When I think of Elizabeth Smart, I’m reminded of a very specific section of freeway close to my hometown in Oregon. I’m not sure if there was a billboard alerting drivers that she was missing, if that was where my mom told me that somebody had taken her, if that was where I found out she was found, or if – weirdly enough – it had no connection with Elizabeth Smart at all.
Regardless, it’s in my memory, and I’ll probably never know exactly why.
When Elizabeth Smart was 14, she was kidnapped from her bedroom while her family was asleep. She spent the next 9 months as a hostage to her kidnapper, as he abused her mentally, verbally, and sexually.
My Story is her attempt to share the facts of what happened during those 9 months.
I appreciated her willingness to be honest and open in sharing what she went through, from her first interaction with her kidnapper to finally being rescued and reunited with her family. However, I felt that there was a missed opportunity with this book.
She survived something that people in similar situations almost never survive. There is an opportunity to share how that has affected her life moving forward.
How do people treat her differently? Was it difficult opening herself romantically to her husband (obviously years later) after she went through all the abuse she was subjected to as a teenager? Etc..
She mentioned in an interview once that a date had asked her if she started to enjoy being raped since it happened every day.
That, right there, is more interesting to me than the majority of what’s contained in My Story.
While the book shares facts, that’s really all it was. It felt, at times, as if she had written the book specifically for the jury in her kidnapper’s trial. A sort of, “Here’s what happened. No need for further questions.”
I appreciated the facts, but I if I wanted simply a story of somebody being kidnapped, raped, and later reunited with her family I could have watched an episode of Criminal Minds or Law & Order SVU.
I want the director’s cut. I want the expanded edition. I need Peter Jackson to come in and give me more content.