In June of 1991, Jaycee Dugard was like any other 11-year-old. She went to school, she had friends, and rode her bike. She lived in California and had a one year old baby sister.
Then just like that, she was stolen.
A van pulled up, a pretense of asking for directions and she was gone.
For the next eighteen years of her life, Jaycee was held captive by Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy. She was kept in a locked and hidden shed in their back yard. During her first six years of captivity Jaycee gave birth to two of Phillips children. By the age of seventeen she was a mother twice over all the while painfully missing her own mom and wondering if she would ever find her way home again.
In August of 2009, Jaycee and her daughters were discovered and rescued.
In her own words, this is her story.
When I first seen this book on the store shelf I was vaguely familiar with the story. I brought it home and started reading it and be sure when I tell you this, the first 50 pages of this book are hard to read mainly because of the detailed telling of what happened to Jaycee at the age of 11. I think it would have been easier to handle if the book would have been written by a third-party, but the fact that Jaycee wrote this book and relived the details of her early days of captivity gave it an even more impact of emotion on me.
This is not to say it is not a worthwhile read. What Jaycee endured all of those years is shocking, painful, insane, and yet you see this young girl hang on to hope and a dream of someday being free.
At first I was not sure I would like the writing, the beginning of the book felt a little cold and matter of fact when Jaycee described in great detail what happened those first few days and weeks. I felt as though perhaps she had distanced herself from this painful period by writing as though she was writing about what happened to someone else. Then, almost as quickly as I had that feeling, it went away and Jaycee’s story of eighteen years of dealing with two very disturbing people pulls you in page after page. I found myself wanting to get back to the read whenever I could because I wanted to know what happened and how she would finally be discovered and rescued.
“The more knowledge I gain, the more like an adult I feel. I never got this chance to become an adult.”
I feel this is a very worthwhile read. I have heard that this is actually the true story that inspired author Emma Donoghue to write ROOM. Emma Donoghue also used pieces of the Elizabeth Fritzl case of the young girl who was held captive in the family basement by her father for 24 years where she bore seven of his children.