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I Choose to Live

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,571 Ratings  ·  135 Reviews
"The Dutroux Affair" shook the whole of Europe. Marc Detroux had been convicted of rape, but was released early from prison for good behavior. He went on to kidnap several youg girls, torture them in his basement dungeon, and leave some to die. There were many apparent missteps in the case, and there was a huge public outcry against Belgium's judicial system. In the middl
Hardcover, 179 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Virago Press (UK) (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I'm absolutely horrified by some of the reviews people have written. To read that people thought this was "boring" because it missed the juicy details - indeed that people viewed Dardenne as "weak" because she chose not to divulge every horrible detail - or worse, that she only wrote this for the money... thankfully these reviews are the exception, not the rule, but they're still disgusting. This isn't a gossip mag or a horror film; it's someone's life. How can anyone feel so little compassion f ...more
May 27, 2016 Mel rated it it was amazing
On May 28th, 2006, 20 years ago tomorrow, 12 year old Sabine Dardenne was kidnapped on the streets of Belgium as she rode her bike to school. For the next 79 days, she was kept in a concrete dungeon, in the home of the man Belgium named the Monster of Belgium.
This is a case that has interested me for over a year now, ever since I watched a documentary on it so when I discovered this was a memoir, I went to my library the next day and read the entirety of it the next day.

I absolutely loved this
Apr 11, 2010 Kerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On May 28 1996, Sabine Dardenne was kidnapped by Marc Dutroux. At age twelve she is pulled from her bike on the way to school and into a van, she is then driven to an unknown location and locked up in a basement for 80 days where she is subjected to abuse you wish you could never imagine.
She wasn't his first victim and she wouldn't be his last, though the ones before her weren't as lucky as they were to survive.

I'm sure it took her a great deal to write this and reveal the things that she was so
lucie parenkyuma
Jul 28, 2012 lucie parenkyuma added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
No ratings, as I don't feel this is the right book to rate.

This book is about the true horrific story of a very young girl, Sabrina Dardenne who is abducted by none other than the Belgian Marc Dutroux, a conspicuous pedophile who also committed a series of other crimes.

It is heartbreaking to read the story from Sabrina's point of view, as she was still an innocent kid back then. The way she (a kid) believes the kidnapper is her savior proves a pedophile will do anything to convince the little gi
Jan 23, 2012 Blackkit10 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
I didn't care for this book at all. It didn't tell you really anything about what happened to her while being held captive. Yes we know she was kept in a cellar, we know she was taken, we know she was used for sex but no details were given at all.
We know nothing of why or how long this married couple engaged in this type of behavior. What they did for a living, how they dealt with having kids and family life while still kidnapping and murdering other childeren. We're never told how many people
Sabrina Rutter
I can't imagine the fear this woman felt as a twelve year old at the hands of this monster. I'm always so paranoid about this type of thing that I don't like to let my kids play outside without me. I have only allowed my oldest child to play outside without me two times, and each time I was so worried that all I did was go in and out of the house checking on her.
Pedophiles should be locked up for life! They can not change, so in my opinion there should be a special prison made just for them and
Dec 22, 2007 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
Sabine Dardenne was kidnapped when she was 12 and held for 80 days by a pedophile who had been previously convicted, but released for good behavior.

Most heartbreaking are excerpts from letters he allowed her to write to her family. (They were never delivered, of course, and proved to be valuable evidence in the trial.) The man who took her had her completely convinced that her parents knew where she was and what was happening to her, but couldn't or wouldn't pay a ransom that would release her.
Delphine C
I don't want to rate this book.
I read it a 2 years ago. I found it in a second hand book shop. I live in Belgium. I grew up with the little picture of Julie & Mélissa on some people's windows. The story of all of those girls is common knowledge where I live and a reminder to not trust unknow people. When I was 10 or 11, the trial of Marc Dutroux was all over the papers. I remember reading about it everyday. She went to school where some friends went to. By reading this, I was expecting thos
Jennifer (JC-S)
May 24, 2011 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lent-by-friend
‘I’m getting out of here.’

