Book Review: A Stolen Life

Book Review: A Stolen Life

April 26, 2018

Throughout the world, victims of traumatic experiences have difficulty resurfacing to normality and sharing horrors which have left them permanently scarred. Even with long hours of therapy and other recovery methods, the stories these people have to tell are usually left unspoken and forgotten about. It’s understandable that these stories are never released due to how personal they can feel.

In 2011’s “A Stolen Life,” Jaycee Dugard breaks this mold and shares her story with the world in one of the most powerful reads of the past decade.

 is the raw, autobiographical memoir of Jaycee Dugard – a victim of repeated sexual abuse and abduction. Dugard emphasizes the truth in an undtraditional, jaw-dropping way that makes “A Stolen Life” a fascinating, horrifying, very relevant story. On a technical level, Dugard may not be in the same realm as more experienced writers, but she manages to capture (and keep) the audiences attention by using very personal reflections and photographs.

Beginning the story before the events that led to her abduction, Dugard reveals she was just an ordinary eleven-year old girl. Like you and me, she had an entire life of opportunity in front of her at a young age. All of that was swept away by her kidnapper, Phillip Garrido, and his wife/accomplice, Nancy, who kidnapped Dugard in Meyers, California in 1991.

Dugard was forced by Phillip to do many terrifying, immoral, unspeakable things. She spent 18 years of her life held in captivity by the Garridos. She was sexually abused repeatedly, gave birth to two children, and emotionally manipulated over and over again. She coped by bonding with pets, journal entries and taking care of her two daughters. From childhood to motherhood, she still dealt with her internal conflicts with little-to-no help. In 2009, Jaycee Dugard was finally freed – reunited with her mother and family. The Garridos were arrested.

After pleading guilty to one kidnapping and 13 counts of sexual assault, Phillip Garrido was sentenced to 431 years to life behind bars. Nancy was sentenced 36 years to life on the same day.

After the incident, Dugard spent this time recovering and writing “A Stolen Life,” which was published only 2 years after she had secured her freedom. There are many intimate details in the story, but it’s definitely recommended to anyone who is able to digest a tough read.

For those interested in keeping even more up-to-date wtih Jaycee Dugard, her 2016 novel, “Freedom: My Book of Firsts” focuses on her life since the publication of “A Stolen Life” in 2011.