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564 of 585 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heart warming story! I cried, but they were happy tears for the happy ending, and a story full of hope and courage
Wow!! Thanks to Kindle, I was able to download the book at about one in the morning, and it's now seven in the morning. I have not read a book in one sitting, or in one night for years!

People who saw the ABC interview with Diane Sawyer saw how warm and lovely this young lady is, and her book is like the interview but a hundred times warmer and more...
Published on July 12, 2011 by Mark Zander

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246 of 286 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an amazing story... but not an amazing book
Wow.. where to begin...

This is definitely a very riveting read. It's very short, and the only time you'll want to put it down is when you need to take a minute to have an emotional breather. Like many others, I saw the interview with Diane Sawyer, and Jaycee's attitude about everything that's happened to her is unbelievable. She seems so warm and friendly,...
Published on July 20, 2011 by J.W.


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564 of 585 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heart warming story! I cried, but they were happy tears for the happy ending, and a story full of hope and courage, July 12, 2011
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Wow!! Thanks to Kindle, I was able to download the book at about one in the morning, and it's now seven in the morning. I have not read a book in one sitting, or in one night for years!

People who saw the ABC interview with Diane Sawyer saw how warm and lovely this young lady is, and her book is like the interview but a hundred times warmer and more personal.

Jaycee's story is refreshing in that it's written by her, and not from a co-author. Much of the book are pages and pages taken from the actual journal entries she wrote while in her backyard prison. You can tell that her journal entries read in much same way as the rest of the book, so in a sense, the entire book is a continuation of her journaling and her ongoing mission in life to help others. For example, it's hard to tell when you're reading from her old journal entries from her more current writings of when she's authoring this book. It's really all one voice, and you definitely get a feel for how her voice resonates through.

Some readers on comment sections of news sites have mentioned they don't want to read the book due to graphic scenes being portrayed. Yes, these scenes are there, but written in a very mature way that I think people should really read. The book doesn't focus on these scenes, as rather the book focuses on simply sharing her story and conveying her sense of hope that's still beaming today. But the sexual abuse scenes are important to all of America as they describe horrifying sexual acts that often go by generic terms like 'rape' and 'molestation.' But what do those mean? Jaycee paints a much clearer picture, and in doing so, acts as the voice for all the victims of sexual abuse that can't share their story.

In America, sexual abuse is something that gets pushed under the rug, or punished. It's like there's no in between. Jaycee didn't know what the word rape meant while the act was being done to her, and I remember when I was 11 (I was also born in 1980 like Jaycee), I didn't know what the word rape meant either. I don't think I learned what the word meant until I was 13 or 14. Perhaps if more people learn about sexual abuse, and what it actually entails, then more can be done to protect innocent victims. And more importantly, when people realize what goes on behind closed doors of rapists, perhaps there won't be parole after just a few years for somebody who had already raped a woman for eight hours straight in a warehouse. Jaycee does an excellent job showing how her captor is a repeat offender, one that therapy cannot solve. Jaycee goes on to describe the failure of the therapists that her captor visited, and how they enabled him more than anything by allowing him to make excuses rather than be accountable for his behavior.

With all this being said, this book is probably not for young teenagers to read by themselves, as Jaycee shares vivid accounts of sexual abuses that happened to her; abuses she didn't even know the names for at the time. Cautiously I note, the entire book would be a great one for a parent and teenager to read and discuss together, with parental guidance on parts of the book that are tough to read or perhaps need proper perspective put into place. (Parents, you must read the book first, as you're the one to judge if the book is appropriate or not for your teenager). In my opinion, I think it's a subject that needs to be talked about more, even if it's difficult to read, but of course, that's up to parental discretion.

The only part I found that was hard to read in the book were the journal entries that talk about her thoughts and reactions to her captor's ongoing talk about Angels and how her captor believed the Angels control people. I don't know how many pages in the regular book, but it was a few pages on the Kindle. While it's tough to read, it illuminates just how unimaginably tougher it would be to live in that kind of manipulative situation on a daily basis.

