This is only November 5th so I know I most likely will read a dozen more books this month but I know today that for November this title will be the best of the bunch.
I, along with most of America, read the newspaper articles and saw the clips on news broadcasts regarding the Elizabeth Smart case in 2002 and 2003. In case you are one of the few who might not recognize her name she was 14 years old when a man stole her from her bed and held her prisoner for 9 months. I did not read the book her parents wrote, nor the book her uncle wrote about her abduction and rescue back in 2003 and 2006. That I did not read them was a little strange for me because I love biographies and autobiographies, and like Elizabeth I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Normally those two things would be enough to insure I at least looked at the books. I was curious, but I chose not to read them because I have a very tender spot for people who have been abused, especially children, and I thought it would be too painful for me to read. For the same reason, I probably would not have read this book had I not seen an interview Elizabeth Smart gave to Meredith Viera last month. I only caught a portion of it but it was so powerful I decided to get on the waiting list for the book at my library. I started it last night and finished it today.
If you are looking for a gritty, full blown description of the rape and abuse she suffered you will be disappointed. I for one am glad she left much to the imagination. I did not want to read about that. What impressed me from the interview, and from the book was the strength Elizabeth had, strength of faith and determination. She was only a child but she had more faith, determination, sense of survival skills than most adults.
Should you not want to read the book I hope you will at least read the last chapter. Chapter 40, entitled "Gratitude and Faith" is only 9 pages long. One of my favorite remarks was Elizabeth saying that at the time she wrote the book she had lived for 307 months. 9 months had been "pretty terrible," (what an understatement) but that 298 months had been very good, and that she liked those odds. To me that is an incredible attitude. Her other thoughts in those 9 pages are even more remarkable. Her tender feelings of gratitude were amazing, inspirational, and a lesson we all could learn from her, no matter what trials we have in our lives.