i read all night…

by jenna on August 22, 2011

Okay, I didn’t really read all night but I did read this book in one sitting on Saturday night. Party on, right? Let’s just say I had a hard time falling asleep.

In all seriousness, this was, hands down, the single most disturbing book I’ve ever read….but also one of the most important! I just CAN’T BELIEVE something this awful happened right under everyone’s nose. If you’re not familiar with the story of Jacyee Dugard, basically as an eleven-year-old girl she was abducted from the bus stop and forced to live in her captor’s backyard where she was continually raped and abused for 18 years. During that time, she bore two daughters (one when she was 14 and the other when was 17) by this terrible man who told her Jesus had sent her to him so he wouldn’t have to hurt other little girls. It makes me absolutely sick. The whole thing is totally gut wrenching and the book is very, very graphic (be warned).

If you’re asking yourself if you really want to read it, knowing how awful it is, you should. Everyone should read this! Books aren’t always comfy pretty little tales and this one is a true story of survival.

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{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex August 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Thanks for the review. I’ve read a couple of heart-wrenching true stories before, and you’re right… while not exactly enjoyable, they are in their own way necessary reads.

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Shari @ The Daily Dish August 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Glad you enjoyed it! I’ve heard great reviews about it, but that parts of it are hard to get through given the nature of what it’s about. So terrible.

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Kathryn August 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Someone told me once that they didn’t like the term “reading for pleasure” because some books are not pleasurable to read, but they are GOOD to read. Sounds like this is one of them. Thanks for the book recommendation! I’m always in need of good suggestions.

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Krista August 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I finished this book a couple of weeks ago and was a bit sorry that I had read it. I didn’t realize it was going to be quite so detailed. I have images in my head now from that book that I wish I didn’t. It is an unbelievable story and I am amazed that this monster was able to get away with this for so long. It is a well-written book and I hope it helps Jaycee’s healing process to get her story out.

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Sara August 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I bought this book the day it came out and finished it in two sittings. I watched the special interview Jaycee gave with Diane Sawyer and it was just heart wrenching to hear about her story–yet I wanted to read her book. Part of me felt weird knowing I was going to read some disturbing stuff but I still wanted to read her story. I too cannot understand how in the hell she was kept there for so long, many MANY people dropped the ball. I pray she can continue to move on and move forward and better her life and heal but also for her girls. Like Kathryn said, it’s not always a “reading for pleasure” kind of deal and this is just the case–but it’s still important.

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lindsay August 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Thank you for this review! I know you are always looking for new suggestions, too. Have you read Lucky by Alice Sebold (author of The Lovely Bones)? Its a memoir and it is also very disturbing, but an important read…

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Cait's Plate August 22, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Oh my gosh I followed that story SO closely – I’d be so curious to read that book! I would definitely not be able to put it down either. I can completely see how it’s a “read-it-all-in-one-sitting” type of book!

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Melissa @ Journey to Marvelous August 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm

As a native northern Cali girl, this whole story was especially disturbing! I’m undecided on if I want to read the book…thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

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Gina @ Running to the Kitchen August 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I really enjoyed the Glass Castle so these kind of stories (although I’m sure this one is way more disturbing) kind of intrigue me. I didn’t even know this book existed. Definitely picking it up.

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amy walters, aDESIGNdock August 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm

That would be such a difficult read, but agreed, an important one. Thank you so much for always putting yourself out there Jenna and saying what NEEDS to be said.
amy*

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Katy August 22, 2011 at 1:00 pm

I just read this book too–took me about two days. Although it was graphic, I would definitely recommend it because Jaycee is a true example of a SURVIVOR and is very inspirational.

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Beth August 22, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Have you read ROOM:A Novel by Emma Donoghue? It is fiction but probably very similar to this. It was an awesome book. I have been thinking of reading this one but had to take a break to read something light after ROOM.

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Maria August 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Ugh! Thanks for posting a review on this book. I want to read it, but at the same time I don’t just because of how graphic I’m sure it is. Hearing things like this make me question whether or not I want to bring kids into this sad, sad world.

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Anne August 22, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Not my cup of tea. Personally, reading this would make me feel perversely voyeur… And I find it kind of obscene in an editorail point of view.

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Baking N Books August 22, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I wouldn’t read it either I think – but I think it’s because I’m a bit of a wimp. I can’t stand preverse, twisted stuff – and knowing it’s real-life would make it worse.

I know that’s wrong because it DID really happen and I shouldn’t act naive, but honestly – if I’ve read the papers and know the outcome – I think that’s enough. Knowing all the details isn’t necessarily necessary.

On another note – did you know that they have a movie out now based on “Sarah’s Key”? Good reviews. It hasn’t gotten the media publicity of “The Help” though!

(is this your last day of yoga as well?)

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Penny August 22, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I COMPLETELY agree with this. If I decided not to read this, it would be for the reasons you just stated.

