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My Story: Elizabeth Smart

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  19,742 ratings  ·  2,823 reviews
For the first time, ten years after her abduction from her Salt Lake City bedroom, Elizabeth Smart reveals how she survived and the secret to forging a new life in the wake of a brutal crime.

On June 5, 2002, fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Smart, the daughter of a close-knit Mormon family, was taken from her home in the middle of the night by religious fanatic, Brian David Mit
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Macmillan Australia (first published 2013)
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Amanda L
This was about as far from what I was expecting as it could possibly be. I heard Smart speak about her experience in an interview with Terry Gross and was enGROSSed. Not the case here.

I should have known what I was getting into, but there's just a childlike naivety about this text. And I'm not just talking about the littered paragraph breaks for dramatic effect or the unnecessary and overuse of both italics and exclamation points. It's entirely on the surface and takes a conversational tone wher
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Annie
I just can't bring myself to give this a star rating. I've no problem with Elizabeth or her family profiting from the morbid public interest in her sad tale. Writing a book from Elizabeth's point of view seemed a logical conclusion, and I'm frankly surprised it didn't come sooner. However, it's not terribly well written -- a shortcoming that should be blamed entirely on the ghost writer and not Elizabeth herself.

There's a lot in this book that made me feel as though I was both intruding into El
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Beverly Diehl
Let me say first, I am a huge Elizabeth Smart fan. I've seen her on various television programs, and seen video clips of her speeches. THAT articulate, intelligent, passionate young woman is mostly muted in these pages, and there are many questions that either are not explored at all, or sometimes touched upon and not finished. Whether that was by her own choice, or whether she was toned down by her ghostwriter, it makes the book less appealing.

The "voice" was very young throughout! Okay, she WA
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Kelly
Before I read the book, I read a lot of reviews about it. Almost all of them were the same: Great story, great girl but poorly written book. I actually loved the way the book was written while at the same time I can see why it got those reviews. It's not really written as a page turner/cliff hanger type book, but I don't think that was the purpose of the book. I mean it wasn't a fictional story written for fun or to entertain. So I think she achieved her purpose in writing. I loved that she got ...more
Lauren Hopkins
It is what it is...a glorified wikipedia entry based off of crime reports. After hearing Smart speak on NPR, it's clear she's a very eloquent and insightful person who is able to articulate her feelings about her ordeal in a way that would make you think this book is going to be fantastic but it's very clear the person with whom she wrote it (a politician who has written a weird handful of books including one about how miracles have "saved the United States" including the "miraculous creation of ...more
Erika B. (Snogging on Sunday Books)
"It's funny, some of the things that I remember, many of the details forever burned in my mind. It's as if I can still smell the air, hear the mountain leaves rustle above me, feel the fabric of the veil that Brian David Mitchell stretched across my face. I can picture every detail of my surroundings: the tent, the washbasin, the oppressive dugout full of spiders and mice. I can feel the cut of the steel cable wrapped so tightly around my ankle, the scorch of the summer heat lifting off the side ...more
Colleen
Elizabeth Smart's story is riveting, intriguing, heartbreaking and inspiring. Smart's faith and hope in the midst of some of the most horrifying trials imaginable can't help but impact the reader for the better, and her resilience as she faced a hopeful future or the ruin of her soul is beautiful.

As an addendum to my review above, I read a few reviews after I wrote mine, interested in what others thought. I agreed in most part with the commentary on the writing, which is why I only gave the book
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Cynthia Sillitoe
Having given this more thought, I wanted to do a more thorough review. Parts of this book are riveting and details only Elizabeth could know. She makes some interesting choices, including not going into much detail as to the sexual abuse, which is totally her right to do. One myth the book shoots down is Stockholm syndrome, at least not in the sense that she begins to identify with them. She figures her captors out pretty fast and doesn't believe their delusions, but is terrified of them with go ...more
Jessica
When Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped, we had just moved back from New Jersey to Salt Lake. I was fascinated and horrified by her abduction, though I wasn't one of the people who pored over every report in the paper. I did cry a little when she was found, alive, since I had been convinced that they would only find a body, as the days and months passed. But I've been even more fascinated by her life since then. She has emerged from a harrowing ordeal as a gracious, gentle, intelligent woman. She's u ...more
Wanda
Strange things happen when I’m bored. I was in the public library, waiting for my laptop to digest some security updates and just happened to lean over and grab this book. “Oh, I remember this story,” I thought. “I’ll just read a few pages while the computer updates.” Well, I had been away on vacation for two weeks, and there were a lot of updates to grind through. By the time it was done, I was several chapters in and hooked.

