Monday, December 15, 2014

Finding Me - Michelle Knight

Summary:  Michelle was a young single mother when she was kidnapped by a local school bus driver named Ariel Castro. For more than a decade afterward, she endured unimaginable torture at the hand of her abductor. In 2003 Amanda Berry joined her in captivity, followed by Gina DeJesus in 2004. Their escape on May 6, 2013, made headlines around the world. 

Barely out of her own tumultuous childhood, Michelle was estranged from her family and fighting for custody of her young son when she disappeared. Local police believed she had run away, so they removed her from the missing persons lists fifteen months after she vanished. Castro tormented her with these facts, reminding her that no one was looking for her, that the outside world had forgotten her. But Michelle would not be broken.

In Finding Me, Michelle will reveal the heartbreaking details of her story, including the thoughts and prayers that helped her find courage to endure her unimaginable circumstances and now build a life worth living. By sharing both her past and her efforts to create a future, Michelle becomes a voice for the voiceless and a powerful symbol of hope for the thousands of children and young adults who go missing every year. (Summary and Image from goodreads.com.  I was provided a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.)

My Review:  How do you go about critiquing or even reviewing an experience like Michelle's?  She survived conditions that go beyond imagination and horror, she emerged with her spirit intact, and she fought back in every way she could.

I was surprised at what a quick read this was.  Having been laid flat (dumb backs are always dumb), I grabbed a couple of books, hobbled upstairs, and was shocked two hours later to find that I'd finished her book.  Her voice is clear, her memory haunting, and my heart broke numerous times as I read what she had to endure.

By far the most redeeming and the most enlightening part of her story is the end - not only did she have the courage to face her torturer (whom is only referred to as "the dude") in court, she has found the strength and the courage to forgive him, to set that terrible, terrible decade behind her, and to make something of herself.  Studying to be a chef, moving forward with plans for a life of her own, it may sound silly, but I was so proud of her for moving forward.  It's not an easy thing to choose to do, but she's chosen not to hide anymore.

My Rating:  Again, this is so hard to rate!  But I'd give it a solid four stars

For the Sensitive Reader:  Michelle's life before being abducted, enslaved, and tortured wasn't much better.  There are numerous accounts of rape, assault, deviancy, and rough language.  What is saddest is that it's true.

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