What's also tough but enlightening to read is how much compassion she has for all the animals she cared for. Through all the events taking place upon her rescue, she even asks a couple officers if they can check on her animals and make sure they're okay, at which time the officers made sure to find them and get them temporary foster homes. The irony that develops through her selfless caring often mirrored her own reality: For example, Jaycee starts feeling really badly about one of her cats being locked up with her all the time, and feeling guilty for wanting the cat's company, she shares how a shed is no place for a cat. Yet she never shows any kind of self-pity on her own situation...all you see is your strength and courage.

I just can't believe these things happened to an 11 year old girl. You really get a sense into the manipulation of the captors (I refuse to say their names) and how through the horror of everything, Jaycee completely shines light throughout her memoir. It's like there's not even a 'hate' bone in her body -- she's an inspiration to us all; that love and hope conquers no matter. And the best thing is that the entire memoir is written so warmly, it's like Jaycee is sharing her story with you directly at the dinner table. And she goes on to share, now that she and her family are free, something very important to her: The simple daily act of cooking great foods and eating at the dinner table.

One last thing, in her journal entries she mentions her goals and plans for her future once she becomes free -- so many of them she's actually doing!
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854 of 900 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of survival and pain, July 12, 2011
The first thing you need to know about Jaycee Dugard's book, is it is indeed a very difficult thing to read. It is a beautifully written, pull no punches account of the 18 years she spent in captivity with a very sick man, Phillip Garrido.

In a note from the author at the beginning of the book, Dugard explains that she wrote the book to attempt to convey the overwhelming confusion she endured during her years in captivity and to begin to unravel the damage that was done to she and her family. She chronicles her experience with brutal honesty. She writes about missing her mother and worrying that she will never see her again. Her dependence upon her kidnapper grows the more he isolates her from the world. For long periods of time he was the only other human being that she saw.

Before I bought the book, I wished that Amazon would list the Table of Contents, so here it is for you:

Author's Note
Introduction
The Taking
Stolen
The Secret Backyard
Alone in a Strange Place
The First Time
First Kitty
The First "Run"
Nancy
Easter: Phillip on an Island
Christmas
Learning I Was Pregnant
Driving to a Trailer
Waiting for Baby
Taking Care of a Baby
Sarge
Second Baby
The Starting of Printing for Less
Birth of Second Baby
Raising the Girls in the Backyard
Nancy Becomes "Mom"
Pretending to Be a Family
Cats
Surviving
Discovery and Reunion
Firsts for Me
Milestones
The Difficult Parts of Life
Finding Old Friends
Therapeutic healing
Meeting with Nancy
Therapeutic Healing with a Twist

As you can tell from the Table of Contents, she spares no detail. You witness her physical and psychological transformation from a scared child held against her will to a woman who bears his children and runs a business with him until she is discovered. This truly is an exploration of her past. As profound as this book is in its horrific detail, it is not a triumphant, feel-good story. Other than her rescue, don't expect many warm fuzzies from this one.

If Jaycee's book interests you, I Love Yous Are for White People: A Memoir (P.S.) is another you'll undoubtedly want to read. Amazing to see people triumph over such adversity, and retell their stories so brilliantly.
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189 of 204 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring ... far more compelling than I expected, July 13, 2011
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This is a beautiful book.

What I have come to understand is that this is not a book about a kidnapping. This is a book about a spiritually gifted woman navigating her way through a life marked by deeply moving events. I am humbled by what I have read.

Ms Dugard is able to continue down a path of personal growth under the most constrained circumstances. The journal entries from her captivity, both as a child and later as an adult, reveal the amazingly positive energy she carries within her. She has the capacity for self-reflection at a young age, even though she is denied any personal autonomy. Later, she is able to build a semblance of a normal life for her children, home schooling them with her own curriculum despite only having a 5th grade education. She plants a garden, cares for her animals, even manages a business. All of this while enduring the constant abuse of a hyper-controlling, drug-addicted psychopath.