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Ellie August 22, 2011 at 8:21 pm

I feel like the decision is up to the writer, or the person to whom it (whatever “it” is) happened, to determine whether or not she or he wants other people to know about it. So I don’t feel like it’s voyeuristic or “obscene” to read the book. It’s Jaycee Dugard’s decision that she wants the reading public to be able to know all the details of what happened to her. Because she wants to tell this to the reading public, it cannot then be voyeuristic. Obviously, no one person has any obligation whatsoever to read any book. But I don’t find it objectionable at all that this book exists and that people want to read it. I am pretty curious as to what Anne means, exactly, by “obscene in an editorial point of view.”

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Anne August 23, 2011 at 6:39 am

1. Didn’t say it’s voyeuristic, I said I would feel voyeur. 2. For me, it’s obscene in an editorial point of view because they know they will make a lots of money by showing horror in every details. The poor girl wants to tell now, will it be the same in ten years when the book still exists…

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Meaghen August 23, 2011 at 6:56 am

I think she will still want it known in 10 years. If you read the book she even states in the beginning that part of the reason she wrote it is because she wants Phillip (the man that did this to her) to know that she doesn’t have to keep his secret anymore. He also doesn’t think that what he did was wrong, so she wants the world to know exactly what he did to her. For her, writing this book and publishing it is the ultimate way to tell him that he doesn’t have that power over her anymore. While I agree with what you said that it’s kind of obscene from an editorial point of view as they made a lot of money from this, it was probably also a cathartic process for her to write her story. She also says she wanted to write it for anyone who is going through a difficult time can see that you can survive.

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Traci August 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm

A friend of mine just finished reading it & I have it now in my “to read” stack.

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Deirdre August 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm

I just read this book last week. I have to say I enjoyed it overall. The whole book showed just what a strong person Jaycee was to endure through truly terrible circumstances. That being said I found it a little annoying how she jumped verb tense a lot and how her train of thought jumped around though she did warn us in the beginning of the book.

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Rachel @ The Avid Appetite August 22, 2011 at 1:17 pm

This book was UNREAL!!!! I read it in 2 days. She is an amazing woman.

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga August 22, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Due to events in my life, there is no possible way I could read this book. Just reading the synopsis you wrote has me sobbing.

I am so sorry for Jaycee and all that she endured. I send my prayers and healing energy to her. What a survivor!!!

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Kathryn D August 22, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I read this in 2 sittings. I had very disturbing dreams afterward. It does make me sad that he said he did all this because God told him to. Now I fear that she will never have a loving relationship with God because of what she had been told while she was tortured.

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Baking N Books August 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I seen her interview on GMA – and she is amazing. I don’t know where she got and has her strength and soul from.

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girl in the pink August 22, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Eek, I saw this story on Oprah a while back. So devastating and unbelievably horrible.

Good for you for reading the book, I am not sure I could stomach it! :-/

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MyLifeandRunning August 22, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Oh, I couldn’t finish it. I powered through half of it one morning and got so upset, I had to stop. I know we can’t just read happy things, but her story was too much for me to immerse myself in. She is definitely a survivor and it’s inspiring to see she’s living a life helping others.

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Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine August 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Thanks for the recommendation, Jenna–I didn’t even know she had written a book about her story. I agree with you, I can’t believe something of that magnitude happened to her for so long—I can’t imagine.

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Sana August 22, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Bad things do happen in this world :(

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Anne P August 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Yikes, I read that a couple weeks ago – well, listened to it on CD while driving, actually. It was even more intense that way since she narrated it herself and really still sounds like a little kid. Such a sad story.

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Jessica @ Jess Go Bananas August 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I would definitely imagine this book being very very very graphic – I don’t think it would be for me.
You’re completely right about warning people – her story is extremely gut-wrenching – I think I will have to pass on this one.
Have you ever read firefly lane? I heard that that book was fanominal!

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Natasha August 22, 2011 at 3:06 pm

I recently read Room by Emma Donoghue and although it wasn’t as graphic as I imagine this memoir is, it is of similar subject. It’s from the perspective of the child so it is a very unique and creative writing perspective. I also couldn’t put the book down as it was very heart-wrenching.

OveLoves

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jenna August 22, 2011 at 3:09 pm

I’m reading that next for book next in September!

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Penny August 22, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I read that book in January and it is very interesting. In a this-is-really-terrible kind of way of course.

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Myra Swearingen August 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Hi Jenna,
I read the book right after our visit to Lake Tahoe. I had forgotten that it happened
there. Such a tragic event in such a beautiful place. Crazy people are everywhere!!
Good book but so disturbing. Bravo to Jaycee for writing it and being a survivor throughout the years as well as having a forgiving spirit. Thanks for sharing with your readers!

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Mads August 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Thanks for the recommendation. I read about it so much in the news, mostly because I couldn’t believe this actually happened. It’s so horrifying and sad.

