Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"My Story" By: Elizabeth Smart Review

My Story
By: Elizabeth Smart & Chris Stewart


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.
My Thoughts
     In early 2013, I was lucky enough to meet Elizabeth Smart at a women’s event in Missouri. Incredibly well spoken, intelligent, and kind, Elizabeth spoke of her past and her future with such optimism that its hard to believe that her life was an absolute hell for almost 9 months. So naturally, I was interested in her story and immediately read her book the moment it hit my local library. 
     Everyone knows the story of Elizabeth Smart, or at least the most bare bones details. She was taken from her home in the dead of night in June of 2002 by David Mitchell, a self-proclaimed prophet. She was 14 years old at the time and taken from her bed that she happened to be sharing with her younger sister. She was to be another of his “wives.” Helping him in his evil planning and kidnapping was his wife, Wanda Barzee. They kept Elizabeth, inflicting terrible physical, mental, and sexual abuse for almost nine months.     
      Well written, Elizabeth tells in her own words the events leading up to her rescue and the hellish events that took place during her captivity. Raped daily, forced to take drugs and alcohol, and regularly threatened the lives of her family. I think what really got to me was the emotional and mental toll Elizabeth had during these nine months. On the outside, this is absolutely horrific, but once you factor in a 14 year old girl was going through this, with her 14 year old insecurities and views of the world, it will blow your mind and break your heart. 
      Smart’s My Story is a testament to human survival and hope for the future. Having seen Elizabeth speak, I think my enjoyment of the book was enhanced. Heartbreaking but with a beautiful ending, My Story will show that there is true evilness in this world while also showing there is still love.
Book Details
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date of Publication: October 7, 2013
# of Pages: 320
ISBN: 978-1250040152
Source: Library Checkout

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