I can’t resist books like these—tales of women who survived some of th
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Amanda
Not sure how to rate this.

It was poorly written in my opinion and very child-like. (Not sure if that's the right word I'm looking for?). It was a little bit hard to read. Parts of it felt like she was talking in circles. Parts of it felt like it was just a platform to say emphatically that she didn't have Stockholm syndrome and that she couldn't have escaped because she was just a child.

It was also hard to read because of the actual content! Her captors were so evil. It's just unbelievable wha
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Emily
Wow. I was so impressed by Elizabeth, and her courage and determination to simply SURVIVE. What she suffered was unthinkable. The evil in that man is inexcusable. What bothered me the most was the fact that he consistently used GOD as a reason for absolutely every vile thing he did. SICK man. This is what I have such a hard time with...people distorting the reality of God, and who He is, to simply suit their own selfish desires. I also greatly appreciated her positive attitude. She could have ch ...more
Melissa Memmott
I will never forget the day I had heard Elizabeth was found, let alone found alive. I had heard a little of what happened but my heart hurt reading her day by day description on this story.
A great read about faith and miracles. Wishing I could of been a fly on the wall when she was reunited with her family.
Having cried as much as I did reading this than any other book. Highly recommended read, with a box of tissues. In awe at how amazing the human body and spirit can heal...created from God.
Gail
Definitely worth reading/listening to. Here are the problems -- the writing isn't amazing, which I can overlook, but the toughest thing was that it's read by Elizabeth Smart herself, who often reads it as though she is reading a children's book or a young adult to someone, as in "My Life as a Zany Teenager" or something. I would be thinking, "Whoa this is not like wearing a bad outfit to school," but that's how it sounds. Obviously she didn't feel that way about it, but she sometimes reads it th ...more
Elizabeth

As April said:

Monsters.

This was hard to read for many reasons. Hard because I am a mother and I cannot imagine what Elizabeth's family must have gone through. Hard because Elizabeth's ordeal was so heinous. Hard because I fear that Elizabeth's upbringing contributed to her passiveness when being kidnapped, brutalized, and held hostage for a nine month period.

I say this without judgement.
Truly.

Elizabeth was fourteen years old and had been brought up in a religious home. She was taught to obey
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Jami
This story is beyond remarkable. It cuts like a sharp knife along the most fundamental of human natures. If ever there was a reason to believe in God, Elizabeth Smart gives it. If ever there was a reason to reject the very idea of a God, Brian David Mitchell gives it. This books forces you to choose between good and evil in a most powerful way.

Regardless of the book's impact on society's belief systems, there's no doubt this is one of the most remarkable survival stories of our times. Elizabeth'
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Nathaniel
I became interested in reading Elizabeth Smart's autobiographical account of her kidnapping after her comments about the role that her Mormon faith had played in perhaps exacerbating her captivity. Her comment was that the emphasis on purity in her Mormon upbringing 'caused her to feel worthless after she was raped. In My Story, however, she explains that her family's love won out over the original response of shame, and she knew that her mother and father would love her no matter what. That, in ...more
Lynn
I listened to this on audio, and while I was riveted by Elizabeth Smart's story and the horror that she endured, I have to agree with others who admit to having problems with the book itself.

The audio is narrated by Elizabeth Smart herself, who very often took a sarcastic tone when reading parts where her disgust and disdain for Mitchell and Barzee were obvious. While I have no doubt that she did have sarcastic thoughts, the tone gave her the feeling of an irritated teenager rather than an abuse
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Jan
I gave this book four stars because it is a local story that we, my harpist daughter and our family, were swept up by and lived through. We ached with the Smart family when there were public gaffes, we struggled with them when they and some of their relatives were accused, we were angry when the police seemed to bungle, we wept on the day Elizabeth returned home.
Reading the story was painful, shocking, and otherworldly. This young girl was dragged into hell and survived it. She almost died from
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Ingrid Lola
This one was hard for me to rate. I've followed the Elizabeth Smart case closely beginning the day she was kidnapped, and I read all of the testimony and coverage during the trial. So I knew that many details were changed or not mentioned. (Like the fact that she and her kidnappers spoke to each other in biblical language. The book has her saying "I am Elizabeth" when asked by her rescuers if she was Elizabeth Smart, when she actually said "thou sayest.") I understand why this would be done, but ...more
Kathy Worrell  ツ

Elizabeth's story of her nine months of rape, torture, and abuse was horrific! I can't even express how sad and angry I felt reading about her kidnapping by that vile pedophile and his wife.

