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"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."
Jaycee does a terrific job of telling her story. It is heart wrenchingly honest and gives amazing insight into both the worst of human beings and the strongest. She does jump around a bit so you have to follow close and give it your full attention.
I would caution anybody who is not sure about reading something so tragic. There are parts that will make you downright sick. However not all of it is just horrid. If you can get through the tough parts, there are many hopeful parts as well
As far as listening to it versus reading it. I think it is great Jaycee narrated it herself, however she is not a practiced or professional narrator. She has a bit of a lisp that you get used to but can be distracting. If any of these things will distract a listener from the story they should read it instead because it's worth it!
53 of 54 people found this review helpful
I'm reluctant to criticize at all for fear of being beat up by other reviewers who seem to think any negative criticism is criticism against Jaycee herself - but here goes: I almost stopped listening on numerous occasions - her story is incredible on so many levels and I applaud Jaycee for writing it and for sharing her story. I kept reminding myself that if she could endure so many years of what she went through, I could withstand listening to it - it's tough to hear what she had to endure! I also find myself a little more aware and so many of us take for granted our safety in our cars or bedrooms as we're listening to this story - sadly, there are other young children with similar or worse fates than Jaycee. The criticism I have, and it's a strong one, is that I found the narration horrible and distracting from the story - I would highly recommend reading this book instead of listening to it.
49 of 52 people found this review helpful
I was fascinated by this author's story because I lived in the same town where she was held captive during that time, so I am familiar with the area. The book isn't an enjoyable book in the traditional way, but I was curious to hear how she managed during such a terrible ordeal. Her courage is amazing. I finished it in one day and couldn't stop listening. Parts of it are hard to listen to, but certainly worthwhile. It's a good lesson to all of us to never give up hope.
59 of 63 people found this review helpful
No one else could have narrated this story. Her brave and mature unburdening of the horrors she lived through are testament to her strength of character. The stark facts were presented unemotionally and concisely but her overwhelming love for her mother and belief she would live through her never ending nightmare shone through like the full moon she so cherished. A future in writing must surely be her destiny.
18 of 19 people found this review helpful
This is the stunning story of an 18 year ordeal told frankly and directly by a living victim. The courage and intelligence of this young woman is mind-boggling. The crimes committed against her are terrifying and the value of her insights is beyond computation.
Jaycee Dugard was in a difficult situation before she was abducted. Struggling with low self-esteem and a poor view of male caregivers in her home, she was subjected to abduction, rape, slave labor, mental anguish and torture, and brainwashing at the hands of a male predator and his female accomplice.
In great detail, Jaycee explains what she was forced to endure physically and sexually, how the on-set of Stockholm Syndrome was induced by her captors, her two unassisted births in a tent at the ages of 13 and 15. It reads like a Ruth Rendell novel but it is the documented true account of a child abduction.
Unlike Sabine Dardenne, whose account of her abduction, I Choose to Live, was ghost written, Jaycee Dugard, with a 5th grade education, wrote this account herself and reads it in her own voice. It is all the more disturbing for that. Dugard expresses her anger at her father and stepfather, her abductor and his accomplice, and the system that failed her. But her anger, though palpable to any listener, is tempered by her intelligence, her natural sense of the order of things, and compassion, perhaps her greatest virtue. She also expresses her love for her mother, her two daughters, and the animals who were her only companions for the first two years of her captivity. These animals were given and taken away at the whim of her captors.
I am very interested in this social problem and read most of the books written by victims. Nothing compares to listening to Jaycee Dugard's audible record. It is not always sequential. It is not always on topic. But it is the best example of what actually happens to a human brain that has gone through this kind of ordeal. Jaycee is one of the few who live to tell and she has done a spectacular job of bringing her experience back to the surface. If you have a strong stomach and a need or desire to understand stranger abductions, this book is the most important work on the subject to come along to date.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful
Jaycee deserves a fulfilled life for surviving this harrowing life in captivity.
She is a natural writer and story teller. I especially liked that she described the sexual part just once and then just referenced it later. The sexual perversity of PG if well documented and well told. Hurrah for her!! I hope she is able to continue writing. She should try her hand at fiction, she has a wealth of background to use. Enjoy your new life Jaycee!
14 of 15 people found this review helpful
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.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
What a well written from the heart book. Jaycee must be applauded for the courage to relive her ordeal & the wisdom to put it in writing. Most people would have hidden from the public eye & just left the details to our imaginations. Jaycee is a strong, courageous & very articulate young woman. Her daughters & Mother must be extremely proud of her. Like one of the other reviewers said - it is not a feel good book but it is a must read! Thank you Jaycee for having the courage to share.
24 of 27 people found this review helpful
I am writing this review before I have finished this listen. I bought this book immediately following the appearance of Jaycee Dugard on a television interview. I wanted to know more about how such a horrific situation could have possibly persisted for so many years, and, as a student of psychology, get the full story of the demented couple who kept her captive.
I am about three-quarters of the way through her story, and I feel compelled to warn a potential reader that this story is not for the faint of heart. In fact that is an understatement. The first third of the listen is so disturbing that someone sensitive to perverse treatment of children may want to seriously reconsider passing on listening to this read. I could only listen to this section of the book in short intervals, needing to put if away for several days before returning to it, as Jaycee's graphic descriptions of her abuse is so unthinkable that I found it stayed with me for hours, and even days after reading it. There were several times that I seriously contemplated not listening to any more. The only reason I have continued on with it is to learn what happens in the end to this depraved, and insane man and his equally perverted wife. No matter what is done to them in the way of punishment or justice, it will never be enough to give Jaycee back the precious years of her life that they stole.
