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A Stolen Life

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  55,987 ratings  ·  5,694 reviews
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 surv...more
Hardcover, 273 pages
Published July 12th 2011 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2011)
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Captive in the Dark by C.J. RobertsStolen by Lucy ChristopherSeduced in the Dark by C.J. RobertsConsequences by Aleatha RomigComfort Food by Kitty Thomas
22nd out of 437 books — 1,304 voters
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya AngelouEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth GilbertPersepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Memoirs by Women
60th out of 1,264 books — 1,679 voters

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Community Reviews

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Wendy Darling
This is a monumental book in many ways. It's one of the few times that a victim of prolonged sexual imprisonment has come forth to tell her story, and the importance of having a record of this first-hand account cannot be discounted. Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped at the age of 11 and held captive for 18 years while a man repeatedly raped her and had her bear two of his children. She was miraculously freed at the age of 29 and, two years later, seems to be overall pretty well-adjusted and happy.

I read this in one sitting. I would be concerned about anyone who could read this book without difficulty. I had to pause frequently and just breathe to compose myself, and still feel sick to my stomach when I think of what she endured. It is a horrific story and yet beautifully written. Jaycee Lee Dugard is an extraordinary young woman and courageous in the extreme, not only because she survived her ordeal with compassion for herself as a victim and hope for the future, but because she tells he...more
Hard to read, hard to review. Please know that the two-star rating is no reflection on Ms. Dugard or my abject horror at what she experienced. But I certainly didn't really "like" it and I'm not sure I'd actually recommend it to anyone. The diction and syntax are somewhat simple, but that rang true, since her formal education stopped at 5th grade. Parts were very repetitive, the graphic details made my stomach turn, and it skipped over the time period I was most curious about.

Ms. Dugard's experi...more
Jaycee Dugard's memoir, A Stolen Life, needs to be read by the entire world, because it is that powerful. I have never been more sad, disgusted, furious, and eventually happy and proud while reading a memoir, or in fact, any book in the history of my reading life. I beg you to go out and buy a copy--even if you'll never be brave enough to read her story. In 2006, Jaycee had made a list and one of her dreams was to become a best-selling author. After everything she has been through, don't we owe...more
I am definately going to hug my children a little tighter and make sure I remember the promises I make to them after reading this book. I remember seeing Jaycee's face on missing posters and praying for her when I was a teenager. I also remember the day I was watching the news and heard the news of incredible discovery. While I was reading this book I could not stop thinking about when I was eleven years old. Jaycee does a wonderful job of showing exactly how her life was stolen. I guess because...more
The five stars are not for the literary value of this book, but for the honest telling of what these 18 stolen years were like for Jaycee Dugard. I am glad she allowed us to read this story in her own words, and not some smooth, glossy version of her story written by a ghost writer. The simple language enhanced this book in my opinion. You really felt the presence of that young girl reliving her story.

This is a remarkable young lady with more strength than I can imagine ever having. I feel we e...more
Eva Leger
I, along with the rest of the world, waited for this book. And I have to say I'm disappointed. According to the info I found on line Dugard did indeed have "help" writing this book. What kind of help I don't know because it's obvious most of us couldn't tell when reading A Stolen Life. Apparently, a Rebecca Bailey, who is a "post-trauma family reunification specialist" is who helped with this book. I couldn't tell.
I tried not to be too hard on the writing while reading because of who the author...more
Aug 14, 2011 Jae rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: owned
When Jaycee Dugard was first found, my fascination with her case originally grew out of a desire to better understand another famous kidnapping victim who had been in a somewhat similar situation: Elisabeth Fritzl. But I have stayed interested for one major reason: Ms. Dugard has been incredibly adept at keeping control over her own story and maintaining her agency at all times. This book can be seen as the culmination of those efforts, since Ms. Dugard has written her own book about her own exp...more
Jaycee Dugard's childhood was stolen from her, with this memoir, I hope it will give her and her daughters an opportunity to have a better life. I brought this book in support of Jaycee.
A Stolen Life: A Memoir, by Jaycee Dugard, is a disturbing, yet heartwarming personal narrative of the author's abduction, at age 11, and her subsequent 18 year captivity in the backyard of Phillip and Nancy Garrido.

I listened to the audio version of the book, which was read by Jaycee. The prose is simple and direct, yet surprisingly eloquent, and her personal narration adds further emotion to an already poignant story.

