If you've been watching the news lately, you've probably seen one of Jaycee Lee Dugard's many interviews publicizing her new memoir, "A Stolen Life," which comes out today.
Dugard's story has captivated the American public ever since she leaped into headlines in 2009. Dugard was kidnapped at age 11 in 1991 and held by husband and wife Phillip and Nancy Garrido in their backyard for 18 years. She had two children with Phillip Garrido, a girl named Starlite when she was 14 and a girl named Angel when she was 17. In 2009, Dugard was finally reunited with her family and removed from the Garrido's control when she and her daughters attracted the attention of a security guard on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley.
In the eyes of many, what made this story particularly disturbing was the fact that Phillip Garrido had raped and kidnapped another girl in the 1970's, and was on parole when he kidnapped and raped Dugard. Dugard and her children lived in the Garrido's backyard in California for 18 years, despite numerous reports from neighbors about suspicious activity at the house. Dugard and her family were eventually awarded $20,000,000 from the state of California for the physical and psychological damage they suffered due to police negligence in failing to conduct thorough checks on Garrido while he was on parole.
Dugard's memoir, coming in at just under 300 pages, was not written by a ghostwriter. She wrote the memoir herself. The book's publisher, Simon & Schuster, told the Hollywood Reporter that Jaycee's voice is raw and powerful because Jaycee does not see herself as a victim, but as a survivor. Dugard will be reading the audio version of the book herself, which will likely be a further draw for listeners.
Simon & Schuster have kept the details of the book heavily guarded, but according to the Hollywood Reporter the memoir covers all the details of Jaycee's kidnapping, "including the abuse she suffered at the hands of her captors, what it was like to give birth in an outdoor shed without medical assistance, how she tried to teach her daughters without any books and her tearful reunion with her family."
A percentage of the sales from each book will go to Jaycee's foundation, the JayC Foundation, which supports other kidnap victims and their families.
The book has already shot to the top of bestseller lists, and is currently the #1 book on Amazon, with good reason. The details of Dugard's abduction have been largely kept from the public eye until now, and "A Stolen Life" promises to be an engrossing – albeit heartbreaking – read.
Megan Wasson is a Monitor contributor.