Jaycee is not a professional narrator, but listening to her recount what was done to her, I realize that only she could be the appropriate person to tell her story.
As for the rating of this book... how does one rate something like this? How does one decide what is appropriate to gauge how "good" a story such as this can be? I honestly don't know, but ultimately I think that Jaycee has done an admirable and courageous job in her retelling of her story and that it merits a strong rating, if, for no other reason, than after all she had been through, she deserves to be heard.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
As a mother of young children I was just fascinated to hear how she cared for her girls under those circumstances and how she views her motherhood now. Definitely a must listen!
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
I heard of her amazing release on the news a few years ago...the book was quite amazing to listen to her story,horrendous in many parts but must give hope to parents of missing children. Very interesting to listen to
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Thank you Jaycee, for having the courage to tell your amazing story. It is a story of survival in the most harrowing of circumstances. Not only did she survive but she has gained strength and has grown into a remarkable woman and mother. Hearing her story, read herself is a truly humbling experience and one that will stay with me for a long time. Not because you were a victim, but because of how you have survived.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Horrific at times, but overall inspirational. It's hard to believe all she went through and she still comes across so happy and positive. Jaycee' s story is very sad, yet the happy ending is truly wonderful. I am going to download her second book next to continue hearing the happier side of her story.
I can't praise this book enough. This strong young woman and mother is obviously very intelligent too. I hope she continues to gain strength in her life and relationships, and I hope she continues to write. I will read or listen to anything she has to offer. She manages to get her heartbreaking story across so well. I'm very glad she chose to read this audio book herself. It made it SO powerful.
Where does A Stolen Life rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
amazed at her bravery especially when first abducted at age 11. She has a real ability to understand her captors' characters which she uses to make things more bearable for her. Such a strong girl. I was in awe of her. Very sad. My favourite bit was when she befriended a spider in her room because she was so lonely. She used to talk to it and named it Bianca. This brought tears to my eyes.
What other book might you compare A Stolen Life to, and why?
I was very interested but not sure i could read another abduction book for a while as so sad.
Have you listened to any of Jaycee Dugard’s other performances? How does this one compare?
Yes by being completely open and honest.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Nothing i was glad the author read it.
Any additional comments?
one of the things that came across in her story was her utter selflessness. She really believed that it was best that philip had chosen her so that another child did not have to gonthrough what she had. Amazing!! Would thoroughly recommend people to read this.
Very well detailed book, very shocking in places. Skipped a lot of chapters in middle, mainly the cat diaries etcetera
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
I would recommend this book to a friend but maybe as a paperback
What did you like best about this story?
I am so pleased the Jaycee got her life back and I give much thought to the fact that she was kept hidden for so many years. She is such a strong girl.
What didn’t you like about Jaycee Dugard’s performance?
I think that it would have been better to have a professional to do the narrating as I find Jaycee's voice tiring in the long run.
Was A Stolen Life worth the listening time?
It was worth the listening time but it was also very sad to listen to.
very sad but a little amateurish in the writing and reading of the story. I would have liked to know what sentences Phillip and Nancy recieved
I watched with interest this story unfold in the media and wondered how anyone could survive such abuse. Moreover the depts of darkness and depravity of the perpetrators is vast.
Reading the book written and read by Jaycee does give some insight into it and the fact that she survived is commendable. I think Jaycee was brave to tell what she did However Im sure this is just the tip of the Iceberg and far more happened that we the public will never be privy to. This is as it should be as certain facts should remain hidden for the protection of Jaycee and her daughters.
I think her mother showed such strength and devotion to her daughter and grandchildren and hope that they can go on now to have as normal a life as they can. I would recommend this book but it is clearly not for everyone and would kindly recommend the potential reader to please read the synopsis before purchasing.
Jaycee was very brave writing this book, it must have been so difficult for her re living all of those years. It was interesting, but very sad at the same time. There were graphic sexual chapters which bravely she left in the book.
One of the most powerful things I have ever heard. Especially coming from this incredible woman herself in her own words & voice. This story had an extremely powerful effect on me. Absolutely heart wrenching & awe inspiring. Thank you Jaycee Lee Dugard for sharing your incredibly difficult story. I'm sure there are many people in this world whom you have inspired, including me.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
the narration was great, i came across a documentary on Netflix about your story mainly told by your step father but it didn't have how your doing today, i had to know so i bought the book and I'm glad i did because it makes sense why you weren't in it - he just wanted publicity. A harrowing story of Stockholm syndrome and a devastatingly lost childhood all for some sick pleasure but what a beautiful woman you've not only become but your 2 girls ❤
I have to admit that I almost stopped listening to this a few times... it made me sick to hear what happened and I don't even know how she managed to survive. What a brave woman o continue living your life with your girls x
This is a book by Jaycee and as she says it does get a little muddled but you are listening to it through her mind and she has done an amazing job considering. I hope you find a little more peace each and every day.
A sad in depth look of a life Stolen from Jaycee Dugard. You cannot help but feel sorry and sympathise with this woman whom has been through so much at such a young age. Jaycee opens up about her time being held captive including her feelings, emotions & thoughts.