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Summary

"In the summer of 1991 I was a normal kid. I did normal things. I had friends and a mother who loved me. I was just like you. Until the day my life was stolen. For eighteen years I was a prisoner. I was an object for someone to use and abuse. For eighteen years I was not allowed to speak my own name. I became a mother and was forced to be a sister. For eighteen years I survived an impossible situation. On August 26, 2009, I took my name back. My name is Jaycee Lee Dugard. I dont think of myself as a victim. I survived. A Stolen Life is my story in my own words, in my own way, exactly as I remember it."

©2011 Jaycee Dugard (P)2011 Simon & Schuster Audio

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What listeners say about A Stolen Life

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An amazing story

I heard of her amazing release on the news a few years ago...the book was quite amazing to listen to her story,horrendous in many parts but must give hope to parents of missing children. Very interesting to listen to

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating

Thank you Jaycee, for having the courage to tell your amazing story. It is a story of survival in the most harrowing of circumstances. Not only did she survive but she has gained strength and has grown into a remarkable woman and mother. Hearing her story, read herself is a truly humbling experience and one that will stay with me for a long time. Not because you were a victim, but because of how you have survived.

1 person found this helpful

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Hard to hear but an incredible journey

Spoken by Jaycee herself is hard not be be moved, repulsed and consumed by this book.

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Disturbing and upsetting, but so well written!

Beautifully narrated by Jaycee herself. A harrowing true story, from a very strong lady! This was so disturbing, but to have overcome and begun to live again after all they endured is incredible. A true story of strength and hope. Nothing to say about the perpetrators of this terrible crime, just admiration for Jaycee and her daughters.

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  • R.
  • 09-05-22

A story of survival

It takes a while to get into the rhythm of the storytelling. This book is basically told from her point of view as the events happened and I imagine it was written as part of recovery, as many victims of trauma will recognise. It’s a difficult story, and I was amazed by Jaycee’s maturity and survival instinct throughout.

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Heartbreaking but Inspiring

What an incredible woman Jaycee is. To have been through so much and to get through the other side. I wish her every thing for her future with her girls.

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Brave story

Really brave to tell this story but got bored listening to all the cat/dog stories.

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Wonderful outcome after all the pain

Amazing read , told by Jaycee herself. Very detailed account. Stockholm syndrome detailed and how it works

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Made a grown man cry

I was sat in a traffic jam with tears when the reunion with her mum happened

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Heart breaking

When listening I had to keep reminding myself that this was real and it went on for 18 years. Such a sad and scary book made me so very angry for the people who subjected the little girl to that life

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  • Joanna
  • 01-09-12

Disturbing

I am writing this review before I have finished this listen. I bought this book immediately following the appearance of Jaycee Dugard on a television interview. I wanted to know more about how such a horrific situation could have possibly persisted for so many years, and, as a student of psychology, get the full story of the demented couple who kept her captive.

I am about three-quarters of the way through her story, and I feel compelled to warn a potential reader that this story is not for the faint of heart. In fact that is an understatement. The first third of the listen is so disturbing that someone sensitive to perverse treatment of children may want to seriously reconsider passing on listening to this read. I could only listen to this section of the book in short intervals, needing to put if away for several days before returning to it, as Jaycee's graphic descriptions of her abuse is so unthinkable that I found it stayed with me for hours, and even days after reading it. There were several times that I seriously contemplated not listening to any more. The only reason I have continued on with it is to learn what happens in the end to this depraved, and insane man and his equally perverted wife. No matter what is done to them in the way of punishment or justice, it will never be enough to give Jaycee back the precious years of her life that they stole.

Jaycee is not a professional narrator, but listening to her recount what was done to her, I realize that only she could be the appropriate person to tell her story.

As for the rating of this book... how does one rate something like this? How does one decide what is appropriate to gauge how "good" a story such as this can be? I honestly don't know, but ultimately I think that Jaycee has done an admirable and courageous job in her retelling of her story and that it merits a strong rating, if, for no other reason, than after all she had been through, she deserves to be heard.

58 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel
  • 27-07-11

Terrific

Jaycee does a terrific job of telling her story. It is heart wrenchingly honest and gives amazing insight into both the worst of human beings and the strongest. She does jump around a bit so you have to follow close and give it your full attention.

