A Stolen Life: A Memoir

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Overview

In the summer of June of 1991, I was a normal kid. I did normal things. I had friends and a mother that 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 ...

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Una vida robada

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Overview

In the summer of June of 1991, I was a normal kid. I did normal things. I had friends and a mother that 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 don’t think of myself as a victim, I simply survived an intolerable situation. A Stolen Life is my story—in my own words, in my own way, exactly as I remember it.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This little memoir...was written plainly and simply by Dugard herself, without the help of a ghostwriter. And in that, it is powerful beyond its voyeurism…reading the experience in her own words is a revelation."—The Washington Post

“Dugard’s inspirational story…is a firsthand testament to the resilience of the human spirit.”—USA Today

Janet Maslin
There are novelists, most notably Emma Donoghue in Room, who have tried to imagine what a plight like this is like. There are tabloids that have capitalized on its obscenity. And there are far too many survivors of ghastly crimes who have told their stories in lurid terms laced with self-pity. But Ms. Dugard is different. Her book is brave, dignified and painstakingly honest, even when it comes to the banal particulars of how she stayed afloat.
—The New York Times
Petula Dvorak
It's a tough read. But work through it, and you'll find more than the stomach-churning details that make you put it down the first night. This little memoir…was written plainly and simply by Dugard herself, without the help of a ghostwriter. And in that, it is powerful beyond its voyeurism…reading the experience in her own words is a revelation. It allows us to understand who [Dugard] was before she was snatched and how Garrido controlled her.
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451629194
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 7/3/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 35,518
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Jaycee Dugard lives with her two daughters in California. Learn more about Jaycee Dugard and her JAYC Foundation at TheJAYCFoundation.org.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3521 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 3542 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 12, 2011

    Wow

    Be prepared that this is sad and graphic. Traumatic to read but soo addicting. Couldnt put it down!

    147 out of 153 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing Woman

    I read this book in one day. I couldn't put it down. I was surprised how much detail (in the beginning of the book) that Jaycee gave about what happened to her but I am glad she did. People need to know what kind of things men like Phillip Garido are capable of. My mind had never even thought up those kind of evils. Prison is not a harsh enough punishment for this man. Or his wife for that matter. How dare she not do something!!!! EGH! My hear aches as I read this book. Jaycee and I are 2 years apart and all I could think was how alike we were as kids. How if we lived by each other as kids we would have been best friends. I am amazed at how strong she is. I am SO angry for her! She chooses not to waste her time on anger. That the Garidos have stolen enough and she will give them no more. I wish I had her outlook on life. Her book shows that no mate her bleak your situation there is always something to be thankful for. A pet, a beautiful day, freedom. She is amazing and so is her real family. Bless her moms heart! Jaycee's story gives hope in a book that I wasn't looking for it. Truly Amazing.

    78 out of 84 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2011

    Soul Wrenching but a must read

    One of my worst fears since become a mother has been the fear of having some monster take my children away from me. I wasn't sure how or if I could read this book. I read it in a day and a half! She admits in the beginning that she is not a professional writer and that the story is in her words so it may be confusing at times for someone else reading it but it is how she remembers everything. There were a few times I was slightly confused and felt she repeated things many times. For me, this made the book more real. I knew it was HER story. It made my stomach turn to read about (graphically) the things he did to her and made her do! The part about her being reunited with her mother for some reason just really got to me. I was bawling! This is a "read with a tissue box at hand" book! Jaycee is an UNBELIEVABLE woman and survivor of some unspeakable things! It amazes me how she went through all of that for 18 YEARS and just seems so "normal". She seems like a person I would want to know. Not because she is "famous" for what happened to her but because she is such a real person. A beautiful person. A strong person. A wonderful mother. Many times reading this book I had thoughts about the things that I "struggle" with and said to myself, "If Jaycee can be so strong through all of that then I can certainly deal with the things in my life that aren't anywhere near as harrowing." Buy the book! She is a true inspiration! Jaycee Dugard, I hope you have a life with nothing but the best of the best and happiness overflowing! Wish I could give you a great big hug. Thank you for sharing your difficult story with us.

