Finding Me is an unnerving and unforgettable memoir by Michelle Knight. In Finding Me, Michelle shares her childhood abuse, her homelessness, her kidnapping and her eventual escape from Ariel Castro.
Why are some people’s lives so difficult while others’ seem to be so easy? That was the question Michelle Knight asked herself and God over and over again.
Michelle’s physical, emotional and sexual abuse started at the hands of her family when she was just a young child. As a teenager Michelle ran away, choosing to live underneath a bridge in a box rather than at home. However, when Michelle became pregnant and had a son, she had no choice but to allow her mother to babysit while she searched for a job. It was when Joey was under her mother’s “care” that social services stepped in and removed Michelle’s son from their home. It broke Michelle’s heart to lose the only person she truly loved, and the only one who loved her unconditionally.
In Finding Me Michelle Knight tells the story of how Ariel Castro kidnapped her. At the time of her kidnapping, Michelle was distraught and exhausted. She had been walking for a long time in the heat trying to reach the destination that was set up by social services to see her son. She began to panic when she realized that she wasn’t going to be able to make her appointment in time. Ariel Castro offered to drive her so that she wouldn’t miss seeing her son, and since he was the father of her friend, Michelle accepted. He asked Michelle if she thought Joey might like having a puppy. Michelle wanted to give her son a surprise, so she allowed Ariel Castro to coax her into his home. As soon as she entered his home, however, Michelle found herself being shoved into a locked room. It was with a heavy heart that Michelle realized that her being there had nothing to do with choosing a puppy. But what Michelle didn’t realize was that she was about to become a sex slave and be tortured for eleven years, by a sadistic monster.
During Michelle’s captivity two more girls were brought into Ariel Castro’s home and chained. Michelle tried to comfort them even though she herself many times felt like just giving up and dying. It was the hope of possibly being able to see and hold her son again that gave her the strength and endurance to fight to stay alive.
I found Michelle’s story so disturbing that I had to put the book down several times. It was heartbreaking to read about a caring young woman who was made to suffer horrific abuse, just because a man thought it was his right to inflict harm upon her.
In 2013 all three girls were rescued. Michelle Knight realizes that she will never be able to forget her past, but she is determined not to allow the abuse that she had suffered to define her. Michelle feels that she has been saved to be a voice for those suffering in captivity and for their grieving families. Her message is clear, keep looking, never give up, and don’t lose hope.
I highly recommend giving this memoir a read. Michelle’s message should not be taken lightly. Anyone can become a victim, no one is immune, so stay alert.
5 out of 5 stars, Review by Peg Glover