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My Story | [Elizabeth Smart, Chris Stewart]

My Story

On June 5, 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart, the daughter of a close-knit Mormon family, was taken from her home in the middle of the night by religious fanatic, Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. She was kept chained, dressed in disguise, repeatedly raped, and told she and her family would be killed if she tried to escape. After her rescue on March 12, 2003, she rejoined her family and worked to pick up the pieces of her life.
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Publisher's Summary

For the first time, 10 years after her abduction from her Salt Lake City bedroom, Elizabeth Smart reveals how she survived and the secret to forging a new life in the wake of a brutal crime.

On June 5, 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart, the daughter of a close-knit Mormon family, was taken from her home in the middle of the night by religious fanatic Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. She was kept chained, dressed in disguise, repeatedly raped, and told she and her family would be killed if she tried to escape. After her rescue on March 12, 2003, she rejoined her family and worked to pick up the pieces of her life.

Now for the first time, in her memoir, My Story, she tells of the constant fear she endured every hour, her courageous determination to maintain hope, and how she devised a plan to manipulate her captors and convinced them to return to Utah, where she was rescued minutes after arriving. Smart explains how her faith helped her stay sane in the midst of a nightmare and how she found the strength to confront her captors at their trial and see that justice was served.

In the nine years after her rescue, Smart transformed from victim to advocate, traveling the country and working to educate, inspire and foster change. She has created a foundation to help prevent crimes against children and is a frequent public speaker. In 2012, she married Matthew Gilmour, whom she met doing mission work in Paris for her church, in a fairy tale wedding that made the cover of People magazine.

©2013 Elizabeth Smart (P)2013 Macmillan Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (816 )
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4.2 (735 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Heather Waters Greenville, NC USA 11-14-13
    Heather Waters Greenville, NC USA 11-14-13 Member Since 2013

    BookEater

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excruciatingly Bad - wish I could give no stars..."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I was excited to read this book, and thought it would be an excellent accounting of her experience, though I was wary of Ms. Smart as narrator. Unfortunately, my instincts were correct: I got through approx. 8 minutes of this book before I tore the earphones off. Ms. Smart may indeed have a remarkable story to tell, but she has no business narrating an audiobook. The writing is immature. The narration, at points, was almost laughable it was so bad. It sounds like a 12 year old is reading to us from the front of a classroom. I was sure that even though Ms. Smart's reading skills were poor, she would at least be able to impart emotion to us that could get us through the story. Wrong again. When there is an audible emotional tone to her speech, it is always the wrong one! Laughing when she should be somber, lilting and infantile when she should be clear and level. I couldn't get into the story because I couldn't get over the irritating speech pattern and the mindless recitation of words, words, words. "She was pretty. The sun was bright. I was happy." I don't mean to show disrespect for her obviously serious, obviously terrible personal tragedy, but I just spent $15 on an audiobook and I'd like to trust the publishers to hire a professional to read it to me. Or at least, just a grown-up. This was so disappointing. If you must, go get it from the library. Don't waste your money or your time whenAudible has so many excellent alternatives. Ones that don't offend the ear...


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colorado-reader Boulder, Co USA 11-04-13
    Colorado-reader Boulder, Co USA 11-04-13 Member Since 2012

    Tell the story

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    "Oh, Elizabeth. There are so many layers unexplored"
    Would you try another book from Elizabeth Smart and Chris Stewart and/or Elizabeth Smart?

    No. It was a sad combination of shallow writing and an horrific experience.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Elizabeth Smart and Chris Stewart ? Why or why not?

    No. The editing and structure were not continuous. The reader is pushed in time from future to present to past to present; always, always, landing in a puddle of Elizabeth's defenses.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    She reads well, if she were reading a bedtime story to a child. A professional might have been able to expose more of the emotions Elizabeth seemed to be trying to convey. Her voice is too childish to convey anger or fear or even the righteous indignation that she is certainly entitled to.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from My Story?

    The editor should have stopped her from using the sentence, "And then he raped me." I don't need a play by play of sex. A rape is a multifaceted experience for any woman or girl. There was more to say than "He took me in the tent and raped me." At the very least, the revulsion of having to look at a dirty grown man's penis and the fear that she would lose her virginity to this monster should have been part of this horrific act on a child. The editor and co-writer failed to get Elizabeth to open up. Constantly saying that she hated or feared her captor did not convey the effects of those emotions on a fourteen-year-old girl.


    Any additional comments?

    I really wanted to like this story, and I think there will be plenty of stars awarded her by deeply religious people who simply want to uphold her writing as they uphold her faith. I cannot be one of those readers because I hope Elizabeth reads some of the more critical reviews and, even if not for publication, allows herself to feel and explore more deeply. This is a story that Elizabeth chose to write. If she was not ready to reveal any of herself to herself and the world, then it was not time to tell her story. I sincerely wish her well and hope that she learns introspection as a tool toward a lifetime of healing.

