Saturday, September 30, 2017

Book Review: My Story: Elizabeth Smart with Chris Stewart

My Story: Elizabeth Smart with Christ Stewart, St. Martin's Press, New York, 2013.
This book is a very good and quick read.  It is about a fourteen year old girl, who writes her own story, and the couple who stole her away from her family.  It describes the man, Bryan David Mitchell, a self-proclaimed prophet, who took her and raped her daily, saying she was his wife.  Also his wife, Wanda Barzee, who did nothing to stop this descent into depravity.  The descent "below all things" as Mitchell said was his goal, included consumption of alcohol, drugs, rape, homelessness, hunger, thirst, living outdoors, pornography,  a cruel steel cord around her ankle, and other acts unable to even be mentioned.  Smart does an excellent job of portraying these events in a sensitive way.  At times she admits there is worse, but does not go into specifics.  Sometimes specifics are not needed. 
She also talks of surviving such an ordeal.  At one point, early on, she feels death, suicide would be better than what she is enduring, but finally concludes she must survive.
This is a book of faith and miracles.  She finds comfort in feeling God's spirit, and that of her deceased grandfather.  She also receives miracles, rain when it was needed, and a glass of water when she was dying of thirst.
It is difficult to imagine someone so evil as to do these things to another human being.  However, Mitchell was not a prophet, but a pedophile who would manipulate and do whatever he needed to establish control. 
There are times this book brings tears.  When she talks about the pain of her parents.  Being a father I empathize when this.  However, her rescue also brings great joy, and again tears. 
She finally talks of resiliency, the power to overcome.    She drew strength from the words of her mother--don't let this person steal more of your life.  Be happy.  There is a great lesson there.
I highly recommend this book.  Even though it describes terrible events, it is a book about overcoming and moving on.

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