Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Stolen Life - Jaycee Degard

Going in, I knew this was going to be horrific - this is Jaycee Dugard's memoir of her life - kidnapped off the street while walking to school at age 11, and kept in a room as a sex-slave for 18 years.  Everything about this book is truly unimaginable.  Dugard tries to write the book as she lived her experiences, and then includes "Reflection" paragraphs where she looks back on everything from present day.  Because she was taken while so young, and put through such traumatic events, the recollections are often piece-meal and incomplete.  For anyone who has read "Room" - a fictionalized account based on similar events, much of this book seems old hat (which is grotesque in and of itself).  I find it amazing that Dugard was able to write this book relatively soon after her escape, and to be so coherent and together.  Despite that, I think I am interested in reading a book from a more neutral perspective (which obviously isn't the point of a memoir).  Perhaps this book, plus a book about the wife of her captor, plus a book that discusses the lives of Jaycee's two children, raised until their teenage years in this limited environment.  Of course, no one would want to put those children through any more than they've already been through, but there was still so much about the story that could not be told because it was solely from Dugard's perspective and knowledge.  And, again, that's obviously not the point - not to get a complete picture of what happened, but to give a voice to the survivor.  But, regardless, this book is haunting.  It's one of those books I would never recommend reading because it is so truly terrible and shows the worst of the worst our world has to offer.  At the same time, it is a story of incredible survival, strength, and courage and a necessary read to confront some of our greatest fears - it's amazing to me that Dugard is where she is today, and I hope writing this book has helped with her healing process.

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