The book does not attempt to provide an objective or journalistic account of...more
Huma Rashid
I was going to give this book a 4 star rating and be done with it. Anything else felt douchey. How could you give a book about a courageous girl who kept going and kept it together and raised two girls while in an unimaginably horrible situation anything LESS than 4 stars?

But then I thought about why I was giving the book (the BOOK, not the woman, the book) 4 stars. I was doing it out of pity and sympathy. The story of Jaycee Dugard is so horrifying and tragic that I wanted to give the book 4 st...more
Let's be honest- this was more of a therapeutic assignment rather than anything else.

Initially I was interested in reading this because I wanted to know the 'complete' story. Unfortunately I felt that what I read I had read before in magazine articles. There was little new information. I felt like to go along with her recovery the author was given free range and told to most likely just 'writer her story'. While I can understand that it must have been quite hard for her I do feel that someone c...more
What Jaycee Dugard experienced for 18 years is, beyond question, horrendous. And it is an achievement that her book keeps the sensationalism to a minimum, focusing rather on the more basic lines of thought of her young self. She is a clear writer, if overly simplistic.

However, as a memoir, if we are to take her unparalleled story aside, A Stolen Life does not amaze. Truly amazing memoirs are not made by the occurrences of the life it follows, but rather by the ability of the memoirist to transce...more
Kris Marasca
One of the hardest books I've ever read because of the subject matter. Dugard has been through hell and back. Her story is an inspiration to all who face some sort of adversity and want to give up. For 18 years, this woman was held captive, mentally & physically abused (the rape descriptions were the hardest parts to read), & impregnated twice. While she had moments of despair (who wouldn't?), she always held out hope that some day her life would improve. Even post-captivity, Dugard has...more
Doug Bradshaw
Having followed the Elizabeth Smart abduction, trial and consequences here in SLC, when I heard about what had happened to Jaycee Dugard, my heart went out to her big time and I've been fascinated to hear more about her story and to find out as much as possible about the case. As I finished up her book and take of her own life, I was amazed at how well she seems to have come out of it all and how well adjusted and loving she seems to be.

The book is pretty simple and straight forward. If you don'...more
I started the book after work today and just finished. It had to be done in one sitting, I had to read until she was OK.
I am so amazed at her courage, not only in surviving everything that was done to her but then to write this book. It had to have felt nearly impossible to have to relive some of these memories.
It's hard to review a story when it's not really a story. This was her life and it's told in very graphic detail at times. I read some chapters through tears and spent a huge part of the...more
Jul 10, 2011 Courtenay marked it as to-read
Saw her Diane Sawyer interview. She's an amazingly impressive and inspirational woman.
Some time ago I stumbled upon the Wikipedia page for the Fritzl case (a tragic situation that occurred in Austria, very similar to this case) which eventually led me to the page on the kidnapping of Jaycee Lee Dugard. When this book came out, I was very eager to read it. Now that I have, I almost wish I didn’t and not because it was awful but because it was so terrifyingly eye opening and surprisingly heartfelt.

I feel like I should not rate this book, because there is no way a number of stars co...more
Hayden Casey
Anyone else getting "If I Die Young" vibes here?

Now, on a more serious note, the subject of kidnappings has driven me wild all my life. When I was a youngster (and I still am, but I mean when I was a young youngster), kidnappings were the stuff of nightmares for me. In kindergarten, I had a dream I was in class at a party at night, and when I went out into the hallway alone, this guy
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put me in a big black bag and carried me away into the night. I peed the bed that night and went into...more
I was interested in A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard for two reasons.

First, I read and was gripped by Emma Donoghue's Room and it seemed as though I should read the very similar but true events as told by Dugard, since she had actually undergone that ordeal.

But shoulds tend not to register well with me. Plus I felt almost too voyeuristic reading someone's recount of such a horrific trauma. Until #2 came along.

The second reason-and the decisive one-was I read a terrific review of the boo...more
Jul 25, 2011 Sherry added it
I don't feel right rating this book. It is clearly written by Jaycee as a completely free agent. No ghostwriter, no dictation -- just her, a computer, old journals and her memories. I think she did a great job providing her readers with the raw, hard to read details. She feels no shame for what was done to her and I believe that is why she comes across as so mentally healthy in interviews and in this book. I'm proud of her.