On 28 May 1996, Sabine Dardenne was 12 years old: the age she is in the photograph she is photographed holding on the front cover of this book. On this day, Sabine was kidnapped by a notorious paedophile, a Belgian named Marc Dutroux. Sabine was taken from her bicycle as she was cycling to school, shoved into a van and then imprisoned in a small concrete cell where she was drugged, starved and raped until her rescue on 15 August 1996.

The photographs on the cover provide
Bobak Z
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 23, 2009 Charmaine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
More like i choose to be rich...

What an exciting story this could of been, but she kept all the good bits out (i know you read the book for those bits), and she just sounded very vague and disinterested in her own story. I read it all in one sitting, and i had to force myself to finish it since it was only a little book.
Feb 26, 2009 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: truestories
Good story from a survivor of the Dutroux Affair that shook the whole of Europe. Marc Detroux tortured in his basement few young girls. Sabine Dardenne, Dutroux's last victim, tells very uplifting story depsite the fact she survived horror which lasted 80 days.
Sabine Dardenne, l'autrice del libro, fu rapita a soli 12 anni da Marc Dutroux, definito "il mostro di Marcinelle", condotta in un cunicolo sotterraneo e costretta a subire sevizie e violenze. Un mostro che aveva costretto la bambina a credere che lui in realtà l'avesse salvata da un non ben precisato "capo", che aveva un conto in sospeso col padre di lei e che aveva progettato di ucciderla, se l'avesse trovata. Questo libro non è esattamente un diario, ma più un resoconto lucido e agghiacciante ...more
E' una storia vera, un fatto di cronaca che uscì sui giornali e alla tv, ma che io proprio non mi ricordavo perché quando tutto ciò successe, nel 1996, ero ancora troppo piccola per capire certe cose. Poi però quando in libreria ho visto questo libro ne sono rimasta attratta e mi è venuta la curiosità di saperne di più a causa del titolo: "Avevo 12 anni, ho preso la bici e sono partita per andare a scuola". Come frase in realtà è molto innocua, ma ho subito capito che c'era di più del significat ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Serge Léonard
Oct 21, 2013 Serge Léonard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Scopophilie malsaine? Pas avec ce livre. L’auteur nous relate son passé avec beaucoup de pudeur en excluant délibérément tous actes sexuels, qui pourtant avait lieu tous les jours. Nous nous retrouvons alors dans la tête d’une jeune fille de douze ans qui est manipulée par un monstre. Le criminel réussit à se faire voir comme un héros aux yeux de l’adolescente pour, de cette manière, arriver à abuser d’elle plus facilement. Vivant dans une très petite pièc
Jan 26, 2011 Love rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can not believe people like this even exist on this earth. This man has got to be one of the sickest I have ever read about. What he put these poor children through. His wife is a sick as he is if you ask me. She knew he was doing this had children with him anyway?? How could she put her own children in this mans grasp. I did not read anything in this book about how he treated his own, but I can not imagine he left them alone. Not as sick as he is. Sabine must have been a really strong girl to ...more
Apr 28, 2009 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written by one of the two survivors of the 'Monster of Belgium', Marc Dutroux, I Choose To Live is an unsettling, upsetting but genuinley interesting account of what happened to Sabine Dardenne in her 80 days incarcerated in a hideout built into a cellar.

To say that this book is not very well written, jumps from one place to the next and doesn't flow particularly well seems unfair, given what the author has been through, but I must be honest.

Whilst being very interesting, and I recommend you re
Daphne Maatman
I read this book before when I was I believe 13 or 14 years old. I remember thinking that it'd be horrible to go through what Sabine went through in Dutroux' cellar.. Which I still think of course.
Marc Dutroux is a monster and while I honestly hope that he'll never get out of prison again, this book didn't hold me as it did when I read it the first time.

Sabine tells in a way that you can be there with her, which freaked me out when I got halfway through the book. I don't know what freaked me ou
Jun 23, 2010 Lainy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow what a horrific story. I had thought it was a totally different book and realised that I hadn't heard about this poor girls ordeal. The book takes you through the kidnap and how she survived her captive hell and what happened when she was finally released.

