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A Stolen Life: A Memoir

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A Stolen Life: A Memoir
Image of first edition cover
First edition cover
AuthorJaycee Dugard
Audio read byJaycee Dugard[1]
SubjectStory of the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard in 1991
PublisherSimon & Schuster
Publication date
July 12, 2011
Publication placeUnited States
Media type
Followed byFreedom: My Book of Firsts 

A Stolen Life: A Memoir is a true crime book by American kidnapping victim Jaycee Lee Dugard about the 18 years she spent while sequestered and enslaved with her captors in Antioch, California. The memoir dissects what she did to survive and cope mentally with extreme abuse. The book reached No. 1 on Amazon's sales rankings a day before release[1] and topped The New York Times Best Seller list hardcover nonfiction for six weeks after release.[2]

A Stolen Life was published on July 12, 2011, by Simon & Schuster.[3][4] In 2016, Dugard followed up A Stolen Life by publishing Freedom: My Book of Firsts, dealing with her life after captivity.[5]


In 1991, eleven-year-old Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped by Phillip and Nancy Garrido, who tased her with a stun gun before dragging her into their car as Dugard walked to her school bus stop near her home in Meyers, which is south of South Lake Tahoe, California. While in captivity, Garrido raped her for years, impregnating her twice, resulting in her giving birth to two daughters.[6] Despite a sustained investigation, Dugard was not found until 2009, eighteen years after her abduction.

A Stolen Life is the story of Dugard's 18-year ordeal and was written as part of her therapy with Rebecca Bailey, who specializes in post-trauma family reunification.[7][8][9] Dugard further says that she wrote the memoir to provide an in-depth look at what captives like her have endured, and to reach other survivors.[7]

Before her abduction, Dugard states that she had dealt with an abusive stepfather, and her biological father was absent.[5] After she was rescued, Dugard and her family were awarded a twenty million dollar settlement for the failure of the parole officers assigned to Garrido, a convicted felon, to recognize the situation Dugard was involved in specifically her enslavement.[5][10]

Critical reception[edit]

The publisher Simon & Schuster initially printed 200,000 copies, and later printed another 15,000 to meet demand. A day before its official release the book reached the top of Amazon's sales rankings.[1]

Maria L. La Ganga, writing for the Los Angeles Times wrote that "A Stolen Life chronicles her growth from victim to survivor, from terror to strength. While it is also an indictment of the parole system and a meditation on loneliness."[11]

Janet Maslin, reviewing the memoir for The New York Times described Dugard as courageous and dignified in recounting such a traumatic life experience.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Andy, Lewis (November 7, 2011). "Jaycee Dugard's New Book: 5 Things to Know Before Its Release". Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on May 2, 2017. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  2. ^ "Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction". The New York Times. January 10, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2011.
  3. ^ "Jaycee Lee Dugard working on her second book". Associated Press. March 15, 2016. Archived from the original on May 21, 2016. Retrieved June 11, 2016 – via The Sacramento Bee.
  4. ^ "A Stolen Life". Archived from the original on June 6, 2016. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Maslin, Janet (July 17, 2011). "A Captivity No Novelist Could Invent". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  6. ^ "Jaycee Lee Dugard book: Chilling memoirs of years in captivity". Los Angeles Times. July 13, 2011. Archived from the original on March 23, 2021. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Hopper, Jessica (July 7, 2011). "Jaycee Dugard Interview: She Describes Giving Birth in Phillip Garrido's Backyard Prison". ABC News. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  8. ^ Maria L. La Ganga (June 2, 2011). "Jaycee Dugard's grand jury testimony provides personal account of kidnapping, rape and captors". Los Angeles Times. Placerville, California. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  9. ^ Jaycee Dugard (July 12, 2011). A Stolen Life. Simon & Schuster. pp. 7–11. ISBN 978-1-4516-2918-7.
  10. ^ Baron, Courtney
  11. ^ La Ganga, Maria L. (July 13, 2011). "Jaycee Lee Dugard book: Chilling memoirs of years in captivity". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 23, 2021. Retrieved May 9, 2020.

Further reading[edit]