Elizabeth Smart’s Memoir Out Next Year

According to the New York Times’ Media Decoder blog, St. Martin’s Press has picked up Elizabeth Smart’s memoir, which will tell of her kidnapping at age 14, her subsequent nine-month captivity during which she was kept chained and raped, and her eventual rescue. Three books have already been written about this sensational case, but this is the only one told from Smart’s perspective. St. Martin’s has set a tentative release date for Sept. 13, 2013.

I’m looking forward to this; memoir is my favorite genre, and I especially enjoy the stories of women who survived incredibly trying experiences. Jeannette Walls’ “The Glass Castle” is, in my opinion, the best memoir ever written, and “The Hypocrisy of Disco” by Clane Hayward is a close second.

However, just because someone has an incredible story to tell doesn’t mean they can necessarily tell it well. “A Stolen Life” by Jaycee Dugard is a close approximation to what Smart’s memoir would be. If you’re not familiar with Dugard’s case, she was also abducted (at age 11) and held captive for 18 years, bearing her rapist/captor’s two children. Her memoir is heart-rending because of the sheer horror of the subject, yet Dugard’s writing is hardly professional-level. Similarly, “Tiger, Tiger” is Margaux Fragoso’s account of her 15-year “relationship” with the pedophile who first began abusing her at age 8. Again, the utterly horrific nature of the subject keeps readers transfixed despite her occasionally sub-par writing.

According to Media Decoder, Smart will be working with Chris Stewart, the author of several religious-themed books; Smart’s memoir’s subtitle is “A Journey of Faith and Hope.” While I look forward to reading about her struggle, I fear it could end up so much “my-faith-in-God-saved-me” treacle. We’ll have to wait until next September to find out.

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