Posted by: Terri Johnston Fraracci | August 2, 2011

Some thoughts on Jaycee Dugard and her memoir “a stolen life”

Deciding whether to read Jaycee Dugard’s book or not was a real struggle. I was thrilled when she was found. I was angry when the media predicted that she would never recover. Why assume the worst? Why not support Jaycee and choose to believe? She survived! She was found! I just knew she would recover. She was already a miracle. Wrote lots of articles, said lots of prayers.

I read the book today. I’m glad I didn’t shortchange myself out of the desire to avoid the pain of reading about the trauma. She is one amazing woman, which is no surprise as she was obviously one amazing kid.

Kidnapped at the age of 11, she was imprisoned, subjected to sexual abuse, psychological abuse, manipulation, insanity, pregnancy at 14 and again at 17. She endured 18 years that consisted of a daily life unfathomable to most of us.

But Jaycee not only endured, she continued to educate herself, and then her daughters as soon as they were old enough. She wrote, she dreamed, she hoped the day would come when she would see her mother’s face again. Phillip Garrido may have held her hostage, but she never gave him her spirit.

Jaycee wrote the book herself. There is no ghost writer. There is only this brave, authentic woman who never went beyond 5th grade telling her story in her own words. And what powerful words they are!

You would think that a woman robbed of 18 years of her life would be bitter, angry, seething. But not this woman. No one knows better than Jaycee how precious today is, and just as she did not give up her spirit, she will not give Garrido any more than he has already taken.

At one point she writes in regard to Phillip Garrido – “In my heart I do not hate Phillip. I don’t believe in hate. To me it wastes too much time. People who hate waste so much of their life hating that they miss out on all the other stuff out here. I do not choose to live my life that way. What is done is done. If all my heart was filled up with hate and regrets and what ifs, then what else would it have room for?”

Jaycee not only survived, but has a wisdom that is not common in one so young, and truly incredible considering what she has been through. As she works her way through recovery from her imprisonment, she recognizes that she has a new challenge as well. She is still not free, as she is living under the prying eyes of the media and the public, and she has two daughters she must protect as well. But she accepts this and is working on freeing herself and her family from her current, unexpected state of captivity.

It is true that reading about the trauma and abuse is difficult. But I think it is worth it, to truly hear Jaycee’s voice and witness how an unimaginable nightmare becomes a story of hope, strength, wisdom, resilience, and indomitable spirit.

Ms. Dugard is a powerful inspiration to all. I stand by my belief that she will fully recover. She has already shown us that she is well on her way. As I said when she was found, “Have faith in the incredible strength already displayed by this family. Share in the joy portrayed by that beautiful smile. Believe that the miracle of Jaycee Lee will continue.”

I certainly do.




  1. Beautiful example of the human spirit. Thanks for sharing Terri, I’ll put this on my book list for sure.


  2. You are most welcome Eileen :).


  3. Thank you. You are apparently as inspired by Jaycee’s example as I am.


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