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Moni'sMeals August 22, 2011 at 3:56 pm

yes, what a terrible story. How brave for her to write a book too. I also would of had a tough time sleeping.

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Amy@ahealthyandhappyheart August 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I will have to check this out… I followed along with her story… so terrible, yet she is such an inspiration.

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Penny August 22, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I’ll find this book on Amazon.

Another book you may be interested in is Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist’s Wife. I found this REALLY interesting. Also, another wife of the same man also has a book out. I haven’t read that one though.

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Penny August 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I love the books reviews and recommendations. :-)

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Melissa August 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm

I wanted to read her story but her article in People magazine made me cry. I hate to say it but I’m almost afraid to read it, knowing what it is about. She is a true surviver. I can’t imagine having that happen, I always felt so bad for her parents. To know someone did that to one of my children! 400 years in prison or what ever he got wouldn’t be enough for me.

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Sarah@sarahsmodernbites.com August 22, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Thanks for sharing your review! I have contemplated reading this book but I think the reviews and her story in summary are enoughn for me… It’s an awful and disturbing story and I cannot believe that people like that man actually DO exist in this world. It’s crazy, right? What a survivor she is… I mean just incredible. What more could I get from this book than what I get from her story to save me from that disturbed and very sad feeling?

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Emily @ Comfortable Home Life August 22, 2011 at 5:52 pm

I work for child protective services and I specialize in sexual abuse. I absolutely love what I do so this books seems right up my alley. Yes, stories like these are disturbing at times but it’s essential the public is educated about the warnings and signs. The public needs as much information as possible on how to prevent crimes against children. I’m watching Jaycee’s interview with Diane Sawyer right now — riveting! I’m 74th in line to get this book at the library — I may just need to suck it up and kindle it! Thank you for the honest review.

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes August 22, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Ohh! I really wanted to read this, and completly forgot about it! Great review :)

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Julie August 22, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Everyone I know who has read this book says the exact same thing. That it is incredible and disturbing all at the same time, and that everyone should read it. I’ll have to pick it up I suppose.

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Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy August 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm

I saw her story on the news awhile, and thought the book looked really good. I’m glad that I read your review!

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kaila @ healthy helper! August 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm

I was captivated by her story so i would definitely be interested in reading the book. Glad to hear its worth the read!

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Amy August 22, 2011 at 7:35 pm

thats an amazing story..im sure the book is really interesting/hard to read. thanks for the review!

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Leslie Means August 22, 2011 at 7:50 pm

I wanted a new read – although It will be a bit disturbing. Thanks for the review..

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Alex August 22, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Jenna! Have you read this blog!? I happened across it tonight via foodgawker. Although I’ve only read a handful ofnposts… It reminded menof you. Because… You know… I know you so well(not)! http://www.howsweeteats.com/

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Jackie @ That Deep Breath August 22, 2011 at 8:38 pm

I’m not sure that I could read that book, but she is an amazing woman with an incredible story. So heartbreaking!

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Liz August 22, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Her story is fascinating, but I haven’t read the book yet. On the waiting list at the library (’cause even though I have a Nook, I love a free book from the libary!) :)

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Notyet100 August 23, 2011 at 12:49 am

Have heard about this book

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Alison August 23, 2011 at 6:00 am

For once you are reviewing a book that I have already read (not usually the case! :-) )
I went through this book so quickly, I was just so sucked into the story. I also watched her on TV a little while ago, I think it was a Dateline special or something. I cannot imagine everything she went through, but was happy for her that she survived and has such good in her life again. She’s an amazing young woman, that’s for sure.

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Dee Stephens August 23, 2011 at 6:00 am

I read the book the week after it came out and was disgusted by what went on but inspired by her strength.
Those journals she wrote? I couldn’t believe it. We all should look at her as an example of just how strong you can be if you put your mind to it. I hope she can continue to live a private life with her two daughters.
I just hope her daughters weren’t abused by their demented father.

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Laura August 23, 2011 at 10:04 am

I tried to get it at the library last weekend and I’m on a waiting list of 564 people-ugh!

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kristina@beancakes August 23, 2011 at 10:45 am

yes, i followed this story and it is so disturbing. i saw the interview and i just can’t get over how she survived this ~ such a strong woman.
xx ~ ks

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Jayne @ Married to a Meat-eating Military Man August 23, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Saw the Diane Sawyer special with her and just couldn’t believe the horror. But, what a strong woman for getting through it all and still finding the courage to share her story.

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Kelsey August 27, 2011 at 8:16 am

I watched the interview on tv with my roommate and I was in absolute shock. There was a part where she said they were at some sort of festival and she really could have just run, but she was so brainwashed it didn’t even seem like an option.

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Dominique September 12, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I’m almost done reading this…just a little over 40 more pages to go. I cried twice…when she was first raped and then when she was discovered. It is a really gut-wrenching story. I couldn’t read it in one sitting because it was just too much. I’ve found myself thinking about it a lot since I started it two days ago. I agree, everyone should read this.

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