Title: 3,096 Days
Author: Natascha Kampusch
Publisher: Penguin Books
Release Date: 16th September 2010
On 2 March 1998 ten year old Natascha Kampusch was snatched off a street in Vienna by stranger and bundled into a white van. Hours later she was lying on a cold cellar floor, rolled up in a blanket. When se emerged from captivity in 2006, having endured one of the longest abductions in recent history, her childhood was gone.
In 3,096 days Natascha tells her amazing story for the first time: her difficult childhood, what exactly happened on that fateful morning when she was on her way to school, for her long imprisonment and mental abuse she suffered from her abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil – who committed suicide by throwing himself under a train on the day she managed to make her escape.
3,096 days is ultimately a story about the triumph of the human spirit. It describes how, in a situation of almost unbearable hopelessness, she learned how to manipulate her captor. And how, against inconceivable odds, she managed to escape with her spirit intact.
I didn’t know what to expect from this book. I was too young myself to hear about this story on the news when Natascha was abducted and I don’t recall this being mentioned on the news when she escaped.
The story starts with her explaining about the sort of childhood she had. She was from a broken family but still had a relationship with her Dad and lived with her Mum who was strict with her upbringing.
Natascha remembers there were stories in the new when children were being abducted, raped and murdered and she used to watch these on the news with fascination I think would be the best word. On the day which was abducted was the first day she had been allowed to walk to school by herself. She hadn’t said goodbye to her Mum before she left due to disagreement the night before, something which she mentions a lot in the story. She saw the abductor standing at the side of the road next to his van as she was approaching him and considered to cross the road, but she didn’t and before she knew it she has been bundled unto the back of the van. She was expecting to taken to a sex ring or some sort like what she had seen on the news, but that never happened. She was taken back to the abductors house and was put into the cellar but barely a bed to sleep on.
Natascha spent 3,096 days in captivity where she was subject the physical and mental abuse and basically treated as a slave. He had her cooking his meals but wouldn’t give her any or very little, he had her doing manual labour on the house and another property he owned and at any opportunity he had he would hit her repeatedly. She used to make a note of how many times she had been hit and where. These would be weeks apart – they would be happening daily.
Towards the end of her abduction she had it in her head that she needed to ask for help in order to get away. On trips out they had the abductor kept her so close that she couldn’t bring herself to do it. On her last day, he abductor had a phone call about a property that he was selling which distracted him and while she was outside she was able to make a run for it. She managed to get help from a an elderly woman who wasn’t sure if what she was saying was true so made her stay outside while the police came – something which had me on tinder hooks to if the abductor was going to find her and take her back to the house.
Thankfully the abductor never caught up with her and she was in the safe hands of the police – although they did grill her so much to make sure who she was, was true and they were also suspicious when she told them there was no one else involved.
This was a really gripping real life story which I give it an overall score of 8/1o. You can purchase this book from Amazon here and it is available in paperback and kindle.
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?