23 member(s) found this review helpful.
What a book. If you saw the Diane Sawyer interview, the first part of this book will be very familiar to you. Jaycee's account of her abduction is harrowing. An 11 year old on her way to school, stun-gunned before she even knew what hit her, thrown into a car, and spirited away.
Jaycee was obviously a very shy and sweet girl. This vulnerability comes through in each part of the story she tells. I have a hard time putting my finger on it, but I think the best way to describe it is to say that her innocence shines through the book. She was isolated and came to rely on the Garridos as her only form of contact with the outside world, so in a way, she had to bond with them. She was afraid because they told her that they could sell her to people who would keep her in a cage, and they told her that they had Dobermans in the yard.
The description of the sexual abuse she endured was very difficult to read. Anything you can imagine, Garrido did to Jaycee. Garrido is truly a sexual deviant, drug addict, and mentally unstable piece of garbage. Jaycee did what she had to do to survive. I cried just thinking of how this innocent girl was tortured and humiliated.
She gave birth in the backyard, and eventually, Nancy Garrido's jealousy meant that Jaycee was her children's "sister". In reading this book, I developed an even greater distaste for Nancy Garrido (if that was at all possible). She treated Jaycee like a rival for her husband's affection, not an abducted child. She lied to Jaycee and exploited her vulnerability. She deserved just as much jail time as her husband got, and I am sad that she only got as much as she did. She videotaped children for her husband in public parks so that he could do disgusting things with the tapes. She is just as awful as he is.
Jaycee's loving heart can really be clearly seen through her love of animals (which Garrido also exploited) and my heart broke each time she had to endure another loss. It is clear that Jaycee has a lot of therapeutic work to do to understand and make sense out of her experiences. But what remains is a vulnerable, kind, loving, strong survivor who deserves every happiness in life. I just wanted to hug her when I finished the book. Compelling, heartbreaking, and inspiring.
To end my review, I will say this (my personal two cents): The Garridos should never, ever even be able to see daylight rom their cells. Jaycee was denied daylight for a long time--they should suffer the same fate. Let them pee in a bucket like Jaycee had to. Let them have no running water. Any human decency they get is more than they gave to their 11 year old captive.
Lastly, I hope she sues the parole department for millions of dollars and wins. (ETA: I hear she got a big settlement from them.) They did not follow their own policies and they were manipulated by the very piece of scum who they were supposed to monitor. Garrido was an expert (Nancy too) in distracting the officers from their job, but they should have done better. If they had, Jaycee would have been out much sooner.
Jaycee is a better human being than both of her captors put together. She seems to be a great mother, and I hope she and her children have a wonderful life together.
14 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jaycee Dugard's book is going to be very hard to read for anyone that has any sense of empathy towards other people. If you know anything at all about her story, you'll know why that's the case. Everything from the writing style to the way that events are recalled will very much put you in the place of that little eleven year-old girl, who will then take you with her as she grows up in captivity, gives birth to and raises two daughters, and then finally regains her freedom after eighteen very long years. Sometimes the journey is told briefly, and sometimes in heartbreaking detail, but it is always painful to read regardless.
You can definitely tell as you read that the book is written by Jaycee Dugard herself. Though she continued to read and attempt to educate herself after her kidnapping, it doesn't change the fact that her formal education stopped at the fifth grade. You can also tell that she had very little in those eighteen years, meaning that a very large part of her life, and among the very few things that she could gain any sense of happiness from, were her various pets and other simple things. So, you shouldn't start reading the book expecting a literary masterpiece full of excitement and adventure. You need to take it for what it is. She wrote the truth of what her life was, and it would be foolish to expect anything more.
I came away from this book, and from the TV interview, with a great respect for Jaycee's courage and determination. Despite everything, she not only survived, but is becoming ever stronger, and now serves as an inspiration for abuse victims everywhere to not be afraid to come forward and speak out. She is also an absolutely devoted and loving mother to her daughters, though they came from the most terrible of circumstances. She deserves our support and our respect, and I can only hope that those who do discover the identities of her and especially her daughters will continue to respect their privacy and treat them the same as they did before. It's the very least any of us could do in such a situation, and perhaps would let Jaycee put her fears to rest and know that her daughters will be allowed to live as normal of a life as possible. I certainly wish them all the best now and in their future. It certainly looks far more hopeful than their past.
8 member(s) found this review helpful.
This was an amazing story. Most of us can never imagine the hell she went through and the daily tasks she had/has to deal with. What a strong woman to have endured what she did and to become the woman she is today is so truly amazing to me. I won't lie about how hard it was to read this book because it was very sad and depressing. She dealt with so much at such a young age. Everything from being abused in every way to experiencing so much loss (several animals she had, either died or were taken away, aside from her very own life that had been stolen from her). In the end which was a relief of happiness and tears both in her life and me reading about it. I wish her all the best in her future with her family and much success to her foundation. I do recommend this book even though it was one of the hardest books I have ever read.