I am deeply inspired by her ability to keep pouring love out into the world despite being treated so horridly. Rather than turn away to some dark place, Ms Dugard performs a kind of spiritual judo, reflecting back love and compassion on the animals in her care, the children she's struggling to raise and the distant memory of her mother. She is able to resist the temptation to spew forth hatred upon the perpetrators of her abuse. Instead, she lets it go and moves on to a better place.

Frankly, I'm a bit ashamed that my initial interest in this book was based on sensationalist media coverage of the events surrounding her rescue. I was expecting to learn more about her captors and what kind of person would commit such a horrendous crime. After finishing the book, I've realized that don't care about them. Instead, I've learned something about myself: that I never need give up hope. No situation requires that I compromise myself or my beliefs. I can see now experiences in my own life where I was sucked in by the spiritual traps that Ms Dugard successfully navigated around for 18 years. I have a new role model to look up to.

Ms Dugard is living proof that "life can start over." I am indebted to her for a new understanding of those words.

Thank you.
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330 of 368 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jaycee's Story: Enduring, Surviving, & Trumping 18 Years of Inflicted Evil With Love And Hope, July 12, 2011
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Jaycee Dugaard's nightmare began when she was abducted while walking up a hill to her school bus on June 10, 1991, when she was 11 years old. It ended when her abductors, Phillip and Nancy Garrido, were asked eighteen years later to attend a parole meeting August 26, 2009, after two UC Berkeley's campus officers became suspicious of Garrido when he appeared on campus with Jaycee's young daughters. Their unusual behavior sparked an investigation that led to the positive identification of Jaycee Lee Dugard, living in a tent behind Garrido's home.

"A Stolen Life" is Jaycee Dugard's story of how she, beginning at the age of eleven and in isolation, confronted eighteen years of evil by doing what she had to do to survive mentally and emotionally. She found ways to save herself and to deal with her aloneness with memories (her mother's face), symbols (a bright moon which was oft shared with her mom), a commitment to two children sired by her deranged, porn and drug addicted, sex offender captor (no one will hurt these children, they are mine), dreams of a better future (detailed in her hidden journal), love, and hope.

"A Stolen Life" is told with unflinching detail. Readers will be unnerved by the failure of a Justice system designed to prevent predators like Garrido from abusing our children, and enraged by what the Garrido's did to Jaycee - losing her life and identity (she could not say or write her name but had to use a given name, Allisa) - and to her mother - who never lost hope. Jaycee can still hear the lock of the door of the soundproofed building she was forced to live in behind the Garrido's house and the squeaky bed on which she was repeatedly raped by Garrido - "the demon angels let him take her so he could cure his sexual problems. Society had ignored him. Now, he did not have to go out and molest other little girls." The sounds and smells of her existence don't leave...they continue to haunt her

Jaycee says her greatest fear was uncertainty, not knowing what was going to happen next. Garrido threatened `more' things would happen if she did not behave. She was never sure what `more' was. She promised to "do it" better, to be good. Unknown of the future was more terrifying than what she had to do.

Jaycee wrote the book to provide a precise account of ordeals inflicted on her by the Garridos with the hope that her story might help people facing difficult situations that they can endure and survive; and to share what victims of sex offenders feel and let other victims know that the shame is not theirs. Another goal was to inspire people get their head out of the sand and to speak out when they see something amiss. Finally, she wrote this for judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officials whose job is to protect the public from people like Phillip and Nancy Garrido.

"A Stolen Life" is a courageous book and may prove to be the 9/11 for how the justice system monitors sex molesters after release from prison.
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153 of 174 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jaycee's story -- personal and true, July 12, 2011
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A STOLEN LIFE, by Jaycee Dugard, is a very personal memoir of one girl's 18-year nightmare at the hands of her kidnappers, Phillip and Nancy Garrido. Told completely from Jaycee's point of view, the memoir begins with her kidnapping back in 1991 and ends with her recovery and therapy 2009-10. The story is at once horrifying and uplifting as this very courageous child grows into a young woman with children of her own and a desperate determination for freedom.

