2014 Book Goal: 52 (mostly non-fiction)
2014 Books Read: 28 (86% non-fiction)

Elizabeth SmartMy Story by Elizabeth Smart was a shocker of a book.  I had really only heard about her story peripherally, as I don’t pay much attention to network news.  It was a shocking tale partly because of all the reading I have done recently on psychopaths – her captor was definitely in that subset of weirdos.

The book was even more intense because I had the audiobook version and Elizabeth Smart is the actual reader.  Her voice just takes it to a whole different level from that of a narrator.  To hear this horrifying story from the lips of that same girl who was abducted as a fourteen year-old and not freed until nine months later sends chills as it sinks in that this is not just a story.  This was her real life.

After reading The Psychopath Test, I was most intrigued by the actions of her abductor, Brian David Mitchell.  Mitchell was a master manipulator and cold-blooded psychopath.  The retelling of his manipulation techniques and speeches eerily reminded me of some of the suspected psychopaths I have met in my life.  While the psychos I’ve met haven’t taken the next step and committed violent crimes (that I know of) it is still creepy to think how selfish and uncaring these people are.

Elizabeth Smart did an excellent job of bringing the reader/listener along on her frightening journey.  From his insistence on changing her name to Shearjashub and convincing her that if she tried anything her entire family would be killed, Mitchell used fear to control her.  He fancied himself a modern-day prophet and at times even believed it.  His wife and accomplice was completely sucked into his delusion and acted as a wicked step-mother to the innocent girl forced to grow up faster than anyone should.

Smart didn’t shrink from the telling of her story however, as she explains every move and often word-for-word recounting of their conversations.  From near misses by would-be rescuers to interactions with non-suspecting people, there is frustration right up until the end of the story.

Read it if you want a story about how someone can make it through a horrible situation.  Read it if you want to have reason to lock your doors and windows at night.  Read it if you want assurance that bad people do get theirs in the end.  Or just read it to support a very strong young woman whose faith remained strong throughout the unimaginable.