Thursday, August 4, 2011
A Stolen Life - Jaycee Dugard
I recently read the new memoir by Jaycee Dugard. Her story is amazing.
Jaycee Dugard was eleven years old when she was kidnapped while walking to the school bus stop in Lake Tahoe, California. For eighteen years she would endure a life that no one should ever have to go through, let alone a child. She was a victim of horrible sexual and emotional abuse from her captor, Phillip Garrido. His wife, Nancy Garrido, aided in the abduction of this innocent child and spent years helping him satisfy his sick desire for young girls.
It’s amazing that Jaycee was held captive for eighteen years by this monster. Her story is difficult to read and it will make you angry. You will be angry that someone this sick exists. You will be angry that law enforcement had opportunities to discover her and they didn’t. You will be angry that she never tried to escape and that Nancy, Phillip’s wife, never tried to free her, especially when Garrido was in prison for months. There are many reasons this book will make you angry and that’s okay. What you can’t do while reading this book is judge Jaycee Dugard.
You are not allowed to second guess any decisions she made or emotions she has felt unless you too were held captive for eighteen years and made a sex slave to a pervert. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking there were times when she could have escaped or tried to contact someone, but that is not fair to this amazing woman.
As I read this, I tried to recall my eleven year self. I tried to be honest with what I knew and how easy it would be to manipulate someone so young. This woman had no contact with other human being other than these sickos, for years. It’s impossible to know what you would do to survive this type of situation.
Dugard did survive and she raised two daughters that Garrido fathered. Since she was found in 2009, she has been reunited with her mother and younger sister. Dugard not only goes through the painful years in her book, but also gives you a glimpse into her life now. To know that now she is still not truly “free” because she is dogged by the media is quite troubling. I hope as the fascination of her experience wears off she can live in peace.
As far as a book goes, Dugard talks in a very frank and simple style. She’s also careful to keep her experiences in the same way they appeared to her as an innocent young girl. At the end of each chapter she shares a reflection of how she now views the situation. This is not a long book, yet I was compelled to read it quickly. It’s hard to stay in Dugard’s world for long, it’s amazing she was able to.
Her story has an even deeper connection for me because Antioch, California where she was held captive for 18 years, is only a few towns over from where I live. I felt if she was brave enough to tell her story I owed her my time to read it. I’m so impressed with her as a human being and because of her laws will be changed and we can only hope this will never happen to another child.
I wish peace and love to be in her life and after learning a bit about her, I’m confident that she’ll know how to make this happen for her and her family. In the end, this is a story about hope and never giving up. It’s a tough read, but I hope you will read it. I’ve also included her sit down interview with Diane Sawyer.
Posted by Colleen at 9:59 PM