The Norman Transcript

N-town reviews

December 13, 2013

Book review: Elizabeth Smart’s autobiography is chilling, inspiring

NORMAN — Book: My Story (2013, St. Martin’s Press)

Author: Elizabeth Smart, Chris Stewart

Why you should read: Eleven years after her horrific and historic kidnapping that rocked the news and public, Elizabeth Smart has released a detailed account of the terrors she faced as a 14-year-old child. Having been taken from her Salt Lake City home by a man claiming he was a holy prophet, Smart endured nine brutal months of being tethered, tortured and repeatedly raped, while his wife looked on. With “My Story,” Smart tells readers how she was able to face the horrors throughout her kidnapping, how her faith allowed her to stay hopeful and how she ultimately found her way home.

Smart’s story is nothing if not gut-wrenching. With everything having been all-too real, her shared memories and experiences hit close to home on many occasions. After being abducted by Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, she was forced to spend her days tied to trees in the mountains, with scarce food and little water. Mitchell’s plans, claiming they had been ordered by God, were to make her his second wife. The nine months she spends with the abhorrent couple lead her all the way to California and back to her hometown. During her time away, her story was being shared all over the world in an effort to find her.

“My Story” is gripping and inspiring, but it is also a tough read. It is raw, emotional and terrifying. Through it all, Smart persevered through the horrible time in her life, and kept a strong hold on her faith and decision to keep going even now, long after it all came to an end.

“The conviction was crystal clear. I would do whatever it took to live. No matter what it took, no matter what I had to do, I was going to survive.”

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