Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard

I think we have all heard the headline news of Jaycee Dugard’s tragic abduction and subsequent time as a prisoner of Philip and Nancy Garrido. A Stolen Life is an in depth look beyond the headlines to the everyday life of Jaycee Dugard before, during, and after her captivity.

The story starts with Jaycee’s life at the time of her kidnapping, and includes graphic detail of her kidnapping, life as a prisoner, motherhood, and rescue. A Stolen Life is a book that is at times very hard to read. As a mother of three small children, reading it was like reading my worst nightmare. It’s hard to believe that such evil exists in the world that could happen to your children.

A Stolen Life was also an uplifting tale at times. The fact that Jaycee was able to keep her sanity and provide the best life she could for her children was amazing. I also like how she was basically a self-taught graphic artist that was an integral part of Philip and Nancy’s business.

A Stolen Life also contained different sections of a variety of different diaries that Jaycee kept while a prisoner. The saddest one for me was the one she wrote in 1993 (while 13 or so) about her cat Eclipse that the Garridos eventually took away. It really struck home how she was just a poor young girl trying to find some happiness in her life. I don’t understand how the Garridos thought they could steal her innocence and life away and it was okay. It makes me very sad.

I like how the book was written in a stream of consciousness narrative. It was what Jaycee was thinking at that time and certain early chapters had reflections on what she thought looking back on the events.

I read the novel, Room last year by Emma Donoghue and included it in my top ten reads of 2010. A Stolen Life is like the true life narrative of Room. It is unfortunate that anyone had to live through such events brought forth by one evil man.

I read through A Stolen Life quickly. I was disturbed, yet enthralled with the book. I think having the uplifting rescue, reuniting with her family, and ability to move on a try to return to normalcy made this book a great read. I felt that writing the book was almost a way of therapy for Jaycee Dugard. I hope that it was.

Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library


  1. I would also like to read this book, although it would be a difficult read. What a truly amazing person Jaycee is!

  2. "I think we have all heard the headline news of Jaycee Dugard’s tragic abduction and subsequent time as a prisoner of Philip and Nancy Garrido." - Umm, nope? Which means the whole review through I kept wondering "right, so what's the background story here? What actually happened?". ;) Sounds like something awful happened, nonetheless, but I guess - and hope!! - it's sorted out now?

  3. Traxy - I'm sorry, I need to realize that I have readers that are not in the United States! It was such a headline story here that I thought it might actually be a worldwide story (similar to the story of the Austrian Dad who kept his daughter captive).

    Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped when she was 11 years old in California. She was held captive for EIGHTEEN years by Philip and his wife Nancy. While in captivity, she gave birth to Philip's two children starting when she was thirteen. Jaycee and her daughters were finally rescued when Philip took them to meet his parole officer (he had gone to jail previously for raping a woman) for some reason.

    Jaycee has written this book, which is a bestseller in America, and has appeared on TV to discuss this horrible crime.

  4. I remember thinking that Room must have been based on her story except that the timeline of when the book came out seemed fast. (Turns out it was mire based on something that happened in Europe). Jaycee's story makes me so sad and mad!

  5. Thanks for the explanation, Laura! It doesn't ring a bell (the Austrian one does, though), but what an awful story! :( And to think we're having to share the same planet as those people. *shudders*

    I remember hearing about a young woman who had been stolen as a baby who never quite felt at home with her "family" - and then came across her mum online. That made the news over here. Stealing babies? WTH is wrong with people?!