A Stolen Life
by Jaycee Dugard

Simon & Schuster, 2011. ISBN 978-1-451-62918-7.
Reviewed by Sallie Moffitt
Posted on 10/06/2011

Nonfiction: Memoir

Jaycee Dugard's courageous story, A Stolen Life, not only recounts her abduction and imprisoned as the sex slave of Phillip Garrido at the age of eleven, but also celebrates her rescue and recovery at the age of twenty-nine. Ms. Dugard writes with the innocence and vulnerability of a child and unveils the emotional bonds she had to establish with Garrido, a deranged man who hears voices, in order to survive.

Ms. Dugard's simple, direct sentences describe the events leading up to her abduction in the first chapter, aptly titled "The Taking". She explains the tense relationship with Carl, her stepfather, and how she wanted to stay home from school that day. As she walks to the bus stop, she encounters Phillip Garrido and her life changes forever.

In the author's first year of captivity, Garrido manipulates the little girl by keeping her handcuffed in a dark room, controlling her with food, and threatening her with a stun gun. He uses drugs to enhance his perverted sex acts and claims the child is helping him with his sex problem.

Later that year, the author meets Garrido's wife, Nancy, who is a drug-addicted nurse's aide. Nancy remains silent about the abduction and imprisonment of the little girl, even after Ms. Dugard births two daughters, both fathered by Garrido.

What makes this book different is the excerpts for the journals Ms. Dugard kept during her captivity. Each journal entry shows her determined effort to keep a positive attitude. One journal entry lists the affirmation "I have the strength to do everything I set my mind to?" Another entry is about her quest to find happiness in her daily life. Several pages disclose telling details about Phillip Garrido's mental instability and his anger at the voices in his head.

After Ms. Dugard and her two daughters are rescued from their backyard prison, their long road of recovery begins. The author reveals her struggles to reclaim her old life and her dreams to establish a new one. Sometimes the recovery process challenges the author's sweet disposition, but she triumphs over each obstacle.

This enduring story of survival left me amazed at the inner strength of one little girl. I have no doubt that Jaycee Dugard will prevail in life—and this book is proof.

Jaycee Dugard finds comfort in the symbol of a pine cone. To her, the pine cone represents the seed of a new beginning. To help facilitate new beginnings for others, she created the J A Y C (Just Ask Yourself to...Care!) Foundation. A portion of the proceeds from her book help support this foundation.

Authors/Publicists: For promotion purposes, you may quote excerpts of up to 200 words from our reviews, with a link to the page on which the review is posted. ©Copyright to the review is held by the writer (review posting date appears on the review page). If you wish to reprint the full review, you may do so ONLY with her written permission, and with a link to http://www.storycirclebookreviews.org. Contact our Book Review Editor (bookreviews at storycirclebookreviews.org) with your request and she will forward it to the appropriate person.

StoryCircleBookReviews provides a review venue for women self-published authors and for women's books published by independent and university presses.

Email me with news about your book reviews

Sarton Women's Book Award

Your ad could be here.
Advertise with us!


Visit us on Facebook and Twitter and goodreads.

Buy books online through amazon.com by simply clicking on the book cover or title. Your purchase will support our work of encouraging all women to tell their stories.
This title is currently available ONLY as an e-book