Thursday, June 4, 2015

Review of My Story by Elizabeth Smart

By Elizabeth Smart
With Chris Stewart

Star Rating: 
Date/Time Started: 5/29/2015
Date/Time Finished: 6/3/2015

Genre: Autobiography/True Crime
Number of Pages: 336

Synopsis:(From Amazon)
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 otld 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.

I listened to the audio book of My Story, which is Elizabeth reading aloud.  This, to me, is probably the most amazing and inspiring part of the entire novel.  The moral is quite simple: You are not your past.  You are not what others have tried to make you be.  You are you, and you have your own choices in life.

The novel begins not with the abduction, but with some information about Elizabeth, her family, and her life.  Knowing how normal Elizabeth was is even more chilling, when you consider that this could have happened to anyone.  While many likely imagined the situations Elizabeth had been in, given that she was abducted by an old man, most wouldn't have realized all of the very serious threats and turmoil Elizabeth had to face.  At 14, she was not only thrust into a life she didn't want, but she was also held captive, not capable of doing anything to help her situation- such as trying to get money for food, or losing herself in a book of her choosing.  Elizabeth had all of her power taken away from her, and it's inspiring to hear how she managed to keep herself form breaking down, how she kept from losing herself.  There are not many people who have spirits as strong as Elizabeth Smart.

In the end, Elizabeth's mother gives her the best advice, and upon taking it, Elizabeth has come so far.

To those naysayers, who argue that Elizabeth had chances to escape, to get away, remember that she was a 14 year old girl, and she was terrified.  Not many trained personnel react well in the state of fear, and a girl who was yanked from her bed had very little chance of gaining the composure of someone trained in how to deal with such circumstances.

Some have said the book was not written well, but as I was listening and not reading, I cannot attest.

Author Information:
For more information about Elizabeth, her current work and foundation, please visit her website

She is also featured on, on her own page.

If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.

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