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This review is from: A Stolen Life (Hardcover)
I'm not really into the 'woe is me' and 'I had a terrible childhood' type books. But this is different. I was fascinated by the story since I heard about it 2 years ago, and was looking forward to reading this book, as it was written by Jaycee herself, and not some ghostwriter. I wasn't really prepared for the story she told.
I won't go into the background of the story, that's well documented, and if you are reading this, you wil probably know the background anyway.
The first half of the book tells of Jaycee's early years in captivity, and the horrendous sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her captor. It really is shocking what she went through, and more than once when reading these accounts, I had to put the book down and do something different for a while. The second half of the book, after her children are born, is more to do with her having to accept the way things are and looking after her daughters, but it is still hard to read somethimes, especially her journal entries with her thoughts of home and her family.
The fact that Jaycee has had the courage to write this is remarkable in itself, that she did so in her own words is even more so. I would imagine, though, that it had a cathartic effect for her, being able to write it all down. I would say that the only criticism I have is that there is not much detail of the psychological abuse and brainwashing that she must have gone through. I say this because there are times, several times in fact, when it would have been possible for her to alert others as to who she was, but she chose not to. This could only be because of what that monster did to her. Trying to collate 18 years of torture into just 268 pages means there is still a lot left unsaid.
Would this have been a more coherent, better written book if it had been written a few years from now? Maybe, but it wouldn't be the same story. This is how it was, and writing it from the vantage point of the future would inevitabley smooth the edges and it doesn't deserve that softening.
This is a remarkable, horrific, and terribly moving story. It's not for the faint-hearted. when you finish the final page, you will hug your children if you have them. Jaycee's story will stay with you long after the book is finsihed. Jaycee is an incredibly brave woman. I hope she and her family can find some peace and comfort in the years ahead. Read it, and thank your lucky stars. God bless you, Jaycee.