I would caution anybody who is not sure about reading something so tragic. There are parts that will make you downright sick. However not all of it is just horrid. If you can get through the tough parts, there are many hopeful parts as well

As far as listening to it versus reading it. I think it is great Jaycee narrated it herself, however she is not a practiced or professional narrator. She has a bit of a lisp that you get used to but can be distracting. If any of these things will distract a listener from the story they should read it instead because it's worth it!

83 people found this helpful

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  • serine
  • 13-04-16

Excellent memoir! Absolutely recommend.

I had just finished Lost and Found by John Glatt, in which he told the story of Jaycee's abductor, Phillip Garrido. That book mainly focused on Garrido's mental illness, head injury, and how the criminal justice system dealt with that type of offender. After reading that, I still felt a need to understand someone like Garrido and even more so, someone like Jaycee Dugard who was taken at such a young age, brainwashed, and continually abused in ways and for lengths of time that most humans cannot fathom. This memoir was really interesting because Jaycee was extremely open about her experience and was able to convey that in a clear relatable way.

What struck me most in both books was how the 'lucky' combination of both their personalities mixed in such a way that Jaycee was not a threat to Garrido, who probably would have killed her if she had been confrontational. I say lucky only because it likely helped her live. Garrido was extremely narcissistic and psychopathic and Jaycee was very compliant. I cannot stop thinking about various combinations of people and how it shapes their world view of what is normal. I found the whole situation confusing and worked hard to understand what it must have been like for this poor girl whose brain had to go through mental gymnastics to survive such a terrible idea. What was most interesting is that the very skills her brain gave her to survive were the skills that allowed her to be captive for at least a decade or more after she could have gotten free. But, how useful is that to even think about, considering that if her brain was focused on fighting and getting free, she would likely have been dead long before she could have escaped?

After reading Lost and Found, I was left with the mistaken impression that Jaycee would not have wanted her diary entries used for public consumption. Now I realize it was Jaycee herself who included her diary entries in her own book. She did this because whatever happened to her was not something she asked for. She felt that to hide the horror would be to hide Garrido's secrets. Jaycee is clear that he is the one who should feel ashamed, not her. That was a powerful narrative for anyone who suffered abuse even remotely similar to what Jaycee suffered.

My goal in reading both books was to understand humans in a more complete way. I think it will take some time for me to reflect on the various personalities in this book before I accomplish this goal. After reading, I feel I understand humans less than I thought I did, not more. This is valuable for me because the books I like most are those that force me to reevaluate what I think I know.

17 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Bonnie R
  • 18-08-11

Book powerful, narration not so much

I'm reluctant to criticize at all for fear of being beat up by other reviewers who seem to think any negative criticism is criticism against Jaycee herself - but here goes: I almost stopped listening on numerous occasions - her story is incredible on so many levels and I applaud Jaycee for writing it and for sharing her story. I kept reminding myself that if she could endure so many years of what she went through, I could withstand listening to it - it's tough to hear what she had to endure! I also find myself a little more aware and so many of us take for granted our safety in our cars or bedrooms as we're listening to this story - sadly, there are other young children with similar or worse fates than Jaycee. The criticism I have, and it's a strong one, is that I found the narration horrible and distracting from the story - I would highly recommend reading this book instead of listening to it.

73 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sandylp
  • 13-07-11

Engrossing

I was fascinated by this author's story because I lived in the same town where she was held captive during that time, so I am familiar with the area. The book isn't an enjoyable book in the traditional way, but I was curious to hear how she managed during such a terrible ordeal. Her courage is amazing. I finished it in one day and couldn't stop listening. Parts of it are hard to listen to, but certainly worthwhile. It's a good lesson to all of us to never give up hope.

73 people found this helpful

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  • Patrick King
  • 24-09-12

Real life horror told candidly by the victim

This is the stunning story of an 18 year ordeal told frankly and directly by a living victim. The courage and intelligence of this young woman is mind-boggling. The crimes committed against her are terrifying and the value of her insights is beyond computation.

Jaycee Dugard was in a difficult situation before she was abducted. Struggling with low self-esteem and a poor view of male caregivers in her home, she was subjected to abduction, rape, slave labor, mental anguish and torture, and brainwashing at the hands of a male predator and his female accomplice.