Early in the book, Jaycee writes, "It's funny how you can get used to things." And in a way, Jaycee does "get used to" the life she is forced to live after her kidnapping. She manages to hold onto her sanity by adapting to her situation and finding ways to "escape" her captivity, especially through writing. She adores cats and cares for several during her confinement, even keeping a detailed journal about one of them that became especially important to her. Later, her journals would continue - a large part of A STOLEN LIFE is made up of the journal entries she wrote between 1998 and 2004. It is in these very revealing passages that we come to see Jaycee as a real woman, not unlike the rest of us. She worries about her children their education. She frets about weight gain and failure to exercise. She makes lists of her favorite singers, or the places she wants to visit in the future. In spite of her captors, she manages to grow into a real woman with a self-identity that is believable and identifiable. In a way, it affirms how powerful we are as people, and how capable we are of overcoming adversity and rising above it.

Throughout the book is Jaycee's very clear and unwavering love for her mother, who becomes the guiding light that not only keeps her strong through her 18 years of captivity but acts as a beacon toward which Jaycee never falters. In her journals, Jaycee refers to her mother only as "she" and "her," because of how painful it was for her to write the words "mom" or "mother" during those difficult years. Their reunion near the end of the book is wonderful and satisfying - seldom does a true story end with such an uplifting moment.

There is nothing at all in this book about the arrest and trial of Phillip Garrido. We learn little about him that Jaycee doesn't experience herself - and she admits to not understanding this man who stole 18 years of her life. This is not a "true crime" account; it's Jaycee's very personal and even intimate story. Some have argued that Jaycee has been very lucky in the two years since her recovery - she was given a brand new car, a farmhouse in the country, and $20 million from the State of California as reparation for the very shoddy job the justice department did in looking for her and supervising Garrido (who was on parole during the entire time he was holding Jaycee prisoner). But what would you say 18 years of your life is worth? I know I wouldn't trade my own years for a car, house, or even money. I admire Jaycee's courage in writing this book - she is taking a real step toward putting the past behind her and keeping herself focused on the future. Her foundation (JAYC) will do a lot of good for a lot of people.

I recommend A STOLEN LIFE. I wish Jaycee all the best.
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78 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Memoir on So Many Levels, July 12, 2011
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*****
Jaycee Dugard's memoir of her life and her kidnapping, her torture, abuse and 18 year captivity, is important on so many levels.

At one level, this is a young woman's attempt to tell the details of her story and to regain her voice and her power. She is grateful to be alive, to be safe, and to have her daughters, her mom, her sister. Her story in its entirety--the actual details--go far beyond Diane Sawyer's two hour ABC news special, so if you've watched that (as I did), there is much, much more here. And again, the details are what add depth and so poignantly reveal how Jaycee FELT in the different circumstances she found herself in, all of which she had no or little control over. She learned how to survive and how to live as meaningful a life as possible (although this was very hard with rape, neglect, and abuse of all sorts). She did it, though, and has triumphed--with the help of many people, good therapists, and experiences such as equine therapy. All of this is described in the book.

Jaycee describes her daily concerns, her profound loneliness, and how she longed for things like a toothbrush, a bath, a toilet, to see the outdoors. She describes how her captor bonded her to to him, with him even trying to give her torture meaning and purpose by telling her it saved him from doing things like that to other little girls. And how great a "sex slave" she was. Her abuser's horrible "crank runs" --long days of her enduring various types of rape while her abuser was high and sleepless on crank. How after her baby was born, her abuser prayed that he'd never "hurt his child", which she knew meant "rape his child". Despite all of this horror, Jaycee's beautiful spirit shines through. So this is a hard book, and a book not for children because of all of the graphic details, but an important book for everyone else to read. None of the sexual details are gratuitous, but helpful and moving in understanding how a young girl saw her torment.

And at another level, this is a tale of hope and inspiration, a tale of Jaycee's tenacious spirit and how she survived. It can provide inspiration to all of us who deal on a daily basis with challenges and trials, probably none anywhere near as terrible as Jaycee's. Her spirit and will to survive are admirable and so worth reading about. She wants to inspire people and to encourage them to have hope in difficult circumstances.