Certainly a horrific story but with all the sexual details pretty much kept out, some of these books go into graphic detail but this one keeps mostly to her survival without all the details but with enough in it so you know or rather can im
Jenny Hilborne
Jan 17, 2011 Jenny Hilborne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I Choose To Live is a true story of 12 year-old Sabine Dardenne's ordeal after being kidnapped by a notorious pedophile. How she survived such a horrific time at such young age is inspirational. Her courage, her calm and her letters to her mother are most likely what helped to save her sanity, while her captor lied to her and brainwashed her into believing her parents didn't care.

Her freedom came quite by chance, when she asked her captor for a friend to keep her company in her cramped, filthy c
HNC Library
This was reviewed by Huddersfield New College student Vanda Kovacs as part of her six book challenge.

I loved this book! its a book that you just cant put down, you always have to read one more chapter and one more.
I think this is a really good book not just because its not a made up story, but also because its written in a way where you can place yourself in the story.
I would recommend this book, to anyone who would be not afraid to read and understand the situation of kidnapping as its somethin
Monika Trotula
Mar 06, 2013 Monika Trotula rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Boring. I'm not a bloodthirsty isensitive monster, but the dullness of her narrative lulled me to sleep. We don't learn anything interesting apart from the fact that she hated her tormenter and considered him 'a monster, an ogre, a psychopath, a paedophile'. What happened to her was surely a horrible thing and for this I feel sorry, but to write a book one has to master at least some basic storytelling skills.
Wat verschrikkelijk wat Sabine (en ook de andere slachtoffers) is aangedaan. Sabine is ongeveer even oud als ik en de vermissing van haar en de andere meisjes heeft toen veel indruk op me gemaakt, al had ik toen nog geen idee wat die meisjes allemaal werd aangedaan. Ik kan me ook nog goed herinneren dat op het nieuws verteld werd dat Sabine gevonden was.

Een boek met een onderwerp als dit kan eigenlijk nooit 'leuk' zijn, dus wat dat betreft vind ik het moeilijk te beoordelen, maar ik vond het we
Apr 03, 2016 Neja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-stories
It was really hard to read this book, so heartbreaking. I've read a couple of this kinds of books and it's always tough. I can't believe this things happens for real.
Mar 21, 2014 Joyce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
a story that makes you say to yourself what if that was me.a long journey of a 12 year old who was kidnapped tells her story in sad and positive way
Eveline Geirnaert
zeer aangrijpend
en erna even van bekomen om een ander boek te beginnen lezen
maar zeker de moeite om te lezen
Jan 21, 2016 Fishface rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very rough going, but very much worth the read. A badly-needed antidote to the porn-film fantasies of people who think little girls want to have sex with their adult assailants, and for those who want to sugar-coat sexual violence by calling it "molestation" or "child abuse." The real deal is right here, if you can stomach it. Dardenne punches you in the throat repeatedly with the ugly realities of her imprisonment, so that you come away angry and nauseated. And amazingly, she does it without te ...more
Jul 01, 2012 Gia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
written from a v good point of view. no horrific descriptions.
Eva Leger
May 11, 2009 Eva Leger rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Love
Recommended to Eva by: found on bookmooch
This is a good book and I wish I could rate it a little higher. There are lots of things going into the rating and I do have a few small complaints about the book as a whole. Dardenne comes off as very honest and likable to say the least. That's something I admire because it would have to be fairly easy to distance yourself from writing like this, in my opinion anyway. She also put in a few minor details that I would have felt easier to leave out of public knowledge, seeing another (deceased) vi ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine editions 3 15 Jun 22, 2012 08:46AM  
  • Groomed: An Uncle Who Went Too Far, a Mother Who Didn't Care, a Little Girl Who Waited for Justice
  • Out of the Dark
  • Fractured
  • Twenty-Two Faces
  • Rabbit Hole: A Satanic Ritual Abuse Survivor's Story
  • Abducted
  • Scarred
  • 3,096 Days
  • The Sum of My Parts: A Survivor's Story of Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • All of Me
  • The C.I.A. Doctors: Human Rights Violations by American Psychiatrists
  • Baby X: Britain's Child Abusers Brought To Justice
  • Amongst Ourselves: A Self-Help Guide to Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • When Daddy Comes Home
  • Today I'm Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind
  • Unbeaten
  • One of Your Own: The Life and Death of Myra Hindley
  • Just A Boy: The True Story of A Stolen Childhood

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