Monday, April 23, 2012

"A Stolen Life" by Jaycee Dugard

Have you ever felt that your life has been dictated by someone else? Have you felt you do not have voice in your own life and you feel like a puppet like Jaycee Dugard in that “I feel like my life is
planned out for me, in what way I do not know, but on this day I feel like a puppet on a string, and I have no idea who’s on the other end” (CD 1). Jaycee Dugard calls this a “stolen life” because she felt other humans decided what her life would be like for 18 years.

Jaycee Dugard is just one of the many cases of child kidnappings and abuse. She survived after having been found in 2009, but for 18 years, since 1991, she lost the chance to have the same illusions and life other people her age had. Everyday activities like going to school, enjoying a nice meal, being with her family were lost for 18 years. Imagine that! She says it is similar to being abducted, because she disappeared out of everyone’s life without even saying goodbye. She lost her life to the hands of Philip Garrido and Nancy Garrido who kidnapped her when she was 11 in Tahoe, California. She was found until age 29 with two children from him. A Stolen Life: a memoir is a memoir written/spoken by Jaycee Dugard about her experiences in captivity.

It is easy to ask yourself, why she did not escape these hands, but being a little girl, she was fearful of the world. Society tends to blame the child, rather than the abuser but she feels that not speaking about it is like protecting her abuser and all abusers in this world. She lost her trust, and she felt lonely. As I read in a mandated abuse training website abusers take advantage of lonely, secluded children. Jaycee said she used to be a shy girl, she was not outspoken but she learned that in order to protect yourself, you must speak up! She was manipulated for 18 years to think her life depended on Garrido and that she had no escape. She was told “it could be worst” by her abuser and was threatened to being sold out if she did not do her role right. She was also fearful of losing her children by murder.

Jaycee was taken when she was walking alone on her way to school on June 10, 1991 and discovered locked in a backyard room, which Garrido called “the studio.” He had a history of being abuser and was on parole. However, Jaycee wants to file a suit on the government and police because they did not do their parole investigations and found her until 18 years after.

Reading this book was difficult for me, not because of the languageor because of its format through an audio book, but because of the content/graphic scenes of violence and abuse in the novel. The reason for Jaycee deciding to create her book as an audio book was because Jaycee wanted to not have a ghost writer who would not allow her to speak, dictate her life as others have, in her past.The scenes where she described being abused, being taken on “a run,” where her abuser would use drugs and force her to have sex for days, and being forced and subjected to the ill treatment from her abuser and his wife Nancy where a horror that was real, just like a bad dream, but real.

Here is a link to her interview with Jaycee Dugard.

I recommend this book if you are an avid reader, enjoy reading and hearing memoirs, or you wished to be informed of real life events that have happened. I do not recommend this for those who cannot handle the violent abusing scenes in the novel, because you will end up being scared of your own safety. However, this memoir is written not as a hopeless case, but as a triumph story where hope kept her alive. She quotes T.S Eliot, “I said to my soul be still, and wait without hope; for hope would be hope of the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith. But the faith, and the love, and the hope are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: so the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.” This quote relates to her life because she feels that keeping hope alive was what kept her going. To see her mother again, to be freed again was something she kept on living for.

I read this book not as a traumatizing narrative, but as one of survival and merit which proves that the most important thing, in life, to have is the will to live.

If you care to know what happened to Philip Garrido here is a link with his sentence story.


Freddy in the Chi said...

I was confused with this paragraph:

"Jaycee was taken when she was walking alone on her way to school on June 10, 1991 and discovered locked in a backyard room, Garrido called “the studio.” He had a history of being abuser and was being in parole. However, Jaycee wants to file a suit on the government and police because they did not do their parole and found her until 18 years after."

Just simple edits would fix the problem. "...backyard room which Garrido called 'the studio.", "being an abuser...", "was on parole", "file suit against the government...", Are you talking about parole check-ups?

Was the reason they didn't find her because they missed the parole meetings with the man?

Marisela said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marisela said...

One minor mistake in so much writing, I had a long troubling day, I could not post at all on this blog, until today. But thank you, I fixed them up! And yes they did not do their parole meetings and investigations of the place for 18 years!!

Freddy in the Chi said...

Wonderful. I wasn't trying to go all editor on ya, it just read a little awkward.

Marisela said...

Thank you! It helped!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have only recently become fully acquainted with the Jaycee story and was completely horrified by it. I have already cried just from reading the news articles and seeing her interviews, so I'm not sure I could handle the book. I did order a copy because I felt it was right to support her and hear it in her own words, but then I cancelled because I was quite frankly, too afraid of entering what seems like a dark, dark world, which in fact was her reality. Do you think I should re-order it?!