For the first time, 10 years after her abduction from her Salt Lake City bedroom, Elizabeth Smart reveals how she survived and the secret to forging a new life in the wake of a brutal crime.
On June 5, 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart, the daughter of a close-knit Mormon family, was taken from her home in the middle of the night by religious fanatic Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. She was kept chained, dressed in disguise, repeatedly raped, and told she and her family would be killed if she tried to escape. After her rescue on March 12, 2003, she rejoined her family and worked to pick up the pieces of her life.
Now for the first time, in her memoir, My Story, she tells of the constant fear she endured every hour, her courageous determination to maintain hope, and how she devised a plan to manipulate her captors and convinced them to return to Utah, where she was rescued minutes after arriving. Smart explains how her faith helped her stay sane in the midst of a nightmare and how she found the strength to confront her captors at their trial and see that justice was served.
In the nine years after her rescue, Smart transformed from victim to advocate, traveling the country and working to educate, inspire and foster change. She has created a foundation to help prevent crimes against children and is a frequent public speaker. In 2012, she married Matthew Gilmour, whom she met doing mission work in Paris for her church, in a fairy tale wedding that made the cover of People magazine.
©2013 Elizabeth Smart (P)2013 Macmillan Audio
Yes. This book gives a really interesting insight into a situation that most people (luckily for them) will never experience. Smart does a good job of the narration.
The scene where Elizabeth is reunited with her family - very moving.
Yes, it's so uplifting. Not that what she endured was pleasant, but the way she handled herself and how she ends the book is amazing.
Elizabeth!!! She is the strongest woman I have ever heard of. Forgiveness and how beautiful and empowering that can be.
It was very moving, made me laugh AND cry...
I recommend it with everything I am.
"a heartbreaker, with a happy ending"
A riveting story. So clear, it was like watching a film about what happened.
"She is one smart Elizabeth"
I have to say I admire the girl more than I imagined I would. She is strong and smart. And it doesn't hurt that she plays the harp (so do I). I can't even imagine the horror of the things she went through. The physical abuse was horrific, but the mental abuse was even worse.
I also admire her family. Her parents handled the situation about as well as it could be handled. I'm proud of them for never giving up, when the rest of us were sure she was dead. It gives me courage to read their stories and see how people can be strong in the face of devastating circumstances. It makes my troubles look small by comparison.
I'm not usually a fan of authors reading their own books, and I am sure Elizabeth would be the first to say she is not a professional narrator. Still, there was something honest and convincing in the way she read. When she emphasized a word or phrase, I knew it was authentic, and not a reader's interpretation of the author's intent. I like that a lot. It reminds me of another incredibly strong girl, Jaycie Dugard, who also read her own story.
Here's to you, Elizabeth. You did what you had to do, and you survived to tell about it--and you did it with style.
"Absolutely chilling; stops a parent's heart"
Smart narrates her account of abduction and rape. As a parent you are terrified at every turn, for her to deal with such evil is beyond words. She tells the story in detail, no sugar coating, no hesitations. I give this book a big thumbs up. I just cannot bring myself to write more comments because they would only detract from her telling! Must listen!
"Defining Strength, Faith, and Inspiration"
Dubbed *one of the kidnapping crimes of the century,* the abduction of 14 yr. old Elizabeth Smart from her family home, dominated the news on June 5, 2002. When 9 months later we heard the amazing report that she had been found, we rejoiced...then we pondered the nightmare. Where had she been? What had she gone through? How did she survive? Would she be okay? With this book, and the assistance of Congressman/author Chris Stewart, Smart goes back over her ordeal, and in her own words answers those questions with brave candor and purpose. A story horrific enough that Stewart said he wondered how, after he listened to the details, he would be able to "make it so that people would read it and walk away with more faith, hope and belief in the goodness in life," as Smart intended. And that is exactly what we do walk away with...plus admiration for this incredible woman.
Smart called her ordeal "nine months of hell," but never even hints at self-pity, or fishes for ours. We learn that she endured an almost daily menu of torture, including daily sexual abuse by the depraved Brian David Mitchell -- aka the self proclaimed prophet Emmanuelle. There are no new titillating facts revealed -- it is about the events as she experienced them. Smart and her family have courageously insisted on presenting the facts, but have consistently refused to discuss in the media details of the abuse. She continues to keep the story focused on the crime, free of salacious details, and true to the perspective of a 14 year old innocent and very scared girl. Hearing her narrate her own story makes this all the more poignant. It is heartbreaking to hear her voice tell of the near rescues as they crumbled...looking through her veil at a young boy and wondering how her first date would have gone. And then, with the voice of an indomitable spirit, she makes a brilliant case for Mitchell's and Barzee's competency, that ultimately destroyed their plot to be found legally mentally incompetent to stand trial for their crimes.