    51 out of 57 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    Disappointing

    I knew this would be an emotionally difficult read, so I prepared myself for that. I don't need 300 pages of the lurid details of such a harrowing life, but I was frankly expecting more. She's processing some heavy emotions and clearly has a gifted therapist. However, the book is under 200 pages in length and a great deal of it focuses on reminiscing about dead cats and caged birds. The author could have benefited immensely by employing a ghost writer, but I understand she wanted the purely authentic experience. In the end, I am glad to contribute $12 to her life and encourage her tangibly to tell her story. This is the kind of story that needs to be told, but I wouldn't push anyone to go read it.

    37 out of 105 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2011

    Amazing Jaycee

    I saw Jaycee being interviewed by Diane Sawyer.... now I MUST read her book!!! She is an amazing woman with more class and more strength than anyone I have seen after all she has been through! I cant wait to read this and check out the JAYC foundation.

    32 out of 86 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    Sad sorry but hopefully will help stop this type of crime

    1st review i have ever posted. This is a story told by a survior of unspeakable acts of abuse. She makes it very clear that this is her account of the past 18 yrs. She explains in detail using journal entries from her imprisonment, that she wanted to be free and hated what he did to her. She was 11 years old when she was abducted and until her release was functioning with the mind of an 11 year old child. Her abductor did everything he could to control her physically and mentally. She wasnt allowed the simple freedom to choice when she could eat or sleep or use a toilet. She was denied safe human contact for years. He scared her to death and threatened her with "it could be worse". This is an account of the most horrible way for an 11 year old girl to live. This story needs to be told, people like her abductors need to be exposed. And laws need to change. No child, no woman, no person should have to endure being abused. Thank you for sharing your story. Good luck in the future. Enjoy the eqine world. May the media leave you alone. Shame on the legal system that failed you and your family, may they learn from their mistakes. Shame on your selffish, cowardly abductors, hell is too nice of a place for them.

    29 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2011

    It was decent....

    If you watched the Diane Sawyer interview you don't need to read this book. It is almost word for word EXACTLY the same as the interview. I skimmed most of the book because I got bored having JUST heard the same stuff a few nights earlier. There were some new details that were pretty interesting but like I said, if you saw the interview you heard everything you'll be reading.

    23 out of 61 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2011

    Sad book wonderfully written.

    Jaycee writes beautifully. This is truly a sad book. I don't know what else to say but what a strong and courageous woman she has become. I was sexually abused when I was little & while I remember it happened I can't remember any details which is good & bad. I think if I could remember something it might help me heal more. I hope this book helped her heal.

    20 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2011

    Excellent Memoir!

    This is Jaycee's story, in her words, as she recounts the moments leading up to her abduction and the 18 years she was held captive. Her story is raw with intimate details about the sexual and psychological abuse she endured by the two people who kidnapped her. I won't say who they are because they don't deserve any recognition for the pain and suffering Jaycee experienced. In her memoir, Jaycee includes journal entries she kept regarding her cat, Eclipse, and her own personal entries about her dreams, her goals, and her longing to see her mother again.

    Jaycee Dugard has slowly worked on rebuilding her life and transitioning into society with her daughters. While she wants to keep her children's names and pictures out of the public life, she does write about her pregnancies with them and her relationship with them as mom and later as sister (which her captors wanted her to be regarded as). Her story was very difficult to read as she describes her first days being handcuffed and sequestered to a small room with locks. When she was found, she had been living in a tent and using a hole she made to pee. With a 5th grade education, she homeschooled her daughters, who are her saving grace. Despite the fact that her captor is their father, she loves them without any boundaries. She loves them freely and has the same dreams for them that she has for herself: to be free.

    Jaycee's strength and hope shines through despite everything she has experienced. I highly recommend this book and encourage you to also visit The JAYC Foundation, Inc. or on Facebook. In her memoir, she describes the significance to pine cones and monies received for her jewelry goes to her foundation to help children and families impacted by abduction.

    19 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2011

    A lady of Grace!

    I will never sweat the small stuff again. Could not put it down. Cant wait to see what her next book will be like. Im inspired by herstrength...her mommas too.

