A Stolen Life: an inspiring novel

A Stolen Life: an inspiring novel

Alicja Kania, Staff Writer

After reading such a strong novel, I guarantee you’ll feel grateful for what you have and maybe even guilty for ever complaining about the little things in your life — like over-protective parents, or annoying little siblings. This memoir will keep you up at night with thoughts of being in Jaycee Dugard’s place and thanking God you weren’t. The reader will be thrown back into the past life of the frightened, kidnapped 11-year-old girl.

As I read through Dugard’s journey I remember thinking to myself, this is truly one of the bravest people out there.

Living in South Lake Tahoe, California, Jaycee Lee Dugard was just getting ready for school on a typical June day in 1991. She said goodbye to her baby sister and walked out her front door and down the street, not realizing at all that this would be the last time for the next 18 years. Snatched into a strange car by an even stranger couple, Phillip and Nancy Garrido, Jaycee didn’t have a single clue as to what was about to happen and that her childhood was about to be ripped out of her and thrown away.

From here the reader finds out all the disgusting things Philip made the young girl do. She was verbally abused, raped, and brainwashed. Jaycee, or Allissa, as she is now called, ends up giving birth to two girls and forced to be a mother at a much too early age. She lives in the Garrido’s backyard in various tents and unsanitary surroundings.

Now, you may be thinking — Why didn’t she try escaping? And here the reader must really work to understand that she was only an 11-year-old kid. Everything she’s ever known about the world has been changed and manipulated by her attacker. It’s completely heartbreaking.

Jaycee adjusts to this new lifestyle and just lives to survive. She loves her girls, but she misses her mom, and she relies on cats to comfort her and be her friend. As the book progresses the brainwashing becomes more apparent.

I cannot  put into words how brainwashed Jaycee was. She did her best to please Phillip and Nancy and tried hard to accept her situation. She never fought back and tried to see the bright side of her situation. Reading her story, you’ll probably feel it impossible to do such things to people who stole your childhood and ruined your life, but that was Jaycee.

Even though the reader can predict that she will be rescued (after all, she lived to write this book), the ending is still a surprise. This book was a page-turning and I didn’t want to put it down. But it was also completely heart-wrenching and and took time to understand Jaycee’s situation. It was an excellent book and I recommend for anyone to read it and remember to never lose hope.