16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2012
I've never read non-fiction. Not really. And I never read memoirs or bigraphies. But when I heard that Natascha Kampusch had written a book about her abduction and life in captivity I had to read it. I remember hearing all about her story on the news. I didn't know what to expect from this book. But it blew me away. Natascha Kampusch is a wonderful story teller, although this story is true. And thats what makes it all the more remarkable. She managed to tell her story without painting herself as a victim, I never found this book depressing. I found it gripping. Inspiring. This young woman so strong, she never once gave up hope that she would be free. She never once speaks of herself like a victim, thats one of the things that makes this book so enjoyable. You just fall in love with her character. So strong, determined, and never losing her identity despite her torture and isolation. You find yourself rooting for her throughout the book, ''Go Natascha, go!''. And when she finally leaves, its like she takes you with her. I left this book feeling like I can take on the world. Everybody should read this book. EVERYBODY. Many people have critisized her for the empathy she felt towards her attacker and have said she milked the media. Her empathy towards her attacker just shows what an amazing person she is, she never lost her compassion for others, she remained human despite her abuses. And as for milking the media?. She wanted to tell HER story, HER way. And I think she is amazing, strong, inspiring, determined, and this book has totally changed my life.Please go and read this book, like right now.
81 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2010
This book is leagues above the standard true-life confessional. It combines a vivid and deeply moving description of her harrowing ordeal along with a bold attempt to smash apart the traditional academic and popular conceptions of victimhood.
From the moment she escaped from captivity, Natascha Kampusch refused to conform to society's expectations of her behaviour. Just as she was punished whenever she failed to conform to Wolfgang Priklopil's set of rules, so she was criticised too by people who didn't approve of her attitude post-escape. Her refusal to accept the label of a 'broken woman' was as infuriating and bewildering to many members of society as it was to her kidnapper.
To her, what she went through was more than just an 'ordeal' with its stock characters of perpetrator and victim. It was an experience, it was her life for eight and a half years, and it's important to her that this period of her life is not merely dealt with to achieve 'closure', but that it will always remain an important part of who she is, with its own elements of light and shade in her memory. Hence her insistence on grieving the death of her kidnapper, which many people find incomprehensible.
Her viewpoint has much in common with that of Imre Kertesz, the Hungarian writer whose book Fateless (made into a successful film) is a semi-autobiographical account of life as a young teenager in a concentration camp. In the film, when the boy returns to Hungary after the war, still wearing his striped pyjamas, a well-wisher says to him "It must have been terrible for you. Were you beaten and starved?" The boy replies "naturally". The man says "Why do you say naturally? It's not natural". The boy replies "It is natural in a concentration camp."
The point is that people, the young especially, can adapt to their changing life circumstances in ways that outsiders simply can't understand. They can learn to treat the irrational, even the absurd as rational. But it is 'natural' to accept your conditions in this way, as probably the best means of survival in certain situations.
That is why Kampusch finds the label "Stockholm Syndrome" offensive, when people apply it to her attachment to her kidnapper. Far from suffering from any 'syndrome', she insists her behaviour was an entirely rational response to her circumstances, and that even within the most horrific situations there are 'better' and 'worse' experiences, moments of profound joy as well as profound fear and profound sorrow.
And nobody, she feels, should deny her any element of the experiences that are hers alone.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2011
I read this book in 2 days, because I couldn't put it down.
What a harrowing experience for someone so young. Yet she had the strength to get through it.
I feel Ms Kampusch gave an excellent explanation of the psychological affect of her confinement and dependance on her kidnapper. She is correct to say this kind of abuse and controlling behaviour is enacted in many so called normal homes throughout the world as we speak.
What made it so much worse for her, was the fact she was totally isolated from any human contact, other than Priklopil's.
In places, I almost felt she was apologising for becoming dependant on the only human she had any contact with for 8 years.
If you read these reviews Natascha, I'd like to say, please don't feel you have to apologise. You were the victim 100%. It's a miracle you survived it. You are a very brave young woman.
I am so sorry for what you went through. I wish you peace now.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2011
Natascha Kampusch was not enjoying being ten years old, she yearned for more freedom and quarelled with her parents. Specifically she wanted the freedom to walk to school alone. It was on one of these short journeys that the small amount of freedom she had was taken from her. Thrown into the back of a delivery van by a paranoid Wolfgang Priklopil, Kampusch was forced to live in a tiny dungeon with no contact with the outside world. She was starved and deprived of light if she disobeyed. Her ordeal was to last for a staggering eight and a half years. After some years she was allowed out of the cellar to help renovate Priklopil's investment properties. She was forced to work like a slave doing the job of many workman. Priklopil would savagely beat her, sometimes on a daily basis. Parts of this memoir are almost too painful to read but Kampusch never completely gives up on the idea of a better life. She has a vision that she will free herself when she is eighteen. When the media first reported on this case people wondered why she hadn't escaped before,after all hadn't she once even accompanyed Priklopil on a sking trip? On that trip she found herself on her own with a stranger for the first time in eight years, she asked for help but the stranger didn't speak German and couldn't understand. Her rare glimpses of the outside world left her feeling invisible. When a shop assistant pays her some attention she is absurdly delighted. As Kampusch says, after five years of being undermined by Prikopil she couldn't have left if the door had been wide open. Natascha is still only twenty-two years old yet she manages to show compassion towards her captor and remarkable insight into human behaviour. I doubt that Natascha Kampusch reads her UK Amazon reviews but if she does then I wish her well.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2011
What an incredible book this is. Kidnapped at such a young age, the author recalls her lengthy imprisonment at the behest of a physically and mentally abusive abductor who was quite clearly mentally unwell.
