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Reviewed by Joanne Reynolds

On Monday morning, June 10th, 1991, Jaycee Dugard was eleven and waiting for her mom to come give her a kiss goodbye before going to work. There were always kisses and hugs from mom and Jaycee had really wanted that on that particular morning; she even reminded her mother the night before.

Jaycee got dressed and was walking to catch the school bus when a car pulled up behind her. The driver stopped and asked for directions. He was holding something black in his hand and suddenly, Jaycee heard a crackling sound. She staggered backwards in an attempt to get herself into some bushes. Her hand connected to something hard and sticky, a pinecone, which she clung to. She had been shot with a stun gun and dragged into the man’s car.

She was then covered with a blanket and taken to a location that she did not know. This is the tragedy that befell Jaycee Dugard and stole 18 years of her life.

Phillip and Nancy Garrido were able to hide Jaycee for all of those years, with Phillip repeatedly raping the young girl, fathering two children – both girls – with her and holding her in a constant state of terror. Surprisingly, Phillip and Nancy were able to hide Jaycee right in their back yard, which was enclosed by bushes and fencing. Jaycee was “raised” by the couple and her children were raised as if Nancy was their mother and Jaycee their sister.

It is so hard to believe that all of this took place without someone realizing what was happening. Phillip Garrido had parole officers who visited the house. Jaycee refers to all of the drugs that were sometimes involved during her relations with Phillip and his “runs”. I think the scariest part of this whole thing is that Phillip and Nancy Garrido acted as if they were doing the right thing and creating a family with a young girl who was only trying to survive long enough to be reconnected to her mom and baby sister.

When she was finally able to reveal her identity to a parole officer, Jaycee must have felt so much fear and joy in equal measures.

Jaycee Dugard probably has a long road to healing and becoming independent-thinking. Kudos to her for forming her foundation and acquiring the courage to find herself after having been restrained for so long, and at such a young age. Also, how courageous and generous of her to write a story to help us understand the pain and heartache she and her family have been through, and to perhaps help other young girls. A Stolen Life is must read for Jaycee’s sake.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Joanne has always been an avid reader and loves the ability to lose herself in someone else’s life for the time that it takes to read about it. She has a huge admiration for authors and the worlds that they create for us. She enjoys reading to her granddaughters and hopes that they take up the love of reading

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon & Schuster. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.