Living Dead Girl and Recent News

I was as surprised as anybody when the news broke that Jaycee Lee Dugard was alive.  I vaguely remembered the kidnapping since I have lived in Northern California almost all of my life (except for soemthing like  four months).  I immediately thought of Elizabeth Scott’s Living Dead Girl – a book so disturbing I couldn’t bring myself to finish it no matter how well I thought it had been written, and not sensationalized.  The protagonist in LDG had been kidnapped when she was young on a field trip, threatened and abused, and at 15 (I think) still was living with her captor and praying that she would one day grow up enough he would kill her.  Now how is that for a wish???

Anyways – another pairing of real life and fiction is Catherine Atkins When Jeff Comes Home.  The Steven Stayner story had always stayed with me since I was old enough to remember when he walked into the police station, not save himself but to save another little boy.  And yes it happened in No. Cal. and we had a friend that worked for the court in that county.  When I read Atkin’s book I immediately wondered if that was her inspiration.

There is a commentary in the Monitor about how young kidnap victims find ways to survive, and after a time escape is not on their mind.  It yet again reminded me of LDG because I think from the 2/3rds of the book I read that this is what Scott does well, explaining why.  A lot of people loved the book, and I can see why.  I don’t usually write about books that I haven’t finished but this has just been brewing in my head and the monitor article prompted me to get it all out.

I also hesitated because I sort of feel that Jaycee should be left alone, but I thought some more and the best fiction helps us understand the complex, and helps us empathize.  It isn’t hard to feel for the victims of kidnapping but Scott can take you beyond that.


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