Thursday, June 19, 2014

Finding Me - Book Review

BookFinding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings
AuthorMichelle Knight, Michelle Burford
Genre: Memoir 
Publisher/Publish DateWeinstein Books / May 6, 2014
Source: Public Library
Pages: 252
Rating: 3/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

Wow, this is a hard book to read.

Michelle Knight was one of the three woman who were kidnapped by Ariel Castro in Cleveland, and escaped in May, 2013. Their story made headlines, and though we were all fascinated by it, I'm sure it was shocking for them to escape and then be center of national news.

She bravely retells her horrific story of daily abuse, imprisonment.  Kidnapped in 2002, at the age of 21, she was the first of the three to be abducted and imprisoned. Coming from a tough childhood, she had her first child in high school, who was later put in to foster care. As she was walking miles to downtown Cleveland for a custody hearing, she stopped to ask for directions and was offered a ride by Castro. He tricked her into coming into his house, where he then chained her in the basement.

She shares what happened to her during the early years, including infrequent showers, filthy conditions, starvation, beatings, and multiple forced miscarriages. He went on to kidnap and imprison two more girls, Amanda Berry at age 16, and Gina DeJesus at age 14. Amanda was blond and Castro's preferred girl, and he treated her better and eventually had a daughter with her. Michelle and Gina were chained together, forced to stay together on the same filthy mattress, but found strength in each other to make it through this awful ordeal.

Shockingly he had people over to his house, even introduced people to his and Amanda's daughter, and though his other children found his secrecy and locks on the doors strange, no one ever was concerned enough to contact police. This man was insane, and luckily eventually convicted and imprisoned. One day Amanda's daughter went downstairs, as she often did since she was free to move around the house, and found that Castro hadn't locked the inner front door as he normally did. Along with her mom Amanda, they were able to call for help through a slit in the door and were rescued by neighbors. The house where this all took place was demolished in August 2013.

A challenging and sad book to read, especially knowing that there are more people that are out there in situations like this that we don't know about. Hopefully by sharing her story, Michelle can help bring awareness to the situation, and we can all do a better job of looking out for our neighbors and those less fortunate. 

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