Rep. Chris Stewart, the Utah Republican, has written a book that has nothing to do with politics, Washington, or his expertise in homeland security. In fact, in "My Story," written with Elizabeth Smart, he doesn't mention that he's a congressman or already a bestselling author.
Instead, Stewart helps Smart tell what happened to her when, at age 14, she was kidnapped at knifepoint from her bedroom in an ordeal that would last nine months.
Smart's faith — both she and Stewart are Mormon — is what helped her endure the emotional and daily sexual abuse at the hands of a man who said he was starting a new religious order.
It was Smart's father, Ed, who put Elizabeth in touch with Stewart after the two men met at a speaking event, long before Stewart decided to run for Congress. She read some of the seven books he'd written and decided they would make a good writing team.
Stewart, a freshman who represents Utah's 2nd District, centered in Salt Lake City, has long been intrigued by the connection of faith and history, he told Roll Call
"I had no idea that I would find myself in Congress" just as the book's production was being finalized, Stewart said. He tried to preserve Smart's thoughts, emotions, and voice as she was during those nine hellish months, he told Roll Call.
Released Tuesday, the book has gotten good reviews
"We all face trials," writes Smart, now 25. "We all have ups and downs. All of us are human. But we are also the masters of our fate. We are the ones who decide how we are going to react to life. Yes, I could have decided to allow myself to be handicapped by what happened to me. But I decided very early that I only had one life and I wasn't going to waste it."
Stewart says that Smart "has a real realistic sense of what happened to her. It's not like she's turned a blind eye to that. Really, one of the points, if not the point, of the book is that life is hard sometimes," he told Roll Call. "I get that. But life is still good, and you can still be happy."
Stewart's other books include New York Times bestsellers "Seven Miracles That Saved America" and "The Miracle of Freedom: Seven Tipping Points That Saved the World."
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