And at yet another level, I hope that this memoir leads to changes in how the criminal justice system monitors sex offenders. So much needs to be reformed. I hope that this book, and those of us who read it, will help to facilitate and even demand needed change.

Lastly, Jaycee wants to inspire people to speak up and take action when they suspect, intuit, guess--that something may be wrong. It was two women officers who ended Jaycee's captivity--two women who trusted their intuition that something was "off" after seeing her and then acted to investigate and follow through.

The author's trust and hope, though betrayed again and again, still live on. This is a fascinating and riveting read about the human spirit, a book you'll have a hard time putting down. It is told in the present tense, so that you feel as though you're there with Jaycee. The book is organized into chapters in chronological order; at the end of each chapter she writes her reflections now that she is safe as an adult. In the Kindle edition, there are black and white pictures of Jaycee and pictures of her journal pages, not just the text of the hardcover.

Highly recommended.
*****
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104 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be Prepared, July 12, 2011
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I would be concerned about anyone who could read this book without difficulty. I had to pause frequently and just breathe to compose myself, and still feel sick to my stomach when I think of what she endured. It is a horrific story and yet beautifully written. Jaycee Lee Dugard is an extraordinary young woman and courageous in the extreme, not only because she survived her ordeal with compassion for herself as a victim and hope for the future, but because she tells her story in unflinching detail and with an unusual degree of introspection and analysis. It is astounding to learn that she does not hate her tormentors, that she does not want that type of negativity in her life (echoing the sentiments of many notable survivors of torture, extermination camps, extreme abuse, etc.) Amazing. What was done to her absolutely defies imagination - not only the sexual abuse and physical neglect but the extreme isolation, manipulation, and mind games. And she helps us clearly understand why she was unable to escape even after she was granted a degree of freedom. She is a hero and we all have something to learn from her story.
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125 of 143 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting yet in the end, unexpectedly uplifiting, July 12, 2011
By 
Jessica (Minneapolis, MN) - See all my reviews
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Wow. I just read Jaycee's account of her captive life from cover to cover. Or should I say, JAYCEE.

I watched an interview with her the night before the release of her book, and was captivated by this beautiful, calm, and unexpectedly wise woman. I knew I wanted to read her story, even though I must admit the interview alone woke me up with nightmares. I just needed to know how someone so genuine and humane could emerge from such an experience.

Jaycee does a beautiful job of telling her unbelievable story without self-pity, which it makes it all the more heart-wrenching. It's hard to read the more gruesome aspects of the book; her pedophile captor is as sick as you would imagine. I will forever be haunted by the image of a 11 year old girl locked naked in a shed in California during the summer, handcuffed for weeks (or months?), left to the stifling heat without food and water unless her predator brings it to her. Towels covering the window; alone in the dark with nothing but ants and spiders and an occasional appearance by the child predator, who I don't even want to name (after all, he wouldn't use Jaycee's name so I won't repeat his.)

As the story and Jaycee's existence evolves, Jaycee's true spirit and humanity emerges. Her connection and love for animals is striking yet sad, as they provided her with the companionship and love so lacking in her world. Her desire to be "liked" and accepted by her female captor (also unworthy of a name) was fascinating and yet understandable. In a way, reading the book, you fall victim to the same emotions... wanting She-who-shall-not-be-named to accept and love Jaycee. It was very interesting to hear Jaycee describe her struggle with the baby weight, trying to make better food choices and "exercise" even inside of captivity. I guess societal pressures are truly pervasive if they could penetrate concealed backyards and soundproof sheds.

Jaycee's pregnancy, and then her second pregnancy seem so awful and unjust from the outside. However, her beautiful daughters would never have been in existence if it weren't for her terrible tragedy, and I think that they provided Jaycee with a reason for her experiences; an explanation and worthy cause for the evil in her life.

