Book Reviews of Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail

Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail
Stolen Lives Twenty Years in a Desert Jail
Author: Malika Oufkir, Michele Fitoussi
ISBN-13: 9780786886302
ISBN-10: 0786886307
Publication Date: 2000
Pages: 294
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 145

3.8 stars, based on 145 ratings
Publisher: Hyperion
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

29 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on + 118 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I truly enjoyed this book from start to finish. The conditions the writer and her family lived in were absolutely frightening. I could put myself into her shoes as I was reading the book.. and felt like crying many times. A must read.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book had me so wrapped up in it. I had so much compassion for what this girl went through. It\'s definitely worth a read and you\'ll definitely learn that us Americans are very blessed not to go through what some other people in other countries have to go through...whether it\'s their custom or not. This book was definitely an eye opener for me. This book tells the tale of survival and you\'ll have the utmost respect for Malika.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on + 133 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
From a reviewer at Amazon.com:

"Stolen Lives" needs to be evaluated on two different levels - the moving tale of a family imprisoned under the worst conditions for 20 years and the way this amazing story has been memorialized by Malika Oufkir and Michele Fitoussi. The subject is engrossing and important, but the book itself is not well-written. This accounts for the disparity in ratings that the book has received.

It is fascinating to read about Malika'a unique and frequently heartbreaking life. The eldest daughter of a Morococcan general, she was taken from her family and adopted by the King. Western readers will find the tales of her life in the royal household surprising and enlightening. Not only was the lifestyle outrageously lavish, it was also consisted of customs and traditions that are completely different from our own. Malika was allowed to return to her own family as a young teenager. She only had a few years to get to know her father and enjoy life outside the confines of the palace. Her father before General Oufkir was implicated in a coup attempt against the King and was assassinated. The rest of the family - Malika, her mother, her oldest brother, three young sisters and three year old baby brother were summarily imprisoned. For twenty years they lived in increasingly brutal and inhumane conditions, persecuted by the King for their father's crimes and forgotten by the world. Thanks to their uncommon courage and ingenuity, the family was able to survive and eventually escape. It's not easy to read about many of the horrors and indignities that were heaped upon the Oufkirs, but it's important that the world know about their story.

Unfortunately, the book is not worthy of this amazing story. It was written by Malika with the assistance of Michele Fitoussi. The first problem is that the book does not give sufficient background about either the history of Morrocco or General Oufkir's powerful role as one of the King's chief aides. Those unfamiliar with Moroccan history will frequently find themself at a loss for context. Second, given that this is Malika's first person account, it necessarily is a very one-sided version of history. Not that I doubt her version of events - I just would have preferred a more complete and well-researched book that included not only Malika's story but also those of her siblings. Malika frequently portrays herself as the backbone of the family, the strongest member who kept them all from succumbing to madness. This very likely is true, but it would have a much greater impact coming from someone else. Finally, the writing style is very repetitive and immature. While Michele Fitoussi is very sympathetic to Malika's story and deserves much credit for persuading her to tell her story, I have no doubt that a more objective and skilled writer would have improved the quality of the book immensely. Hopefully a serious scholar will undertake a complete telling of the Oufkir's story. I, for one, will be anxious to read it.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on + 77 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed reading this book. It tells the story of a girl growing up in Morocco. She is raised in luxury, only to find herself and her family imprisoned for two decades because of her father's political views. They find amazing ways to enhance their lives while living in different prisons and their escape is awesome.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on
An amazing tale of courage and survival. First Oprah book I've read and actually enjoyed.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on + 22 more book reviews
This was the most wonderful book I have read. I usually find biographies a little boring because they repeat themselves. I counldn't put this book down. This is a true tale of perserverance. You really feel for the author and her family. Awesome book.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on + 54 more book reviews
I learned so much about being a woman in the Middle East from reading this well written book.
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great book! it talks about the struggles a family goes through when her father is accused without a trial that he was plotting to kill King Hassan. Some parts brought me to tears on what they had to go through.... partially the amount of years they were in jail. amazing. a must read for everyone... especially those opposing the war in iraq.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on + 472 more book reviews
"Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail" provided an extraordinary glimpse into the world of human rights abuses and leaves the reader with a deep appreciation for the simple joys that we take for granted. That said, I was not impressed with the writing style or editing.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on + 6 more book reviews
Wow, what an amazing story of survival. I had no knowledge of this event before reading the book.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on + 10 more book reviews
This is a book of human triumph through a harsh imprisonment. After her father was executed for attempting to assassinate the King of Morocco, she and her children were imprisioned for two decades. It is so foreign to our world, at times it is difficult to comprehend the events being described. It is a very interesting read.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on + 270 more book reviews
All I can say is wow-the details she goes into and what her and her family had to go through for 20 years is unbelievable! I won't say anymore in case I give anything away but I can highly recommend this book-I would keep it but I am using it for a game on here-maybe i'll go buy another new copy of it at B&N.....Highly Recommended!
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on
What an amazing tale. Hard to believe what happens in some countries.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on
Excellent reading about the horrors of a whole family's captivity due to political reasons, and the horrible things that they went through. God bless them.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on
A radical transition from palace luxury to austere poverty, this true story describes what happens when people come into power and use it inappropriately. As a result of such misuse, the Oufkir family endured punishment for the deeds of someone else (the father). As the Middle East continues to broil, there's no doubt that this morbid activity is ongoing and others are suffering similar fates as well. I'm surprised that any of the family emerged from their 2-decade imprisonment with their sanity intact. A remarkable read and one to be remembered long after the last page is turned. (I don't know why the red circle accompanies this review; I didn't put it there and can't get rid of it.) This book should be read by everyone who values freedom.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on + 7 more book reviews
Wow, what a story of survival and strength. An interesting read.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on + 9 more book reviews
Hard to put this book down. Makes you appreciate your day to day life and things we take for granted.