I'm still left with a lot of questions: How is she so certain Phillip di...more
Stacia (the 2010 club)

I have so much respect for this woman. She managed to hold it together, even though she felt helpless and defeated, just to be there for her daughters who were born out of rape. It's hard not to get emotional when hearing everything that this woman was put through from the age of 11 until the age of 29. That's 18 years folks. 18 years of captivity, emotional abuse, rape, and living in substandard conditions (imagine using a bucket as a toilet, washing up with stale water, and sleeping in a tent...more
This book is very difficult to read -- which may seem like an obvious statement -- but I did not expect to personally have such a hard time reading it, as I usually do not have trouble reading hard topics. I (cried but) breezed right through Room, The Lovely Bones, Diary of Anne Frank, and The Book Thief, and I expected to do the same with Jaycee's memoir. But this was the first time I actually had to put a book down and leave it for a while because I felt physically ill after reading certain ch...more
This book is an enigma. Until the final forty pages, it is a page-turner. Yet, I could not give it more than 3 stars and probably don't recommend it that highly. At the end, I will mention what groups of people I do think should buy the book and read it. But first, a very brief analysis of the book.

Dugard is the woman who was kidnapped in Lake Tahoe at age 11 and then kept as a sex slave by a man and his wife for 19 years. During that time, she became pregnant twice and gave birth to two girls....more
Leanna Henderson
I finished this book in a day and a half, which probably would have been a day if I didn't have a family. :) I actually bought this hardback, which is something i never do. It's certainly a fascinating story, and a insightful look at how the mind of a manipulator and his captive work. We must remember that Jaycee was just a little girl when this monster took her from her family. She knew what he did was terribly evil and wrong, yet after years of abuse and what amounts to brainwashing, she came...more
How can you not appreciate this book? Just stop for a second and think about yourself being in her situation. How can anyone survive being captive from age 11 for 18 years? I wanted to rate this book with 5 stars. But that wouldn't be honest, it would be out of sympathy. You really feel like a child wrote this book, but maybe this was the intention, because her formal education stopped when she was only 11 years old. The story jumps around a lot. I found it unnecessary when I read about all thos...more
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead
If you ever want to feel sorry for yourself, just read this book. Jaycee is my new wonder woman.
A Stolen Life -- a book you just can't rate!

The writing is sloppy, the grammar is horrendous and there are typos galore.

But the rules of a good novel don't apply here - what matters is the content. And by golly does Jaycee have a ton to write about and a ton to share. For anyone who followed the Jaycee Dugard recovery with interest, this book provides a good and personal look at what Jaycee went through during her abduction, life with Garrido, and rescue/recovery.

The main question I have is pers...more
Jul 16, 2011 xtina added it
Shelves: 30-in-2011
Felt too awkward to actually rate this kind of book with stars. Left it blank.

I was a bit afraid to read this book as I knew it would get graphic and I can't unread it. But her interview with Diane Sawyer inspired me and wanted to know more about her journey (as well as support her by buying her book).

And yikes it did get graphic in some parts. But overall I'm glad I read it; her story will inspire me for the rest of my life. She went through a living hell (and probably continues to do so as she...more
Brooke Prothero
I don't think I should rate this book. It's a memoir. A journal... It's not for entertainment. She didn't write it to do anything except share her story and offer hope to others. If you want to know about her story, read it. If you don't want horrible details of terrible abuse, then don't.

I don't quite know how to review this book. It was easy to read. She takes you on her journey and you're often reading from the mind of a young girl. Simple words, simple thoughts, simple sentences. But so ver...more
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A Stolen Life 20 148 Aug 19, 2014 09:21PM  
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6DRAKE: 3rd Book Review 1 3 Jan 23, 2014 06:29PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Combine this books, please 3 20 Dec 25, 2013 06:23AM  
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  • Buried Memories: Katie Beers' Story
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  • Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings
  • Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America
  • Not Without My Sister: The True Story of Three Girls Violated and Betrayed by Those They Trusted
  • fathermothergod: My Journey Out of Christian Science
  • Escape
  • Inconceivable
  • Perfect Victim: The True Story of "The Girl in the Box"
  • Lost Boy
  • I Know My First Name Is Steven
  • Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist's Wife
  • Church of Lies
  • High on Arrival
The kidnapping of Jaycee Lee Dugard occurred on June 10, 1991, when she was 11 years old. Dugard was abducted from a school bus stop within sight of her home in South Lake Tahoe, California. Searches began immediately after the kidnapping, but no reliable leads were generated. She remained missing for more than 18 years.

On August 25, 2009, convicted sex offender Phillip Craig Garrido visited the c...more
More about Jaycee Dugard...
On m'a volé ma vie

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“I learned in therapy the word "No" is a complete sentence.” 101 likes
“I don't believe in hate. To me it 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.” 78 likes
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