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melody 01-10-14
    Melody 01-10-14 Member Since 2014
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    "True to the title"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    While the story is familiar to most of us from media accounts, the book details Smart's ordeal from her personal side of story. Smart is honest and humble and does a good job of helping the listener understand what it was like to live through this as a 14 year old girl.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    While true crime stories typically detail the investigation, there is little of that included in this book. Smart gives insight into her abductors motivations, primarily how he used a religious delusion to justify his pedophilia. Smart was astute enough even as a young girl to recognize his rants for what they were; the product of darkness not the will of God.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    While it seems only right that the author should tell her own story, her narrative is distracting at times.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet Murray, UT, United States 10-28-13
    Janet Murray, UT, United States 10-28-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Heartbreaking and life changing"
    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    As just a child, Elizabeth Smart battled the personification of evil and destroyed it. Her courage, gratitude and determination to choose a happy life following nine months of hell is awe inspiring. She has handed the reader a formula for overcoming adversity and loving life that he will not find in any self help book. Bravo Elizabeth Smart!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan PUNTA GORDA, FL, United States 10-28-13
    Susan PUNTA GORDA, FL, United States 10-28-13 Member Since 2014

    Profesionl, hard working woman who travels weekly, enjoys life. My best Friends are Michael and Scooter. Nonfiction books are the best!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thank you for sharing your Story!!!!"
    What did you love best about My Story?

    That you allowed others to share your pain and your triumph, that you are true to your faith. Most of all how you have grown up to being an unbelieveable young lady.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Elizabeth, it's her story


    What does Elizabeth Smart bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    It's in her voice, her memory, her touch is everywhere.


    If you could give My Story a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Doesn't need one


    Any additional comments?

    Great book, I couldn't put it down.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    diane 10-21-13
    diane 10-21-13

    graphic & fine artist

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    "Gripping"

    Told in her own voice, this is the inspiring story of Elizabeth Smart - her journey into terror at the hands of Brian David Mitchell and how she survived he and Barzee's terrible abuses. It answers many of the questions we all had as we followed this case via the media. What a strong, amazing woman and what an inspiration to all of us. Bless you Elizabeth - not only did you survive the horrors of 9 months of captivity and unspeakable abuse, you came out of it with amazing stamina and strength. You have my complete admiration and I am in awe of your sheer fortitude.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dawn Portland, OR, United States 10-21-13
    Dawn Portland, OR, United States 10-21-13
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    "Incrediable Story told by Elizabeth Smart"
    What made the experience of listening to My Story the most enjoyable?

    It was enjoyable because it was read by Elizabeth Smart


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Elizabeth


    What does Elizabeth Smart bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Being able to hear the events from the actual person involved.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    na


    Any additional comments?

    none

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carla Kingwood, TX, USA 10-21-13
    Carla Kingwood, TX, USA 10-21-13 Member Since 2011
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    "I can't imagine"
    Would you consider the audio edition of My Story to be better than the print version?

    Yes, because it was read by Elizabeth Smart herself. You can hear her voice inflections and emphasis on words I would most likely not.


    If you could give My Story a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Light At The End of a Dark Tunnel


    Any additional comments?

    What an amazing person Elizabeth is. For her to use her story to help others overcome horrible things is a tribute to her, her family, and to God. Thank you for sharing Elizabeth!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DJ Colorado Rocky Mountains 10-20-13
    DJ Colorado Rocky Mountains 10-20-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Compelling & Heartwrenching"
    What did you love best about My Story?

    The strength of character that Elizabeth continually exhibits throughout her ordeal, and even afterwards with her willingness to tell all the heartwrenching details of her captivity and abuse. Ms. Smart defines the concept of being victimized, but courageously refusing to remain a perpetual victim.


    What did you like best about this story?

    That the story was narrated by the Ms. Smart, making it first-person autobiographical.


    What does Elizabeth Smart bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    In the first few pages, the listener gets the feeling that Ms. Smart is attempting to keep emotional distance from the story, reading the words somewhat dispassionately and with a narrator's detached cadence. But she can't seem to remain detached for long, because of course, this is her ordeal she is relating to the listener. When she finally decides to dispense with the emotional wall, and become passionately intertwined with the story that she is telling, the narration greatly improves and Her Story becomes "captivating" to the listener.


    Any additional comments?

    The book is extremely well written, but I still recommend you don't miss the opportunity to hear this story right out of the mouth of Elizabeth Smart.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacquelyn Cottondale, FL, United States 10-19-13
    Jacquelyn Cottondale, FL, United States 10-19-13

    I love mysteries.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is a sad story but one that needed to be told"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Because this story needs to be told so that people are aware that this kind of evil is out there and preys on even the innocent.


    What aspect of Elizabeth Smart’s performance would you have changed?

    More emotion in the story but I understand why there was none so I do not hold that against here


    Could you see My Story being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 107 results PREVIOUS12311NEXT
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  • Wicked
    England
    2/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding and moving"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys true accounts and stories of real survival.


    What other book might you compare My Story to, and why?

    A Stolen Life, Jaycee Lee Dugard
    3096 Days, Natascha Kampusch
    I Choose to Live, Sabine Dardenne
    Similar powerful accounts of kidnap survival


    Any additional comments?

    Elizabeth wrote and read her own story, her own account of the ordeal she suffered as a kidnapped child. The way she dealt with each horrific day is remarkable, but the most incredible thing, is how she moves forward after she has been rescued. It is a story of real survival and people could learn a lot from her attitude about how to get past this and live the rest of her life. I am humbled that she chose to tell her story and I am delighted that she did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • philh
    1/14/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The lady doth protest too much methinks."
    Would you try another book written by Elizabeth Smart and Chris Stewart or narrated by Elizabeth Smart?

    No


    What didn’t you like about Elizabeth Smart’s performance?

    She kept going back over and over and over again saying why she didn't escape, or why she went without a fight,and while you can understand that she would want to make the point it got to the stage where i thought she was just trying to fill the book up and got bored.


    What character would you cut from My Story?

    None


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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