The book is a fascinating insight into the life of a captor and is rife with emotion, heartache and describes the complex relationship which is formed between captor and abductor. The author on several occasions stresses that she does not wish to be labelled with `Stockholm Syndrome' as no one can even begin to imagine and describe the emotions, thoughts and feelings that a captor will experience through such a lengthy imprisonment unless they have experienced it for themselves.
The author recalls key occasions from her imprisonment and describes her dungeon, her daily routine, the physical and mental abuse she suffered, her dependency and complex relationship with her abductor, her difficulty relating to the real world, her eventual escape and life immediately after freedom.
This is certainly a book which will horrify and anger. The injustice and the barbarity of the author's imprisonment are likely to upset. Be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster and one in which you are almost shouting out loud for the poor girl to run whilst she has the chance. Unfortunately, the psychological chains which the abductor had created, kept her imprisoned even when she had opportunities to escape.
Raw, emotive and heartbreaking, this is an extremely well written and intelligent recollection of a totally despicable crime.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2011
The story of the kidnapping of Natascha Kampusch, and her reaction that left the world so disdainful and confused about her, after her escape.
She describes with incredible clarity and blunt honesty, her dependency on the kidnapper and angrily refuses to acknowledge Stockholm Syndrome as a reason, she said that tag made her into a victim all over again, and only she knows the reality of the relationship with her kidnapper for the eight years she was his captive.
The insights she writes about are very clearly the result of in depth psychotherapy since her release from captivity, with some patterns obvious to see, but it is unsettling and disturbing to read how coldly she describes and dissects the interdependent relationship she and the man built up over time, it reflects back on all interdependent relationships, in a fascinating way that a reader can identify with.
Her experience and bizarre strength and coping mechanisms leave the reader feeling slightly uncomfortable as she refuses to conform to a victim stereotype, she asks for no pity and is shocking in her candidness, although despite barely a mention of sexual abuse, she has since claimed she gave birth to a child during her captivity.
A fascinating read and an astonishing girl.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2011
A truly remarkable story told in her own words by a truly remarkable young lady.
This book is exceptionally well written, even more so when you consider that Natascha spent what should have been her school years, locked in a basement.
A story of survival. I am in awe of this girl's inner strength. She explains so perfectly, the "relationship" that she had with her kidnapper and how "Stokholm Syndrome" is so misguided. This book is captivating. I highly recommend it.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 2010
You must buy this book. It is absolutely amazing to finally hear Natascha's story. The book is well written and it is very hard to put down.
She describes her ordeal in a very interesting way and I found myself feeling so, so sorry for this young woman.
She tells about everything that happened, except for the sexual abuse she suffered. I would have found that interesting to read, but she wants to keep that private, so I respect her for that. You can only imagine what happened, and I think that makes it scarier!
A brilliant book, read it!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2010
This is an incredible story from a young woman who survived to tell the tail of 3 096 days held captive by a mentally ill man who abused and bullied her. Natascha Kampusch tells in carefully worded, sometimes too "Grown up" language, a small portion of the hell that was her daily existence for all those years. The sadness I feel at the end of the read - which I couldn't put down - is more about the ongoing abuse meted out by the public and establishment in Austria when she did finally escape. The disbelief that she was a victim - the accusation that she was somehow complicit in the crime (despite being just 10 years old at the outset) and the insistence that she must take the role of victim still is hard to fathom. That Natascha has come through and still has plans to move ahead with her young life rather than lie down and play dead is reassuring in this strange world. I applaud her for sharing her story - it should rebuild some of our faith in Human resilience and challenge us to question the standards of the society we live in and fight so hard to protect.
This is a thoroughly absorbing read and a frightening reflection on society today.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2010
I heard Natascha Kampusch being interviewed and immediately ordered this book. It is a quick read because it's absolutely compelling. With very little self-pity, Natascha tells the extraordinary story of her imprisonment at the hands of Wolfgang Prikopil. It is an account of enormous mental and physical resilience which would be admirable in a trained soldier - let alone a small and frightened girl.
I was interested in why she felt she could not run away, even when the opportunity presented itself, and the book really does explain that aspect. It is well written in a matter-of-fact style which does not allow for the sensational or the prurient.
It's shameful that Natascha has been subject to hostility by some people in the wake of her ordeal. The fact that she survived this living hell is quite incredible, and the fact that she immediately sought the independence she'd craved for so long is a testament to her continuing spirit. By the end of the book I wished I could shake her hand and congratulate her.
An insight into the extremes of human strengths and weaknesses.