With my writings, I hope to convey that you can endure tough situations and survive. Not just survive, but be okay even on the inside, too. I’m not sure how I did endure all that I did. I ask myself less and less every day. I used to think maybe the one reading this would find the answer for me, but I am beginning to think that I have secretly known all along.
A Stolen Life is going to be really complicated for me to explain my thoughts on because it is a true story, a memoir. More than that, the story is tragic, and how could I possibly critique the beautiful survivor who so bravely put her abuse out there? So, first and foremost, I want to say that this is a review of the book, not the person.
Secondly, before I begin actually reviewing/reflecting over this memoir, I want to put a warning on this post. If you are sensitive to the topics of abuse, sexual abuse, mental manipulation, rape, and/or abduction, I would not recommend this book for you, and in fact, I would not recommend continuing to read this review. With that warning out there, let’s continue on to my thoughts.
A Stolen Life is Jaycee Dugard’s depiction of her captive situation. She was kidnapped at the age of 11 and held until she was 29 years old. In that time, she was mentally manipulated and abused physically. In her book, she sometimes gives graphic descriptions of violence that was used against her. She also describes her therapy that she has gone through after her ordeal.
It is important to live each day to its fullest, whatever life brings you.
Her memoir is a very important thing to understand because there are not many instances in which people have survived being held for such a long time. From that perspective, I’m very glad that I read it, but it is such a hard book to read. Not because of the language or structure of the story, but because of its raw, hurtful content.
In the past, I have heard a little about her story from the news because I do remember when she was found again. I learned some new events that occurred during those 18 years that I did not know before, but overall, I thought that I was going to learn more. The book felt more like an explanation of just glimpses into various key moments throughout that time rather than a look into day-to-day life.
Other aspects to her experience are completely left out. The trial and conviction of her captors were not discussed at all. Additionally, she did not talk about her children very much, which I thought was slightly odd. I appreciate the fact that she wanted to keep the lives of her children private, but instead of glossing over that, I wish she had just stated it outright. For example, something along the lines of: “I’m not going to discuss my children in this book to maintain their privacy. For that reason, their names will not be given here.” If she had just stated that, I don’t think it would’ve bothered me as much.
All in all, I am glad that I read it to see what her experience was like. Her strength amazes me in everything that she has done. However, in terms of the book, if you have a lot of previous knowledge of her kidnapping, you are sensitive to these topics, or you are young, I would not recommend this book. If you do not know much about her though, I think that this is a powerful memoir.