Marty P.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on + 17 more book reviews
Very insightful look at this woman's story. Well written and very easy to read.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on + 107 more book reviews
a very touching heartfelt story . a very good read.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on + 95 more book reviews
Interesting true life account of a family that was imprisoned for 20 years for the crime(s) of the husband/father.
reviewed Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail on + 128 more book reviews
I don't often read non-fiction memoirs. I am SO glad I tried this one. I can't believe I have no memory of this story in the media - I was young, but over the 20 years I was in college, thinking myself very informed. This book really sheds light on being female in this part of the world, and boy, am I glad I am an American! The daily life of royalty is unbelievable and their traditions and customs are fascinating. Then for this poor girl and her family to go from a postion of power, happiness and comfort to deplorable conditions almost overnight - you felt like you were right there beside her the whole way. And you can't stop thinking - they REALLY DO this to women and children for no other reason but spite?
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Quite an interesting read. Some of it sounds pretty "fantastic", and there are some unanswered questions, but it is well worth the read.
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An astonishing story of survival.
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I really enjoyed reading this book, and I learned many interesting things.
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Gripping memoir.
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This was an interesting book. I'm not really into biographies but this one was pretty riveting.
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A REALLY WONDERFUL BOOK THAT WILL STAY WITH YOU LONG AFTER YOU READ IT!
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Amazon.com
At the age of 5, Malika Oufkir, eldest daughter of General Oufkir, was adopted by King Muhammad V of Morocco and sent to live in the palace as part of the royal court. There she led a life of unimaginable privilege and luxury alongside the king's own daughter. King Hassan II ascended the throne following Muhammad V's death, and in 1972 General Oufkir was found guilty of treason after staging a coup against the new regime, and was summarily executed. Immediately afterward, Malika, her mother, and her five siblings were arrested and imprisoned, despite having no prior knowledge of the coup attempt.
They were first held in an abandoned fort, where they ate moderately well and were allowed to keep some of their fine clothing and books. Conditions steadily deteriorated, and the family was eventually transferred to a remote desert prison, where they suffered a decade of solitary confinement, torture, starvation, and the complete absence of sunlight. Oufkir's horrifying descriptions of the conditions are mesmerizing, particularly when contrasted with her earlier life in the royal court, and many graphic images will long haunt readers. Finally, teetering on the edge of madness and aware that they had been left to die, Oufkir and her siblings managed to tunnel out using their bare hands and teaspoons, only to be caught days later. Her account of their final flight to freedom makes for breathtaking reading. Stolen Lives is a remarkable book of unfathomable deprivation and the power of the human will to survive.
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Great condition.