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Designed by Joy O’Meara
Manufactured in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Dugard, Jaycee Lee, 1980-
A stolen life : a memoir / Jaycee Lee Dugard. — 1st ed.
1. Dugard, Jaycee Lee, 1980—Kidnapping, 1991. 2. Kidnapping victims—California—Biography. 3.
Kidnapping—California. 4. Sexually abused children—California—Biography. I. Title.
ISBN 978-1-4516-2918-7 ISBN 978-1-4516-2920-0 (ebook)ISBN-13: 978-0-8572-0711-1
Dedicated to my daughters.
For the times we’ve cried together,
laughed togetherAnd all the times in between.
Contents Author’s Note
The Secret Backyard
Alone in a Strange Place The First Time First Kitty The First “Run” Nancy Easter: Phillip on an Island Christmas Learning I Was Pregnant Driving to a Trailer Waiting for Baby Taking Care of a Baby Sarge Second Baby The Starting of Printing for Less Birth of Second Baby Raising the Girls in the Backyard Nancy Becomes “Mom” Pretending to Be a Family Cats Surviving Discovery and Reunion Firsts for Me Milestones The Difficult Parts of Life Finding Old Friends Therapeutic Healing Meeting with Nancy Therapeutic Healing with a Twist Acknowledgments
This book might be confusing to some. But keep in mind throughout my book that this was a veryconfusing world I lived in. I think to truly begin to understand what it was like, you wouldhave had to be there, and since I wish that on no one, this book is my attempt to convey theoverwhelming confusion I felt during those years and to begin to unravel the damage that wasdone to me and my family.
You might be suddenly reading about a character that was never introduced, but that’s how itwas for me. It didn’t feel like a sequence of events. Even after I was freed, moments arefragmented and jumbled. With some help, I have come to realize that my perspective is unique toabduction. I don’t want to lose that voice, and therefore I have written this book how it cameto me naturally. I’m not the average storyteller … I’m me … and my experience is veryuncommon. Yes, I jump around with tangents, but that’s sometimes the way my mind works. If youwant a less confusing story, come back to me in ten years from now when I sort it all out!
Jacyee Lee Dugard, age eleven
Let’s get one thing straight! My name is Jaycee Lee Dugard. I was kidnapped by a stranger atage eleven. For eighteen years I was kept in a backyard and not allowed to say my own name.What follows will be my personal story of how one fateful day in June of 1991 changed my lifeforever.
I decided to write this book for two reasons. One reason is that Phillip Garrido believes noone should find out what he did to an eleven-year-old girl … me. He also believes he is notresponsible for his actions. I believe differently. I believe that everyone should know exactlywhat he and his wife Nancy were doing all these years in their backyard. I believe I shouldn’tbe ashamed for what happened to me, and I want Phillip Garrido to know that I no longer have tokeep his secret. And that he is most certainly responsible for stealing my life and the life Ishould have had with my family.
I’m also writing my story in the hopes that it will be of help to someone going through,hopefully not similar conditions, but someone facing a difficult situation of theirown—whatever that may be. It’s easy for people to be horrified and shocked when someone isabducted, but what about all the other adults and kids living in sad homes? My goal is toinspire people to speak out when they see that something is not quite right around them. Welive in a world where we rarely speak out and when someone does, often nobody is there tolisten. My hope is that society changes in regards to how we treat someone who speaks out. Iknow I am not the only child to be hurt by a crazy adult. I am sure there are still thefamilies that look great on the outside, but if someone were to delve deeper they woulddiscover horrors beyond belief.
For many, it is so much easier to live in a self-made “backyard” that it can be tough andscary to venture out and leave that comfort zone behind. It is so worth it, though. You couldbe saving a person or a family who is not able to save themselves.
Take my case, for example: two Berkeley cops saw something amiss and spoke up about it. Even ifthey would have been wrong, they still did the right thing by speaking up. I will forever begrateful to them for doing the thing that I could not do for myself.
Back then, it was a struggle to get through a day, but now I look forward to each day and thenext to come. After eighteen years of living with tremendous stress, cruelty, loneliness,repetition, and boredom, each day now brings a new challenge and learning experience to lookforward to.
With my writings, I hope to convey that you can endure tough situations and survive. Not justsurvive, but be okay even on the inside, too. I’m not sure how I did endure all that I did. Iask myself less and less every day. I used to think maybe the one reading this would find theanswer for me, but I am beginning to think that I have secretly known all along.
Ask yourself, “What would you do to survive?”