What is the purpose of A Stolen Life: A Memoir?

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There are various purposes of Jaycee Dugard’s memoir A Stolen Life: A Memoir. The most significant purpose of Dugard’s memoir is Dugard’s ability to regain control of a large portion of her life (18 years’ worth) that was quite literally, as the title demonstrates, stolen from her. The act of memoir writing is a powerful tool for those who have endured a significant trauma to explore their past experiences in order to better understand what they have endured.

Memoir writing quite often gives voice back to those who were silenced. Dugard was kidnapped by the Garrido couple at the age of 11 and was subsequently held captive in their backyard for 18 years. During this time, Dugard was consistently raped and abused by Phillip Garrido. Phillip quite literally took control of Dugard’s body, not only raping her but impregnating her twice. Both her voice and her body were no longer hers.

Writing after this disturbing experience allows Dugard to not only process her captivity in meaningful ways, but it allows her readers to understand what happened to her on Dugard’s own terms—through her own language, through her own interpretation of events, through her perspective.

Another purpose of Dugard’s memoir is to help other victims of abuse to process their own experiences. After Dugard’s release and rescue, she formed an organization called JAYC to help victims of abuse. Her memoir acts as a call to action: she is telling other victims of abuse that it is ok to talk about their experiences. Dugard encourages others to speak out against their abusers and to share their own stories far and wide.

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