It's hard to understand how Jaycee didn't run; didn't take her daughters and flee, didn't scream at the parole officers or climb the fence to the neighbors. However, I think the reader has to remember Jaycee was taken at the tender age of 11, before she had any real experience of control over her world. She did not have the opportunity to make any real choices in her life. And the real invisible shackles were her two daughters; Jaycee didn't know how they would survive on the outside.

So would I recommend this book? Absolutely. And I hope Jaycee sells a hundred million copies and can live the rest of her life by the sea with all the pets she can possibly tolerate. And I hope her captors rot in hell.
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246 of 286 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an amazing story... but not an amazing book, July 20, 2011
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Wow.. where to begin...

This is definitely a very riveting read. It's very short, and the only time you'll want to put it down is when you need to take a minute to have an emotional breather. Like many others, I saw the interview with Diane Sawyer, and Jaycee's attitude about everything that's happened to her is unbelievable. She seems so warm and friendly, she's optimistic about the future, she isn't letting the horrific events of her past bring her down. And you can feel that attitude throughout the book. It definitely isn't professionally written, but she knows that and tells you not to expect that.

I have to say that I definitely recommend this book... BUT I feel like I can only give it 3 stars. The first third of the book was the most detailed (and yes, some of those details are horrific and will leave you stunned) and the part I went through the fastest. The last third or so, taking place after she was found, was incredibly emotional and uplifting. Like I said, her outlook on life is inspiring. But the middle part of the book was the hardest to get through, for me. The passage of time was never clearly marked. In the beginning, her first few years in captivity (up until she had her daughters) were very detailed and had a pretty clear passage of time, and then all of a sudden the pace and tone of the book change quite a bit. One part I had problems getting through was the journal entries. There is point in the book where Jaycee stops narrating the book, and instead uses journal entries to tell the story. The entries cover a time of nearly 10 years (1998 to 2007), and they are certainly very interesting to read. She talks about her hopes and dreams for the future, her wish to run away and be free, and so many more things, all very deep and thoughtful. However, I would have enjoyed it much more if they were interspersed with more narration of Jaycee's, written in the present day. I read a review from the NY Times that said the early years were full of shock, and then they settled into a "weird domesticity." It's that domesticity that I wish I knew more about. The day to day life, and how she got through it, and how she interacted with her daughters (who were brought up as her sisters)... all of that is lacking in the middle part of the book.

And yes, I know this will get me some scathing comments, but like some other reviewers here, I found the talk about her pets to be excessive. I understand that they were a huge part of her life.... but I felt like she talked and talked and talked about them... and yet barely mentioned her relationship with her daughters. Sometimes I feel like she talked so much about the pets in her life in order to avoid talking about harder things. It's like the pet sections (and they are numerous) are just fillers. I appreciated learning about her strong connection to animals, and how much they helped her get through the days... but I did not find it necessary to learn the names and colors and personalities of every single dog, cat, and bird she owned. Maybe it's because I've never been a big animal person, so maybe I just don't understand that connection... I don't know, it was just very hard for me to keep reading about them, I had to resist flipping ahead.

Overall... if you're looking for the day to day minor details (take "Room", for example, it focuses very much on what the captives ate for dinner, what they did after dinner, etc etc) of Jaycee's captivity, you won't find it here. If that's all you're looking for, you will get just as much information from the interview she did, so the book isn't worth it. But if you saw the interview, and loved her amazing attitude and outlook on life, definitely read this. My 3 star rating is not a rating for Jaycee or her life or the terrible things that happened to her. It is a rating for the book. It is a riveting read, but you will speed through some parts and crawl through others. Many things are repetitive, some parts skip over things too much, and some parts are too slow. It is very much written in HER voice, though, so that does make many of these things pretty forgivable. Perhaps my expectation are a little bit high... but even with her limited education, she is a remarkably smart woman and a talented writer, and so I feel like the book could have been better. Yes, it is a memoir, but it is still a published book (and surely it was expected to be a best seller), and I think it reads a little like a first draft.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stolen Life--A Hopeful Future, July 14, 2011
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A Stolen Life by Jaycee Lee Duggard

There are books that resonate with you, books you'll always remember because there is something in them that touches something in you. The Bell Jar by Slyvia Plath, Kindred by Octavia Butler, and Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison are some of the books I will always remember. I've just added A Stolen Life by Jaycee Lee Duggard to this collection. It's a beautifully written, and chilling narrative account of eighteen years of captivity through the eyes of the child Jaycee was and the adult (still somewhat child-like) she's become.

