Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Stolen Life: A Memoir

Title: A Stolen Life: A Memoir
Author: Jaycee Dugard
Published: July 12th 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads

In the summer of 1991 I was a normal kid. I did normal things. I had friends and a mother who loved me. I was just like you. Until the day my life was stolen.
For eighteen years I was a prisoner. I was an object for someone to use and abuse.

For eighteen years I was not allowed to speak my own name. I became a mother and was forced to be a sister. For eighteen years I survived an impossible situation.

On August 26, 2009, I took my name back. My name is Jaycee Lee Dugard. I don’t think of myself as a victim. I survived.

A Stolen Life is my story—in my own words, in my own way, exactly as I remember it.

This is going to be a hard book to review.

If you have read "Room" or "Living Dead Girl" then you can get an idea what this book is like but omg.... I can't believe this happened in real life.

"A Stolen Life" is Jaycee Dugard's story in her own words. It isn't extremely detailed but she warns us to bear with her in the beginning due to her limited education. But the way she describes what her captors did to her will shock you. I honestly can not believe she is still alive having to have lived through such a tragic life.

You get a real sense of who Jaycee is through short little journal entries. Her love for animals, how she would look at the moon and think of her mom, how she never gave up hope, how at times she did, what she would like to do in the future. It amazed me how there was still hope in her life that she had the WANT to do things like write a best seller or start a homeless shelter that was also therapeutic with animals.

The book isn't graphic but it is horrific. It left me fuming that this couple treated her this way. THat this man scarred her for life and ripped her in two. That the parole officers that visited the house of a sex offender never realized there was a little girl, then a girl and two babies, living in the backyard.

The beginning of the books starts out with how the captors took her. Shocking her with a taser then stuffing her in their van.

From there it talks about all the sexual abuse she had to go through. How at eleven years old she was assaulted and how she became pregnant and gave birth at 14. I just can't fathom why on earth this couple would want to do this to a little girl.

The man, Phillip, told Jaycee that she was helping him with his sex problem. That angels were making him do bad things and she was doing a good thing.... and wouldn't it be best if SHE helped him out instead of a bunch of other little girls that could get hurt.

That's just messed up.

Parts of the book are journal entries. We get to see a journal she made for a cat and then how Phillip made her tear her name (from a corner where she wrote it) out because he didn't want people to know who she was if it was ever found.

There were times about how Phillip would go on "runs" which were binges of METH and he would force Jaycee to sexually satisfy him for days. But then how the sex finally stopped after the birth of her second child at age 17.

After that her story gets almost weirder. Phillip decides that his wife should be called "MOM" to her girls and that Jaycee should change her name and be known as the girls' sister. For 18 years Jaycee was not referred to by her name or said her name aloud. It makes me wonder what her captors called her before the 2nd child was born.

But, like I said, Jaycee has the 2nd child and goes along with being known as the girls' sister because she doesn't want to make anyone happy.

Sure there are thoughts of running away, calling for help, but she has been subjected to this family for so long that she afraid to speak out. And during the time of this it is almost like Phillip is trying to make everyone a happy family.

They also started a business card printing company after this where Jaycee was in charge of printing orders. She even had her own money and at the end of her abduction got to go out to the thrift store with Nancy. It amazed her that nobody knew who she was.... but it also scared her that people would recognize her. In my opinion she felt as though if she protected Nancy and Phillip then her girls would be safe.

Then came the day she was discovered. And seriously.... I can not believe it happened this way. I'm going to assume everyone knows this but jeeze... it was almost stupid of Phillip's part. He decided that he was going to take everyone down to see his parole officer because he got in trouble with being with the girls (which are his own children but no one knows that) and have Jaycee tell the parole officer that she realizes he's a sex offender and that it's ok for her girls to be with him.

That's when they figured out who she was.

Two police officers told her that they knew she was someone else. Then Phillip confesses to kidnapping. Jaycee is starting to get scared. They ask her HER name. She tells them she can't say it. That she hasn't said it for 18 years... but she can write it down. From there she was a headline.

Jaycee is slowly transitioning back into the real world. Her little sister taught her how to drive and her oldest daughter has started high school. She has been going to therapy and trying to learn to ask for help and at times rely on herself. It will be a slow process.

I'm very curious to see what she does with her life. I hope she gets to do everything she made on those lists in her book. Write a best seller, have a dog, See Egypt, simple things but to her they were thought to be unreachable. I hope she gets to do every last one of them. She truly deserves it!


  1. I've heard a lot about this story, but I would still like to read the book, especially since it's HER account of what happened.

  2. I've heard a lot about this story, but I would still like to read the book, especially since it's HER account of what happened.

  3. I don't know if I would be able to read this one... So horrible! It is really sad that things like this happen. People are sick.

  4. Thanks for sharing - I remember when this was all over the news, and thinking how sick and sad it was. I'd be very interested in reading the story in her own voice.

  5. Jaycee Lee Dugard is and was a strong woman for everything they put her through. She details so much information that will just make you cry, but she makes it knows that she is a survivor. I wish nothing but the best to her and her family and to her future!