Elizabeth Smart is an amazing woman! I love her attitude, her outlook, and her faith in the Lord.

The epilogue was truly inspirational!
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Out of respect for what she went through, and her willingness to put it all out there in detail, I'm giving this three stars. However, my rating comes with the qualifier that I probably would not have come even close to finishing the book if I had been reading it in print rather than listening to the audio book. And for fuck's sake, Elizabeth, how many times did you need to repeat "and then he raped me"? Having that done to you every day is horrid, traumatic, unforgivable. Telling us again and a ...more
Chelsea
In the book, Smart changed some of the facts she testified to during Mitchell's trial. This bothers me to no end. Smart does not acknowledge or explain these discrepancies. ("Thou sayest"/"I am Elizabeth")

I'm quite sure Stewart did most of the writing and Smart simply interjected a few thoughts. Much of what is written comes off as defesive, disdainful, and sarcastic. Smart claims in the epilouge that she has moved on without any professional counseling, but the tone "she" writes with does not
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Angie
This was a hard book to review. Can I say 2.75? Two isn't enough and three is too generous. I truly sympathize with her story. What she went through was awful, inhumane and shameful. Utterly heartbreaking. However, this book didn't do her story justice. It seemed very juvenile and simplistic. The overuse of exclamation points almost made me stop the book several pages in. The horrific events weren't described in detail, I get why; but nothing was either. I think we got a very watered down versio ...more
Aimee
You're not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.
And you're not a little girl, Elizabeth. You weren't even a little girl way back in 2002.
I'm sorry for Elizabeth for what happened to her, but that's all, and it's not going to be enough to carry her throughout adulthood.
And her ghostwriter? He's supposed to be fairly well-known and presumably competent in his field, but he seems to have been half-asleep for this one. I can't imagine docile, passive Elizabeth defying his editorial advice and insisting that h
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Elizabeth
AUDIOBOOK
I lived in Salt Lake City in 2002 when Smart was abducted from her bedroom less than a mile from my student apartment in the foothills. Along with thousands of others, I helped search for her. Nine months later, I fell to my knees and cried when I got a phone call from my brother: "Turn on the TV! They found Elizabeth Smart!"

I preordered this book with great anticipation, wanting to hear about Smart's ordeal in her own words. The book does not disappoint. She recounts her abduction with
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Lora
Not the best-written book, but the tone was entrancing. What an absolutely amazing strength Elizabeth Smart has. I had a very difficult time, because I have girls close to the age of Elizabeth when she was taken, with the actual story and subject matter. Had to read it in small doses. But I was moved to tears several times by the miracles that occurred and faith that she maintained. "In my life, I have come to believe there are lots of examples where God provides us little miracles to give us ho ...more
Jenifer
It's interesting to read an autobiographical account of an event that was so close to home. I remember so much about Elizabeth Smart's abduction, extended absence and rescue in the news at the time. I admire her strength and her willingness to reach out in support and advocation for this cause. I hope that she continues to heal and to be a dignified and composed representative that can really make a difference in attitudes and policies surrounding these issues.

She has received some criticism fo
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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

I have made the decision not to give this book a rating. Having never experienced anything even remotely similar to Elizabeth Smart, it's probably not my place to judge the way she has chosen to write her story. I will say if you followed the news back in 2002, you won't discover anything new by reading this book.
Penelope
It's funny how some things stand out so prominently in one's memories. Being from Utah, I clearly remember the media storm surrounding Elizabeth's kidnapping. I remember the search parties, the posters, the ribbons; I remember discussing it with my friends (I was in junior high at the time), hearing parents and other grown ups talking about it. I was about the same age as her, and for the first time in my life, my sense of security in my own home was shattered. I was awakened to some of the evil ...more
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“Music is the unspoken language that can convey feelings more accurately than talking ever could.” 15 likes
“Later, there were times when I was angry with myself for succumbing to that fear. But those with shattered souls find it very difficult to speak.” 12 likes
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