In great detail, Jaycee explains what she was forced to endure physically and sexually, how the on-set of Stockholm Syndrome was induced by her captors, her two unassisted births in a tent at the ages of 13 and 15. It reads like a Ruth Rendell novel but it is the documented true account of a child abduction.

Unlike Sabine Dardenne, whose account of her abduction, I Choose to Live, was ghost written, Jaycee Dugard, with a 5th grade education, wrote this account herself and reads it in her own voice. It is all the more disturbing for that. Dugard expresses her anger at her father and stepfather, her abductor and his accomplice, and the system that failed her. But her anger, though palpable to any listener, is tempered by her intelligence, her natural sense of the order of things, and compassion, perhaps her greatest virtue. She also expresses her love for her mother, her two daughters, and the animals who were her only companions for the first two years of her captivity. These animals were given and taken away at the whim of her captors.

I am very interested in this social problem and read most of the books written by victims. Nothing compares to listening to Jaycee Dugard's audible record. It is not always sequential. It is not always on topic. But it is the best example of what actually happens to a human brain that has gone through this kind of ordeal. Jaycee is one of the few who live to tell and she has done a spectacular job of bringing her experience back to the surface. If you have a strong stomach and a need or desire to understand stranger abductions, this book is the most important work on the subject to come along to date.

24 people found this helpful

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  • Pink Amy
  • 24-11-20

Wonderful person, terribly narration and book

I have so much empathy and respect for Jaycee Dugard and was excited to listen to her book.

At the beginning of the story, when she’s eleven, the childlike narration voice is appropriate, however as the book goes on, rather than a narrating the story Jaycee sounds like she’s reading it to toddlers, with voice inflections they sound like every sentence ends with multiple exclamation points!!!!!!!!! I feel bad criticizing her voice because it’s more a criticism of the editorial decision to allow her to narrate the story.

I understand that her emotional development was severely stunted by her kidnapping and the abuse she endured. The book is often repetitive, stories are shared multiple times, verbatim. Much of the story is dedicated to the pets she had while in captivity and while I’m a cat person, that’s not why I wanted to read the book. A STOLEN LIFE seems more like a therapeutic exercise than a book that should have been published as is. At times Jaycee seems angrier with her stepfather than her kidnapper. From Jaycee’s perspective he was overly critical and liked her sister, his biological daughter, better. She never gets beyond that preteen girl who dislikes having an authority figure in her life. The nonfiction book I wrote about her abduction was much better. John Glatt’s nonfiction book LOST AND FOUND talks about how Jaycee resents having a stepfather come between her and her mom, which is understandable, especially after her sister is born and Jaycee experiences sibling rivalry. Most 11 year old girls would feel the same as she did. Jaycee seems to have forgiven her captors but not her stepfather. I suppose she has legitimate psychological reasons for this. She’ll never see her kidnappers again, but her stepfather will always be her sister’s father.

I thought I’d like hearing Jaycee’s story in her own words, but she’s neither a good writer nor narrator. At the time of writing the book she hadn’t had many years of freedom under her belt and I assume she’s further progressed in her healing. I wish nothing but the best for her and might read another book for a more healed perspective in the future.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Eugenia
  • 28-07-11

determined to survive, girl to woman

Jaycee deserves a fulfilled life for surviving this harrowing life in captivity.
She is a natural writer and story teller. I especially liked that she described the sexual part just once and then just referenced it later. The sexual perversity of PG if well documented and well told. Hurrah for her!! I hope she is able to continue writing. She should try her hand at fiction, she has a wealth of background to use. Enjoy your new life Jaycee!

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Marion
  • 29-07-11

A Nightmare Memoir

No one else could have narrated this story. Her brave and mature unburdening of the horrors she lived through are testament to her strength of character. The stark facts were presented unemotionally and concisely but her overwhelming love for her mother and belief she would live through her never ending nightmare shone through like the full moon she so cherished. A future in writing must surely be her destiny.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Christina
  • 28-07-11

Fascinating, Just Fascinating

As a mother of young children I was just fascinated to hear how she cared for her girls under those circumstances and how she views her motherhood now. Definitely a must listen!

12 people found this helpful