Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Stolen Life - Dugard

A Stolen Life by Jaycee Lee Dugard is the memoir of a little girl.  But, it is also a memoir of a grown woman.

Jaycee was only eleven when Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy kidnapped her. One of the "lucky ones", rather than using and killing her, Jaycee became their captive.  For eighteen years, Jaycee was held and forced to be Garrido's toy. She is made totally dependent upon Garrido and his wife (for years she relies on him to empty her bathroom bucket as her prison has no running water). Some days were full of forced, drug-fueled sex. Others were more "normal", as if such a thing could have been possible given the circumstances, with Jaycee working at the 'family' printing business and caring for the children. But those children were born to Jaycee from Garrido's rape and molestation. The first was born when Jaycee is just fourteen years old.  Nothing was normal.

As the years pass, Garrido became more unstable. He seemed to be slowly slipping into insanity. But Jaycee, just a child when she was taken, is unable to fight back or to run. Until, one day, Garrido (who was facing some legal issues) takes Jaycee and her children to the local FBI office to support his crazy conspiracy theories. The officers, who were slowly gathering information on Garrido, finally realized that Jaycee was not there by her own choice. They separated her and the children from Garrido and his wife Nancy.  Jaycee, who was forced to only refer to herself by her fake name, had to write her birth name for the officer. Finally, after eighteen years, Jaycee was freed, and along with her two children, returned to Jaycee's mother who never gave up hope that she was alive. 

This memoir is blunt in its honesty. Jaycee's recounts her experiences and why she lived as she did, why she did not run.  While she understood fully that the situation was not normal, not healthy, not right, she hung in and accepted her plight for what it is. She thought often of her mother and sister, but she couldn't foresee a future when things would change. Maybe others would have handled the situation differently. Many might have tried to run, but then many might have ended up murdered because of that effort. 

Jaycee is an intelligent woman, that is clear. She not only managed to survive eighteen years of captivity at the hands of this sick man, but managed to thrive while there.  Upon her release, with the help of wonderful therapists, she reclaimed her life. She began The JAYC Foundation, an organization which helps families who've been impacted by abduction. It is clear that Jaycee has a lot of time to make up for, and she is well on her way.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.
Mariandy's Book Blog