Through all of this darkness, with the exception of sharing a few deservedly low moments, she amazingly keeps a tone of hope, and her light shining. Drawing on her Mormon upbringing, and faith that God had not abandoned her, Elizabeth refused to be beaten or broken, refused to be a victim. Her survival, her appreciation for each day of life, her love for her family, and her dedication to those suffering from similar experiences (the Elizabeth Smart Foundation) is remarkable, and one of the most inspiring stories I've read. Listening to this book changed the way I look at my own challenges. At the end, Lois Smart tenderly, but with force, gives her daughter the most beautiful and empowering advice -- words that only a mother could offer. Through all else, that is what finally brought me to tears.
I know this story really happened, but it is so hard to comprehend that anyone would put someone through this. Additionally, I thank Elizabeth for sharing her experience in an effort to shed light on a culture that sex shames victims which results in depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide. Being the victim of any abuse does not lessen a person's value-ever. Thank you, Elizabeth. This story also leads me to wonder why this outcome was different from that of Charles Mason, David Koresh, Jim Jones, etc. What were the key differences that enabled a young, impressionable child to defy brainwashing and how do we bottle that and teach it to our children; so, they think for themselves with confidence, compassion, and evidence-based analysis/evaluation?
"A strong honest inspiring women..."
It's amazing that Elizabeth was able to be so honest with what happened to her. I really wish the best for her & she's inspired me to live each day to the fullest. What a strange story of warning with what happens each day right under our noses. I think she's amazing for being an activist now, here's to hoping this doesn't happen to any other young beautiful souls.
This is the first book about kidnapping that I've read.
Even the most horrific events can lead to a beautiful life if you just fight to stay true to yourself & survive.
A must read, very powerful, though may make you cry at how honest & brutal this story-events where.
"Well Done! Riveting and Emotional"
At first I was very skeptical about Elizabeth Smart reading her own book - something just didn't sit right with me about it given the subject. However I was pleasantly surprised and glad I gave this book a chance.
Ms. Smart has achieved a good balance here with such a personal and honest description of her horrendous ordeal. It was certainly difficult to hear at some points, but was ultimately very satisfying. Her touching description of her reunion with her family, and how she decided not to waste any more of her life obsessing over her captors, was just excellent.
I must also admit I was worried, given Ms. Smart's strong Mormon beliefs, that she may emphasize her religion a bit too much for my taste. As someone much less religious than most, and not exactly a giant fan of the LDS church, I was grateful for the absence of proselytizing and mysticism (one reference to the magical appearance of a mid-night cold cup of water notwithstanding).
Certainly I highly recommend this book!
"Thank you Elizabeth"
I remember watching national news as Elizabeth was rescued... hoping her family could help her heal, but so afraid she would be forever scarred. I couldn't put this book down, as she with dignity, grace and humor, has opened her heart and the story of her 9 months captivity and the many miracles that allowed her return home. I had read the news and magazines, but much of the information presented was brand new to me... and so many of my questions were answered.
I worried about the audio, as so many writers make awful narrators... but she did fantastic and listening to her voice made me feel as if I know her. I worried that it would be too graphic or violent, but a simple "then he raped me," is as graphic as it gets. I was worried she would be forever scarred... and instead wept with joy as she described her gratitude, healing and the service she gives helping others to heal.
Thank you Elizabeth - this book moved me deeply!
Powerful and at times hard to hear as its a true story
Jaycee sugars book
Truth. Raw honesty
Stolen teenage year
Terribly sad and very scary. Glad it ended how it did
"Outstanding and moving"
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys true accounts and stories of real survival.
A Stolen Life, Jaycee Lee Dugard
3096 Days, Natascha Kampusch
I Choose to Live, Sabine Dardenne
Similar powerful accounts of kidnap survival
Elizabeth wrote and read her own story, her own account of the ordeal she suffered as a kidnapped child. The way she dealt with each horrific day is remarkable, but the most incredible thing, is how she moves forward after she has been rescued. It is a story of real survival and people could learn a lot from her attitude about how to get past this and live the rest of her life. I am humbled that she chose to tell her story and I am delighted that she did.
"The lady doth protest too much methinks."
She kept going back over and over and over again saying why she didn't escape, or why she went without a fight,and while you can understand that she would want to make the point it got to the stage where i thought she was just trying to fill the book up and got bored.
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