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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bringing Elizabeth Home...Review

About the book:
At 3:58 in the morning of June 5, 2002, Ed and Lois Smart awoke to the sound of their nine-year-old daughter Mary Katherine’s frightened voice. “She’s gone. Elizabeth is gone.” At first they thought she was having a bad dream about her older sister, but Mary Katherine’s seeming bad dream would quickly become their worst nightmare. Their daughter Elizabeth was gone.

They were not sure why the media picked up on Elizabeth’s story, but after their daughter was kidnapped she became the whole world’s daughter. After nine months of a strange, hard, sometimes rewarding, but mostly painful journey, Elizabeth was miraculously returned to them. Just as millions throughout the world had grieved for her loss, now they celebrated her safe return.

In Bringing Elizabeth Home, Ed and Lois share the pain of every parent’s worst fear: “What would I do if my child was taken from me?” They also share a story of great hope, strong faith, and trust in God. The Smart family had always been devoted to their Mormon faith, but through their terribly painful experience they gained a tremendous inner strength, which became the key to their survival. They write, “Having our daughter back home, in our arms, is nothing short of a miracle. It is the ultimate proof that God answers prayers. Granted, sometimes the answer is not the one we pray for, but still it remains an answer. We feel truly blessed that He answered our prayers the way we had hoped for, although we realize, regretfully, that this is not always the outcome in kidnapping cases. We have met so many families with missing children and we’ve seen how deep their pain goes . . . But what we hope to convey through our journey of faith and hope is that with a strong belief in God, all things are possible. Miracles do happen.”

In the end, the Smarts’ story brings one point poignantly home--nothing is more important in this world than family. Not money. Not work. Not a fancy new car or an expensive, big house. Family, the prayers of so many friends and strangers, and trust in God are what got them through this experience--and having survived, they have no doubt that they can persevere in any situation as long as those three things are in their lives. Though their story is filled with many incredible twists and turns, they never lost focus on what was important: bringing Elizabeth home.

This was written a year and a half after Elizabeth Smart's kidnapping. Her parents, Ed & Lois write about the experience of losing their child to a stranger. You really get a taste of each perspective. The book does not share Elizabeth's experience in any great detail. Her parents felt that if and when the time comes, that is her story to tell.

The story details what they went through with the police, detectives, FBI and media. They are honest in sharing their frustrations with as well as their appreciation for those who tried to help with the search for Elizabeth. I found myself frustrated with the lack of cooperation and support from the Salt Lake police and I applaud Ed for doing what needed to be done and going to those people who could and, ultimately did, help them.

The Smart's story is a painful, but faith-filled one. Their LDS faith is an integral part of their lives and the first few chapters detail those beliefs. What I found so interesting is their faith and trust in God never wavered. They came through the experience stronger in their faith, in their family and in their marriage. I don't know that I have that kind of faith.

They really stress that nothing in this world is more important than your family, and I agree with that sentiment. If Elizabeth chooses to share her story at some point, I would be interested in reading it.

This was a really fast read.

Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 8/08

* * *
3/5 Stars


  1. I enjoyed this book, and have read it twice. Like you, I don't know that I have that kind of faith but I think that we don't know what we have until it is tested.

  2. A couple of years ago I read The deap end of the Ocean about a woman who's son was kidnap. I was so stressed reading that book. I could NOT enjoy it. This book sounds interesting but I dont think I can take anymore stress right now.

  3. I have looked through this one several times at Barnes, but have not read it yet. I would like to one of these days and think that it would be interesting to read a story from Elizabeth's point of view.

  4. Interesting. I don't usually read these types of books because I feel like I got enough of it on the news. Thanks for the review.