I read this memoir in one day. As I usually do with narratives dealing with abuse, I tried to rush through it. I'm of the whole `ripping the bandaid off' mentality so I wanted to read it, get through it, and know this brave woman's story. Instead, I found myself re-reading certain parts because I was so shocked and disgusted I couldn't believe what I'd read.

The chapter "The First Time" made me sick to my stomach. It is an appropriate name for that chapter because it is a first for both Jaycee and the reader (well me personally). I can't remember reading anything so graphically disturbing, and this chapter sets the tone of the memoir. At eleven years old, Jaycee Lee is not only kidnapped and enslaved, she's forced to lose her virginity to a psychotic pervert in a backyard hovel. I know it will get worse from there, and I'm numb, and not as shocked but still disgusted, when I read about Phillip Garrido's drug-induced `runs.' Runs are moments of time (days) when the monster acts out his fantasies on a helpless little girl. They are so despicable, you will cry.

And though this book is centered around the abuse done to an innocent child, it is also about hope, acceptance and unwavering love. Jaycee Lee Duggard is a remarkable human being. For someone who's experienced hell, she has a remarkably hopeful outlook on life. She loves animals, she loves her daughters, and she loves the family the monster ripped her from, so when she smiles and her eyes grow bright with happiness, it's because of them. Jaycee says she doesn't `hate' the monster and his enabling wife who is as much a monster as he, because to do so would give them power of her. So instead, she smiles, and laughs, and tries to focus on the positive.

In her "Reflections" (which come after each chapter), Jaycee states that she doesn't know why she didn't leave sooner, but I believe the reason is tied to Jaycee's overwhelming instinct to survive. Already shy, at 11, Jaycee relearned the world through the eyes of a predator and pervert, and in it, she was the prey. The monster had a stun-gun that could shock her into paralysis, and supposed dogs that patrolled outside, and later, when she was older, he was her protector from the `evil' outside world. So Jaycee adapted, and in the adaptation, grew complacent. I've read comments from many people asking why she didn't just leave once she was older, and that answer seems so simple after reading her memoir. She didn't know how. It was the monster's world, and she was simply trying to survive.

When she was taken, Jaycee didn't know right from wrong, good from bad, in terms of relationships. The monster assumed so many roles that she couldn't help but be confused: rapist, molester, torturer, father, friend and protector. As I read this story, and all of the depraved things done to Jaycee Lee's body with hardly a complaint from her, I get the feeling in my heart that if Jaycee had protested or rebelled as many wanted her to, she wouldn't be alive today to share this tale with us.

After finishing the book, I just want to give her a big hug for writing this story because there are countless children/adults who've suffered abuse and are silent about it. There's a shame that's heaped onto victims of sexual predators and this memoir cracked it. In the narrative, she says the reason she wrote this down was because she wasn't keeping `their' secret anymore. I wanted to cheer. The shame isn't the victims'. It's the abusers'.
Jaycee Lee Duggard wrote with unflinching precision, and gave us a glimpse into eighteen years of abuse, neglect, and brain-washing. I sincerely hope that Jaycee has nothing but good fortune for the rest of her life. She's endured for eighteen years what many of us couldn't. For those who say `she could have freed herself sooner,' perhaps, perhaps not. In situations like these, we outsiders can say whatever we think because we are thinking with a different mindset. The truth is, were you in Jaycee's shoes, you have no idea what you could or would have done to ensure survival.
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A Stolen Life: A Memoir
A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Lee Dugard (Paperback - July 3, 2012)
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