    17 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2012

    Terrible story, written brilliantly.

    Jaycee Lee Dugard was a beautiful eleven year old girl, with hopes of an enjoyable future. She dreamt about going to water parks and parties with her best friend. On January 10, 1991, Jaycee’s life was stolen by a repulsive man. She was abducted from her school bus stop by Phillip and Nancy Garrido. She was locked up in a backyard compound and repeatedly raped and abused by Phillip in attempt to satisfy his pedophilia. Over the course of her eighteen year imprisonment, Jaycee gave birth to two daughters. On August 26, 2009, Phillip brought Jaycee and her daughters with him to the parole office in an attempt to explain why he was spotted with the girls. On that day Jaycee was finally able reunite with her mother, who never gave up hope.
    The book, A Stolen Life is written by survivor, Jaycee Dugard. The book is more than just a horror story with a recovery at the end. Jaycee’s survival shows such extraordinary resilience. Here's my advice if you're going to tackle A Stolen Life. Tackle it head on. The details of her kidnapping, sexual abuse and life as a hostage are harsh reading. I strongly disliked those terrible reminiscences. I had to put the book down a couple times because I was so overwhelmed, and I’ll admit, I cried at the end. To be honest, I have only finished a select few of books throughout my high school career, but I was drawn to her survival story and continued to read page after page. Without a doubt, this powerful and moving book feels worth the time. The reason I read the novel and its entirety is because of Jaycee’s outlook as a 5th grader and an adult. "I don't believe in hate," she writes before plunging into a grueling passage about her abuse. "To hate wastes too much time.” My first thought was I hate this guy! Then I realized how important her perspective must have been to her survival. Her optimistic perspective saved her, literary. That outlook made the book worth reading. By the end of the novel you feel sort of ridiculous for complaining about breaking your nail and slow drivers, which I did today. If anything this book makes you realize that the little things that seem like a big deal, are really just a bump in the road. As readers, we learn not to take our family for granted.
    I wasn’t particularly fond of the book overall; I wish it was never written. Therefore, Jaycee never would have had to go through this torment. Considering it happened, Jaycee did a remarkable job telling her story. I admire her for her courage and optimism. I highly recommended A Stolen Life to anyone who wants to learn about a young girl, who is stronger than she believes, and survives almost her entire life in confinement. I suggest Shattered Innocence by Robert Scott, if you desire to learn more about Jaycee and her nightmare.

    15 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    Jaycee you are a hero! Hope all your dreams come ture. Thanks for sharing your story.

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2011

    Excellent Book

    What an incredible woman to endure the abuse for 18 years, and then write so eloquently about her ordeal. I couldn't put the book down!!!

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    Wow.

    Jaycee is an amazing woman. While I definitely cried, this book is very uplifting. Jaycee shares her horrific story, but shares with it the ultimate belief in hope and humanity.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing Read - Check it out!

    Look at the world around you and what do you see; a ton of children running around with the freedom of there choice but for one 11 year old all that was taken from her. This story is a captivating read about both her fear, and her happiness of her abduction and what her life has now become. Jaycee Lee Dugard was taken from her family June 1991 by Phillip and Nancy Garrido. Now being home she writes an incredible story about how she isn't afraid to tell there "secret" about being locked in a shed, raped, starved, having two children who were raised as her "sisters" alone for 18 years but was never forgotten.. Torn from the family she always knew, but couldn't remember. Jaycee writes about hate and fear a lot, she explains how living with hate in her heart or head forever would ruin the time she has now. She writes of all this before she goes onto explain a horrible time of her abuse. "To hate wastes too much time. People who hate waste so much of their life hating that they miss out on all the other stuff out here.... If all my heart were filled up with hate and regrets and what-ifs, then what else would it have room for?" She does not hate the monster that did this to her she explains that it is his shame not hers. Some dislikes were that there are a lot of run on paragraphs, writing wasn’t as polished as some other reads. What can you say she was taken for 18 years. Another is how the readers looked down on her for never standing up for herself, when she made the choices to save her and her daughters. It had a lot of detail about how she was abused, but not how she technically felt or thought. Some likes were that she is living today, and happy. She kept hope and stayed strong through everything. She grew the strength to get the help she needed even if it was the toughest decision of her life. Shows young readers its okay to share your story, to get stronger from the hard things that have happened in life. Talk about your problems and situations that you feel you need to keep hidden from the world. Everyone should read this book, it is a truly captivating read. You will find yourself having a hard time putting it down. Though there are sections of the story you will find wanting to put the book down, to cry or trying to understand why a monster would do this. A lot of people want to read and hear of stories that are based upon true events, and this is a story of a girl who explains her story as she remembers.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2011

