A Stolen Life - Jaycee Dugard

Reading Challenge Category: Book club September read

Official Blurb:

A raw and powerful memoir of Jaycee Lee Dugard's own story of being kidnapped as an 11-year-old and held captive for over 18 years
On 10 June 1991, eleven-year-old Jaycee Dugard was abducted from a school bus stop within sight of her home in Tahoe, California.
It was the last her family and friends saw of her for over eighteen years.
On 26 August 2009, Dugard, her daughters, and Phillip Craig Garrido appeared in the office of her kidnapper's parole officer in California. Their unusual behaviour sparked an investigation that led to the positive identification of Jaycee Lee Dugard, living in a tent behind Garrido's home. During her time in captivity, at the age of fourteen and seventeen, she gave birth to two daughters, both fathered by Garrido.
Dugard's memoir is written by the 30-year-old herself and covers the period from the time of her abduction in 1991 up until the present. In her stark, utterly honest and unflinching narrative, Jaycee opens up about what she experienced, including how she feels now, a year after being found.
Garrido and his wife Nancy have since pleaded guilty to their crimes.

My Thoughts:

Oh, this is such a hard book to write a review for! I am not discussing it in book club until next week, but I need to get the review written before I can discuss my feelings with the others. I did have a sneaky chat with one of the other members who has finished it to see if she was feeling the same as me, and she did, so that helps a little.
So, what happened to Jaycee as an eleven-year-old is atrocious, and I can’t put into words how terrifying that must have been for her. Some parts of the book’s first half made me want to cry for what that poor girl was going through and what she had to endure. The burden Phillip put on her was not her responsibility, and her life didn’t need to be stolen to help a very sick and evil man.
I hate wasted time that can’t be retrieved, and 18 years is such a long time; it’s a whole lifetime for this poor girl. She missed out on so much, and how she must have felt writing that first chapter about her summer plans knowing they never happened and she can’t go back and redo that time, I can’t even imagine.
She warned at the beginning that her thoughts would wander as she was writing. I had worried about how that would be to read, but I think it helped explain how muddled her brain was, and I didn’t think it was hard to follow.
The chapters are followed by a ‘reflection’ chapter where she talks us through what she thinks now and what she was really feeling. I liked these as knowing the story was one thing but finding out how she now felt was different altogether.
I must admit I found the second half of the book quite frustrating. None of us knows how we would react in a similar situation; however, I’d hope that, given a chance, I would be screaming for help at any chance I got. Jaycee didn’t do this, and I found that hard to read. Maybe even more so than the beginning.
I needed more from the ending other than her overcoming what had happened. I was hoping to get an insight into what had been going on back home when she went missing. This part of the story was lacking, and I did go and Google to fill in the gaps, which really helped me appreciate the enormity of this girl’s nightmare! I recommend anyone who has read this to do a quick Wikipedia search to find all the missing details.
I did read this very fast after I’d been in a bit of a reading slump. I had no background knowledge of Jaycee Dugard, so I didn’t know how her story ended, so I read this fast to get her 18-year imprisonment over quickly for her.

A Stolen Life
by Jaycee Dugard
Date Started
23rd September 2022
Date Finished
24th September 2022