"A Stolen Life" - Jaycee Dugard

  “For eighteen years I was a prisoner.” Jaycee Dugard unravels her real experience on pages as she spills the words of her traumatizing kidnapping. Today, Jaycee, 34, has published a book, done many interviews, and reiterates her description from the 18 years she has spent in a backyard as a slave. Her book, “A Stolen Life,” written by herself has hit the No. 1 bestseller spot on Amazon and sold 175,000 copies on the release date. 

  On June 10th, 1991, the unthinkable happened to Jaycee Lee Dugard. The eleven year old was walking to school before coming to the realization that a car had stopped right along side her on the road. Soon before she knew it, Jaycee has been abducted. Convicted sex-offender Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy snatched her on the side of the road and held her captive for 18 years of her life, stopping her from experiencing her preteens and adolescents years, stopping her from going to prom, and keeping her from her loved ones for years. 

Although this novel is graphic and detailed, it tells of a taboo incident that nobody would ever have dreamt of actually happening. In all honesty, it was hard for me to read at first because I was in shock that this event occurred. After a while, I chose to continue to read it because I was curious as to what happened and how she survived. Even though most of the book is repetitive, it was extremely well written. She was very straight forward with her points and feelings. She would not sugar coat anything. The sequence of the book was not in chronological order because she jumps from one part of the experience to another. In the beginning, she narrates about her first encounter with Phillip. Honestly, I wanted to stop and put down the book as fast as I read that a forty year old man kidnapped and sexually assaulted an eleven year old. It makes me feel violated, nervous, and cautious about my surroundings from now and so forth. Although this event wasn’t necessarily preventable, it made a huge impact on my life. I took away several different methods of life that I should always cherish and no longer take advantage of. While her basic human rights and freedom were striped right from under her, I am grateful for the life I have now. 

  The book is written and structured like a memoir. Jaycee is telling her story based on memories and old journals. At the end of each chapter, there’s always a reflection page summarizing and explaining her thoughts and feelings on what happened during an incident that she told in the previous chapter. I feel like the reflection page is really helpful because it helps me understand what she was trying to say, elaborate how she felt, her inner thoughts etcetera. 

  She decided to write the book because she didn’t want to “protect” her abuser anymore. She felt like she had preserved his identity enough throughout the years and writing the book publicizes the incidences that occurred while held captive. In her opinion, she felt like she could help others who are facing with difficult situations, showing them that it will be better. I also think that she wrote the book because throughout the 18 years she’s been imprisoned, she couldn’t really express her true feelings to anybody. Now, she finally has the chance to let thousands of people know what went on in the Garrido’s backyard. 

  I wouldn’t say there’s an obvious theme of the novel because it’s to every independent person’s opinion. But what I get from it, is that through any tragedy there will always be a brighter side. During her interview with Diane Sawyer, she mentions a lot about hope and how she nor her mother lost any hope during her disappearance. “There is life after something tragic” - Jaycee on Oprah. This is an amazing quote coming from someone who went through the toughest situation and still seems to put a smile on her face. Even though, her story’s immensely horrifying, Jaycee Lee Dugard is a survivor.

In my opinion, overall the book was interesting and eye catching. First page you read instantly grabs you in and makes you want to read more. But this was by far the hardest book I’ve ever had to read because of the subject of the matter.  I recommend this book to anybody who is interested in real life events. I wouldn’t highly recommend this book to a fellow high-school student because it’s such a mortifying and graphic story.  It just depends on the certain comfort level you have with sensitive topics. 

"a stolen life" by Jaycee Dugard 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Published: 2011 
Pages: 273 
Genre: Memoir 

Creative Project: 
This collage of what seems to be random things, symbolizes some of the many things that occurred in the time she was kidnapped.
Pine cones: In the book, she says that it was the last thing she had grasped onto before getting taken by the Garridos.
The two hands represent her two daughters.
Why her name is in big fonts is because during the entire 18 years, she was not allowed to say her name. Once she broke free, I interpreted it on the canvas like she's the main subject. Her name just had to be known and visible. 
The tv represents the little small television that Phillip gave her in the beginning of her kidnap where she only watched infomercials.
During her kidnap, Phillip gave her 3 kittens the ball of yarn and the cat on the side represents that.
The wawa symbol represents the fast food he fed her every single day.
The little butterfly charm on the side was the only thing she had left from her childhood. Before she got abducted, she was wearing a butterfly ring.   


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