Title: My story
Author: Elizabeth Smart
Review: Elizabeth’s story is well known by many, including myself. In fact, she was taken from her home just two days before my wedding in 2002. I lived about 30 minutes from where she was taken and it really resonated with me. I was fascinated to read her memoirs of the ordeal she lived through, but at the same time a little wary of what I may find in those pages. After all, how many people like to read true stories about little girls being taken from their home to be raped, beaten, and treated like a slave?
I actually ended up listening to the book on CD so I could do other things while I listened to the book. That was my first mistake. I was shocked that Elizabeth herself did the reading. While I find it admirable that she had the nerve to do it, her reading skills are severely lacking. She wasn't animated enough, she didn't sound angry, frustrated, sad, or anything at all! I found her performance a bit flat for most of the book. Obviously she understands the book/situation better than anyone else can, but her lack of emotion was a huge detriment to the reading.
I did find the book itself to be interesting enough. I felt like I knew a lot about her story from interviews on TV and from my following her story in the media. There wasn’t a ton of additional information to be had, but she did squeeze in a thing or two. There was no insight, no detailed telling of her rape and torture. It was just left at that. Rape and torture. She stated many times “I can’t even describe the torture” or I can’t describe the terror.” Well, my sweet girl, if it is indescribable why are you writing this book? That may seem a bit harsh on my part, but those of us nosy enough to want to read about her ordeal, want to know the details. No matter how gruesome.
The one thing that really sets this book apart, the thing that actually makes it worth reading, was her “miracles.” I absolutely couldn’t get enough of the “tender mercies” that she felt the Lord had sent her way. From feeling like her dead Grandfather was watching over her the whole time, to her dying of thirst only to find a glass of cold water appear in the middle of the night. I mean, those are fantastic superfluities to the awful hell she went through. The fact that her faith in God never wavered is admirable to say the least. Who knows what any one of us would think of God after or even during something like that. She is a strong girl. She is a smart girl, (no pun intended). I like how she handled herself and stuck to her guns during the course of this situation that was thrust upon her. I admire her in that way. It was fun to read about the good that came out of this kidnapping and return. The best part was the reunion with her family. I bawled through the whole ending! The story really has resonated with me. If you read it, don’t expect much from the poor writing or the lack of detail. Enjoy the good, enjoy the testimony of God that she shares with the world. Enjoy the love of her family that helped keep her faith certain. That makes it a worthwhile read.
Thanks to Heather for this review.
Publisher: 2013 St Martins Press
Quick Review: 3 out of 5 stars
Where I got the book: local library
Synopsis: For the first time, ten 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, fourteen-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.