I lived in Salt Lake City in 2002 when Smart was abducted from her bedroom less than a mile from my student apartment in the foothills. Along with thousands of others, I helped search for her. Nine months later, I fell to my knees and cried when I got a phone call from my brother: "Turn on the TV! They found Elizabeth Smart!"
I preordered this book with great anticipation, wanting to hear about Smart's ordeal in her own words. The book does not disappoint. She recounts her abduction with great detail, sharing the story linearly. It is gripping. She doesn't share as much about her life after the abduction as some would like, but I imagine that choice was due to her desire to maintain some semblance of privacy to her life.
My only difficulty with the book is simply that Smart doesn't quite express to the listener just how harrowing this ordeal must have been (though this could be a result of hearing it rather than reading it). She is so adept at seeing her captors with disdain and derision at this point (11 years later), that you almost get the idea that she was able to scoff at them all the way along. I'm sure the story she told her parents in the weeks after her discovery was closer to the heart emotionally than this telling is. But still, I credit her for thumbing her nose at those terrible people and being able to move on. Good for her, even if the story did come off a little more arms-length than I would have liked.
Smart has a humor and sarcasm that comes through very strongly through her voice. In fact, I'm not sure the written word would have the same effect. Her reading made me laugh out loud at times.
Gratitude is paramount.
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