"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 dont 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."
©2011 Jaycee Dugard (P)2011 Simon & Schuster Audio
I had just finished Lost and Found by John Glatt, in which he told the story of Jaycee's abductor, Phillip Garrido. That book mainly focused on Garrido's mental illness, head injury, and how the criminal justice system dealt with that type of offender. After reading that, I still felt a need to understand someone like Garrido and even more so, someone like Jaycee Dugard who was taken at such a young age, brainwashed, and continually abused in ways and for lengths of time that most humans cannot fathom. This memoir was really interesting because Jaycee was extremely open about her experience and was able to convey that in a clear relatable way.
What struck me most in both books was how the 'lucky' combination of both their personalities mixed in such a way that Jaycee was not a threat to Garrido, who probably would have killed her if she had been confrontational. I say lucky only because it likely helped her live. Garrido was extremely narcissistic and psychopathic and Jaycee was very compliant. I cannot stop thinking about various combinations of people and how it shapes their world view of what is normal. I found the whole situation confusing and worked hard to understand what it must have been like for this poor girl whose brain had to go through mental gymnastics to survive such a terrible idea. What was most interesting is that the very skills her brain gave her to survive were the skills that allowed her to be captive for at least a decade or more after she could have gotten free. But, how useful is that to even think about, considering that if her brain was focused on fighting and getting free, she would likely have been dead long before she could have escaped?
After reading Lost and Found, I was left with the mistaken impression that Jaycee would not have wanted her diary entries used for public consumption. Now I realize it was Jaycee herself who included her diary entries in her own book. She did this because whatever happened to her was not something she asked for. She felt that to hide the horror would be to hide Garrido's secrets. Jaycee is clear that he is the one who should feel ashamed, not her. That was a powerful narrative for anyone who suffered abuse even remotely similar to what Jaycee suffered.
My goal in reading both books was to understand humans in a more complete way. I think it will take some time for me to reflect on the various personalities in this book before I accomplish this goal. After reading, I feel I understand humans less than I thought I did, not more. This is valuable for me because the books I like most are those that force me to reevaluate what I think I know.
A Wonderful World
This book provides insight into a situation very few of us would ever undertand if it were not for Ms. Duggard. This audio version of the book is the only one I would recommend because how she speaks her story is almost as important as her writing the story. What a wonderful person who has given us the wonderful gift of getting to know her. What an inspirational woman.
This amazing young woman has bravely and point-blank shared her story in such a way that my tears were full of anger as well as pride. Jaycee, if you read these reviews, know that I have had you in my heart and in my presence for the past two days. Once I started listening to this presentation, I could not stop. I finished it in two sittings. As a mother and grandmother, I am so proud of you and so happy that you have chosen to not fall victim to what has happened to you; rather to harvest the learning from the experience and forge ahead. This is a book that MUST be listened to; reading it might be okay;, but to hear Jaycee read it aloud makes it come totally alive. Your style and your voice bring the pure innocence that is truly you. I can't help but love you and admire you and wish I could give you and your girls a long and heartfelt hug. Much love and happiness to you and your family. Love and light EveLynn
I liked this book and I think Jaycee is amazing for living through this and still being able to function. The book goes into lots of detail. She even mentions in the beginning of the book that she rambles and changes subject sometimes. It doesn't take from away from the story but if I wasn't paying close attention sometimes I would have to rewind and try to figure out where the current topic came from. Anyway, it is a good book and we should all support her after what she went through.
When I found out this was narrated by Jaycee, I knew I wanted to listen to it, I would have read the hardback if someone else had been the reader. Being a month younger than her and from the general area of where the events took place I was eager to hear her story in her own words since I had grown up knowing of her disappearance. It was a brave and honest retelling of particular events, making it difficult to listen to at times, and for that I applaud her. Her resilience and positivity is simply amazing. This book is great proof that attitude is everything.
I absolutely respect Jaycee's conviction with telling the story herself. Unfortuantely for me though it was as if she was reading someone eles's story and not telling about her own horror. I didn't get a sense of the passion and bravery that eventually led to her survival. I'm incredibly humbled by her courage and honesty and inspired to not take each day for granted. I'm SO very glad that she's going to be better than the circumstance she was forced to endure and I'm grateful for her sharing her story with the rest of us.
Probably not. The first listen was concise and informative.
Jaycee's personal reading makes the story so much more life like as she explains the years of her captivity and final release.
Survival through hell and freedom
Beautifully written and read. There would have been so much more suffering that she could have told, but instead of dwelling in the ugly and soaking in self pity she tells just enough to give the reader a good picture of her ordeal without degrading it to smut. Her description of reunification was fascinating to someone who couldn't begin to imagine what it would take to enter back into freedom.
Commuting 2 hours a day to and from work allows me the pleasure of listening to many books where I would otherwise not have time to read
This audio book narrated by the author, Jaycee Dugard, takes you into a nightmarish world that had me thinking, "This can't be real!" However, it was real, and hearing the story in Jaycee's own voice gave the book much more depth. What I liked most about the writing is that in the early chapters the writing was of a child. As the story unfolds the writing grows with the author. There is much to learn from her experience and the one thing I have learned is that if ever placed in a position where I had to remain hopeful of a loved one returning home one day, I would never give up that hope.
The story had me sick to my stomach at times, cheering for her when she was reunited with her family, and even had a tear or two for her while listening to her story of her struggle to survive.
No. Although the book is interessant and involving, the story is too sad.
As a real story this is a lesson for my life
She is a lovely mother.
When Jaycee Dugard finally found her mother again and took her life back.
I think Duggard was strong and weak in the same time during the terrible years lived. She could had change her life before but probably didn't do because of embarrassment of the the terrible facts, including the young pregnance.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
Thank you Jaycee for writing and narrating this book. You are such a brave young woman. In writing this memoir, you have given others the hope to hang in there in the face of adversity and be proud. I think your family is so lucky to have such an amazing daughter and sister.... but most important you seem to be such a loving and wonderful mother to your young daughters, you do us other mothers proud! So you go girl, your life is now just turning a wonderful new chapter. The world is your oyster Jaycee; we await another book from this budding young author.
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