Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “I Choose to Live” as Want to Read:
I Choose to Live
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

I Choose to Live

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  1,671 Ratings  ·  142 Reviews
I lived through the Dutroux affair from the inside, and all these years I have kept silent about it - about my 'personal' Dutroux Affair, my time in the company of the most hated psychopath in Belgium. I need to write this book for three reasons: so that people stop giving me strange looks and treating me like a curiosity; so that no one ever asks me any more questions ...more
Paperback, 213 pages
Published January 16th 2006 by Virago (first published 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about I Choose to Live, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about I Choose to Live

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
209th out of 1,817 books — 2,138 voters
Goodnight, and Thanks for the Vodka [2002] by HarpieIf You Find Me by Emily MurdochThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonSpeak by Laurie Halse AndersonTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Novels With Sexual Abuse as a Subject
12th out of 143 books — 120 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 28, 2014 Amelia added it
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 ...more
May 27, 2016 Mel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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
Jennifer (JC-S)
May 24, 2011 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it really liked it
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
Sabrina Rutter
Mar 30, 2011 Sabrina Rutter rated it really liked it
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
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
Dec 22, 2007 Amy rated it liked it
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.
Jun 23, 2009 Charmaine rated it did not like it
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
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.
Serge Léonard
Oct 21, 2013 Serge Léonard rated it it was amazing

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
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 ...more
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
Dec 27, 2012 AmareCallisti_Tallyn rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 26, 2011 Love rated it really liked it
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
Bobak Z
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 28, 2009 Beth rated it liked it
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
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
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
May 05, 2015 HNC Library rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Mar 21, 2014 Joyce rated it liked it
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
Apr 03, 2016 Neja rated it it was amazing
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.
Eveline Geirnaert
Mar 06, 2015 Eveline Geirnaert rated it liked it
zeer aangrijpend
en erna even van bekomen om een ander boek te beginnen lezen
maar zeker de moeite om te lezen
Jul 01, 2012 Gia rated it really liked it
written from a v good point of view. no horrific descriptions.
Nov 07, 2016 Ulla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 11, 2016 Roëlla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spannend, heftig en bizar boek.

Bizar om te lezen hoe zij dit als persoon heeft ervaren en hoe manipulatief sommige mensen kunnen zijn.
Ik vond dat ik het gelezen moest hebben en dat heb ik gedaan.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
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
  • Abducted
  • 3,096 Days
  • Rabbit Hole: A Satanic Ritual Abuse Survivor's Story
  • Scarred
  • The C.I.A. Doctors: Human Rights Violations by American Psychiatrists
  • The Sum of My Parts: A Survivor's Story of Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • The Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook
  • Amongst Ourselves: A Self-Help Guide to Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • All of Me
  • Unbeaten
  • Just A Boy: The True Story of A Stolen Childhood
  • Childhood Interrupted
  • Crimes Of Josef Fritzl
  • Hannah: My True Story of Drugs, Cutting, and Mental Illness

Share This Book