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My Story by Elizabeth Smart Book Review

 Reasoning for reading this book

As I have mentioned in some of my past book reviews I am a ReadHead. A ReadHead is a member of The ReadHeads podcast bookclub. With them only putting out an episode each month I find myself in a period where I am not reading for the club and need to find something else to read as I read at least 30 minutes a day. Something I have not talked about on the blog is how much of a TV watcher I am. I have at least one show I watch live each day. Two shows I watch religiously are The Masked Singer and The Masker Dancer. Spoiler if you are not caught up on the first season of The Masked Dancer, Elizabeth Smart was the Moth. I have been an avid watcher and reader of all things crime for many years now. If you have been following me for a long time you know I read and reviewed Columbine by Dave Cullen. Since then I have not read a true crime book and was feeling in the mood to do so in addition to the fact that Elizabeth Smart had just reentered my radar. I have watched a number of documentaries and interviews about her kidnapping and rape experience and felt like it was the right time to read My Story by Elizabeth Smart book after having thought about it for a number of years. 

Content of the book 

My Story by Elizabeth Smart follows the terrifyingly long ordeal that Elizabeth Smart faced after she was kidnapped from her Utah home. In this memoir she tells the story of how she survived rape, poverty, and being chained up. 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. Following her rescue 9 months later Elizabeth worked to put her life back together and understand what she had just went though. Elizabeth describes how her faith helped her to survive. She has more than overcome what happened to her and is now an advocate for victims, prevention of child crimes, and a public speaker. At the end of the book she describes her life with her husband and children.


Faith and family are two of the main themes of this memoir. Forgiveness, bravery, and strength to survive are other themes from the book.

While I liked about the book

I really appreciated the way the chapters of the book were organized. The book switched between during the abduction and the past that lead up to the abduction. The book ended with where her life was at at the time of writing. This choice of formatting kept the reader both interested and well informed. I think that this choice of formatting was the right choice because it just simply made sense for how the reader would want to learn information. I absolutely loved how open Elizabeth was about sharing the details of her abduction, rape, and time in captivity. When I first decided to read this book I was worried that it would not have the details that I craved. I did not want details to be sugarcoated and be left wondering what was really happening. As a reader and follower of the case I was very pleased with her level of detail and openness. The visual descriptions of this book were amazing. I could very easily picture exactly what she was describing. I had a very clear idea of what the different camps looked like because her descriptions were written so well. I felt as if I were there watching the event unfold because I could feel the emotions of the camp, smells, and so much more. It absolutely amazes me the level of detail that Elizabeth was able to remember and so accurately articulate. With every scene I could clearly picture what was happening. Not only were the physical descriptions amazing but her descriptions of how she was feeling emotionally truly captivated you and made you feel them right along with her. Elizabeth was very open about how growing up LDS curated how she thought, but also how it helped her to survive. I also liked the pace of the book. The story progressed in a way that kept the reader interested and wanting more from start to finish.

What I disliked about the book 

There is not much that I disliked about this book. The only real complaint that I have is that there were some redundancy when it comes to certain parts of the book. With that being said I understand why because most days at the camp were the same so there were bound to be some parts that were repeated. 

Would I recommend?

I would without a doubt recommend this book. I would say that this book is very hard to read so I would be cautious when making the decision to read it. Overall I really enjoyed reading this book and am glad I chose to do so. 

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