Brave. That word instantly flew to my mind only pages into Michelle Knight’s harrowing tale of being kidnapped in Finding Me. Her life became filled with terror at the young age of five when she suffered sexual abuse by a family member, but she endured true torture when her friend’s dad, Ariel Castro, kidnapped her in 2002, chained her to a pole in his basement and raped her repeatedly. Her nightmare continued until 2013 when a lapse of judgment by her kidnapper allowed another victim trapped in his house of horrors to break free.
The simple and direct writing communicated Knight’s story well, and revealed a woman who was lost as a young girl where she barely got through school and ended up running away from home. Knight’s book is powerful because she recounts her unimaginable story without any hint of guilt for what happened to her. By finding her voice to lay blame where it’s due, she gives women everywhere the courage and strength to stand up to similar abusers. I found her story incredibly heart wrenching, but also inspiring. In Castro’s filthy house, she endures starvation and living in total darkness to survive. Filling notebooks with drawings, letters to her son, and journal entries, Knight struggles to remain optimistic she will one day be free. When I reached the part of the book where Knight stated the rape and torture Castro imposed on her was too horrendous to speak of, I took a solemn pause and recognized I couldn’t possibly imagine what she went through. Ultimately, the horrific story ends with Castro’s death in prison and the state tearing down his house. I found solace in the fact that Knight is trying to move on with her life and maintains a positive outlook.
I read this in one night because I was so enraptured by Knight’s strength. I commend Knight for sharing her story and wish her nothing but the best.