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Thursday, 24 November 2016

A Stolen Life & Freedom by Jaycee Dugard

In the follow-up to her #1 bestselling memoir, A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard tells the story of her first experiences after years in captivity: the joys that accompanied her newfound freedom and the challenges of adjusting to life on her own.

When Jaycee Dugard was eleven years old, she was abducted from a school bus stop within sight of her home in South Lake Tahoe, California. She was missing for more than eighteen years, held captive by Philip and Nancy Garrido, and gave birth to two daughters during her imprisonment.

A Stolen Life, which sold nearly two million copies, told the story of Jaycee’s life from her abduction in 1991 through her reappearance in 2009. Freedom: My Book of Firsts is about everything that happened next.

“How do you rebuild a life?” Jaycee asks.

In these pages, she describes the life she never thought she would live to see: from her first sight of her mother to her first time meeting her grownup sister, her first trip to the dentist to her daughters’ first day of school, her first taste of champagne to her first hangover, her first time behind the wheel to her first speeding ticket, and her first dance at a friend’s wedding to her first thoughts about the possibility of a future relationship.

This raw and inspiring book will remind readers that there is, as Jaycee writes, “life after something tragic happens…Somehow, I still believe that we each hold the key to our own happiness and you have to grab it where you can in whatever form it might take.”

Author                   Jaycee Dugard

Publisher               Simon & Schuster

A Stolen Life        UK: Amazon  US: Amazon

Freedom               UK: Amazon  US: Amazon

My Review

I remember seeing on the news about Jaycee Lee Dugard being found and thinking how miraculous it was that after eighteen years she would be reunited with her mother. However, although I was so happy for this family I also had to wonder how on earth does someone cope with finding out these awful things have happened to their daughter.

I felt so sorry for Jaycee at the time but having read the harrowing book A Stolen Life I  realised its not pity I feel for her but huge respect and admiration. Jaycee has been to hell and back through the sickening actions of two drug taking psychopaths whose names do not deserve a mention. Yet she is actually stronger than both of them put together .

In the first book Jaycee talks about what happened to her at the age of eleven when she was abducted on her way to school by  a paedophile and his wife. The details are extremely painful to read as Jaycee is subjected to eighteen years of being held captive and abused in the most unimaginably horrific ways.
After being continually raped over the years she actually managed to give birth, on her own, to two daughters whom she loves deeply. Despite who the father was, these children are her flesh and blood and she knew she would do anything to protect them, 

Jaycee has been asked why she didn't run away in the later years but she had been programmed to fear the outside world due to his manipulation of her and she also now had the fear of losing her daughters.

Thankfully they were eventually found and reunited with her mother, sister and aunty. This reunion was made easier by therapists, who have since become firm friends with Jaycee and also a family reunification centre which uses animals to help people to learn trust and confidence.

I found Jaycee's story very fascinating and while I obviously wish that she had never had to go through this ordeal, the fact is she has and nothing can change that. But the amazing thing about this situation is how resilient Jaycee was and continues to be.
She has not let hatred consume her and has a really positive outlook on life.

The second book, Freedom is very positive and shows all the wonderful things that Jaycee has been up to since she was freed. One of the most wonderful achievements she has made was setting up her own foundation to help similar families in need. It is called the Jayc foundation, the letters stand for Just ask yourself to care. Proceeds from the books go to this worthy cause. The foundation has won awards and they give talks at schools and to law enforcement officers to try and create a better understanding of these situations.

One of Jaycee's main aims is to dispel the term 'Stockholm Syndrome' which suggests that people being held captive begin to develop empathy  with their kidnappers and even fall in love with them.
Jaycee completely disagrees with this notion as she had to develop skills in order to survive and learn to read her captors moods and thought processes in order to keep herself and her children safe.

Jaycee reminds me of sunshine as her words seem to light up the pages full of hope. Despite the torturous life she had with them she has remained a ray of light in the world and her lovely gentle innocent personality shines though the books. I think she is an amazing person and her story has really touched my heart.

Message to Jaycee

Jaycee, I would just like to thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Those monsters may have stolen eighteen years of your life in the most cruellest way and many other things too, but one thing is for sure, they didn't take YOU. You are resilient, strong, beautiful, kind and a wonderful mum as your mum is to you.
I hope your light continues to shine brightly and wish you a wonderful and happy future. I think there is a handsome knight in shining armour for you one day and I know you'll be more interested in his horse at first but I wish you every happiness in life. If anyone deserves happiness it's you.

Book Angel X

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