee Lee Dugard, living in a tent behind Garrido's home. During her time in captivity, at the age of fourteen and seventeen, she gave birth to two daughters, both fathered by Garrido. 

Dugard's memoir, is written by the 30-year-old herself and covers the period from the time of her abduction in 1991 up until the present. 

In her stark, utterly honest and unflinching narrative, Jaycee opens up about what she experienced, including how she feels now, a year after being found. Garrido and his wife Nancy have since pleaded guilty to their crimes.

Links for purchase: Amazon // Barnes and Noble // Abe Books // Book Depository // Better World Books // Indigo 

A Little Bout the Author: 

The kidnapping of Jaycee Lee Dugard occurred on June 10, 1991, when she was 11 years old. Dugard was abducted from a school bus stop within sight of her home in South Lake Tahoe, California. Searches began immediately after the kidnapping, but no reliable leads were generated. She remained missing for more than 18 years.

On August 25, 2009, convicted sex offender Phillip Craig Garrido visited the campus of UC Berkeley accompanied by two young girls. Their unusual behavior there sparked an investigation that led to his bringing the two girls to a parole office on August 26, accompanied by a woman who was then identified as Dugard.

Garrido, 58, and his wife Nancy Garrido, 54, of Antioch, California, were arrested for kidnapping and other charges; they pleaded guilty on April 28, 2011 to Dugard's kidnapping and sexual assault. Law enforcement officers believe Dugard was kept in a concealed area behind Garrido's house in Antioch for 18 years. During this time Dugard bore two daughters who were aged 11 and 15 at the time of her reappearance.

On June 2, 2011, Philip Garrido was sentenced to 431 years' imprisonment; his wife received 36 years to life.

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