    To very dissapointed on 8/8/2011

    I feel that this book gave out just enough information on what went on in Jaycee's life. I mean she was raped multiple times. How sick of a person are you to want to know more details. As it was i had to put the book down on more than one occaion because I couldn't emagin the things she went through. In MY opinoin Jaycee is a very brave and smart girl she did whatever it took to survive. I loved this book.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2011

    Poorly written

    Although, I sympathize with Jaycee's situation and her ordeal, I was not able to finish the book because it is so poorly written. I understand she only has a fifth grade education, she should have gotten help writing the book. Poor grammar, lack of continuity, rambling and repeating the same thought over and over made it very difficult to keep interested in.

    8 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    spoiler alert!!! helps change outlook on life obstacles.

    A stolen life is a story only for the more mature mind. I would not suggest anyone under the age of 15 reads this book. Jaycee Dugard at age 11 is abducted from her own home town while on her average walk to school. She is taken miles away to a completely other state where she forced to make some life changes. She becomes pregnant at age 14 and end up having two daughters. I was not born to hear the first news of Jaycee being abducted, but I learned about her on a 20/20 interview. I’ve always been intrigued by those kinds of stories on 20/20 but Jaycee’s interview really stuck out to me this time. In the interview they mention that she had written a memoir of her times in captivity and I wanted to read it because I knew that TV was keeping us from know the actually truth, and who better to get the truth from the victim herself. Instantly the book starts out gruesome and heart wrenching, but for some odd reason I found it almost impossible to put down. There’s times in the book when she would talk about the sexual times with her kidnapper and that part of the book did make me feel a little uncomfortable, but I kept reading because I couldn’t even believe that there really is someone out there evil enough to do such a thing to an innocent girl. I wouldn’t suggest this to anyone who wants to read a happy book, although it does have a happy ending. After reading this book I reflected back on the interview I first saw of her, and remembered what happy soul she had and how accepting she was of her situation. 18 years of her life was taken away from her and she was optimistic and look at the bright side of everything. I think if I ever was put in a situation like that I would not be able to optimistic and the fact that she was, helped influence me to have a better outlook on life; to not take things for granted, look for the good in everybody, and don’t worry about the small things. It’s good to know that Jaycee is home safe with her family now and is getting all the love she needed back then, but it breaks my heart that she even had to experience such a thing like that.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2011

    UPLIFTING REMINDER that we control our own lives no matter the circumstance

    OMG If Jaycee can come out of this without hate and still find more reasons to smile and laugh and love, then all things ARE possible for the rest of us. This woman, stolen, raped, raised by her tormentor is an inspiration for us all to look deeper to find our own peace. Her situation was 1000 times worse than most of us find ourselves in and yet she survived and did not shatter. God bless you Jaycee! And thank you for sharing your incredible journey through hell and back. Thank you for your wisdom cruely earned that others may find hope with whatever situation their lives are enduring.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2011

    Amazing

    This book hit home for me. I was the aroud the same age when Jaycee was taken from her family, and only lived about and hour away. I spent so much time in Tahoe and had friends that lived there. I never forgot about Jaycee. When she was found I was so happy! I went to Tahoe this weekend and decided this was the right place and time to read Jacyee's book. I read it in less then a day. What an AMAZING woman Jacyee is! With all she went thourgh she still holds her head high. People who have gone through less can't say that about them selves. So glad your home Jaycee!!!! Much love to you and your family!!!!!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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