In 2002, a 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was taken from her bedroom at knifepoint and forced to live as the second "wife" to a street preacher. She was raped regularly and she lived with her new cult/family outdoors, sometimes just a tantalizing few miles away from her home. The entire nation breathed a sigh of relief when she was finally found and rescued nine months later.
Since then, three books have been published about Elizabeth Smart's ordeal, and soon a fourth will come out. But this book will be different. While the other books focused on the crime and the search for Elizabeth, this will be the first book that tells Elizabeth's story, from her perspective, the way she wants it told.
Smart is collaborating with newly-elected Utah congressman Chris Stewart, who will write the book. Stewart says they won't shy away from the important details, but they won't get into "salacious" details, either. Smart is a Mormon and a former missionary for her church. Like many of her faith she's a moral-minded, modest woman, so it's not surprising that she'd shy away from a provocative tell-all -- even though I'm sure she knows gory details would make the book fly off the shelves.
Elizabeth's approach to the memoir is about more than modesty. It's also her chance to sound a triumphant cry as a survivor. Her book will go beyond the horrors of her kidnapping and captivity. She will tell about founding the Elizabeth Smart Foundation and about how her case helped improve the way law enforcement pursues child abduction cases.
So this book will be about survival and growth and strength. It sounds like the kind of story we'd want to hear Elizabeth -- and any other person who survives an ordeal like hers -- to be able to tell. Not everyone comes out of a horrific experience like this a stronger person. Elizabeth was fortunate to have the support that she did for her recovery. And that's all the more reason for her to tell her story this way.
Are you interested in reading Elizabeth Smart's forthcoming memoir?
Image via KOMUnews/Flickr
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