Monday, January 30, 2012

A Stolen Life

A Stolen Life
Author: Jaycee Dugard
Simon & Schuster, 2011
288 pages

On a typical morning in 1991 as eleven year-old Jaycee Dugard walked to school, a strange man drove up beside her in his car. Moments later, the California girl was kidnapped, only to be found eighteen years later. A Stolen Life is the memoir of that experience, and the first year (more or less) of Dugard's new life after she was finally able to break free.

The book is as forthright as a memoir can be while also describing her feelings about the man who kidnapped her. It was hard to read because it's difficult to imagine anyone doing the things this man did. Not only did he steal Jaycee's youth and innocence, he made her (and his accomplice wife) totally dependent on him for even the most basic human needs. He also fathered her two daughters; the first born when Jaycee was only fourteen. She was so terrified of what would happen if she tried to escape, that she never even attempted it.

Fortunately, Jaycee didn't just find a path to freedom - she bravely took it. Since then, she started The JAYC Foundation, an organization that helps families who've been impacted by abduction. That so much good can come from so much bad is something that leaves me speechless.