A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
Like probably most everyone else, I've been riveted by stories in magazines and in the news about Jaycee Dugard. And like probably most everyone else, I've had a morbid curiosity about what actually happened during her captivity. Her face once again graced the cover of last week's People magazine, and ABC televised an hour-long candid interview this past Sunday night between Jaycee and Diane Sawyer. I forgot to record the interview Sunday night but watched it in snippets throughout the day on Monday, and found myself often in awe, and often in tears. Her memoir was due to be released on Tuesday, so I preordered it on my iPad so it would download as soon as it became available, and it downloaded Monday evening. That night I read the first 100 pages without stopping.
This is her detailed account of what happened: how one June morning in 1991, she walked to the bus stop like on any other ordinary school day, only on this day, a man by the name of Phillip Garrido pulled up alongside her in his car, reached his hand out the window, and paralyzed her with a stun gun, and then, with the help of his wife, Nancy, abducted her, drove her to their home a couple hours away and proceeded to keep her in captivity in their backyard for the next eighteen years. Eighteen years! It's almost inconceivable. During this time, she becomes no less than Phillip Garrido's sex slave and bears two children by him, giving birth both times in the squalid backyard, the first time when she was only fourteen years old.
It is an utterly riveting read, and yet, extremely difficult and disturbing. What this girl endured was horrific, and I honestly don't think I could have read it had I not known that in the end, she triumphs.
I got the impression that the book is intentionally not over-edited; it has a very stream-of-consciousness tone to it and very much reads like a young girl pouring her heart and memories out. And yes, she does still come across as very young; her writing has a very adolescent tone to it, which makes perfect sense - she was abducted at the age of eleven, and in a big way began a state of almost suspended animation at that point, being robbed of all the ordinary life experiences that mature a person.