Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings
by Michelle Knight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“What I’m saying is that I deserve to be free. And I can’t have freedom if I’m walking around every day with resentment and bitterness. Forgiveness is the only way I can truly reclaim my life. If I don’t forgive him, then it’ll be like he imprisoned me twice: first while he held me in his house, and now even after he’s gone. I’m letting my hatred of him go so I can truly get my life back.”
Michelle Knight spent over a decade of her life held captive by a monster. Beaten and raped on a daily basis, she refused to let her captor break her down. She lost a decade of her life, what was left of her innocence, and even her precious son. Her life had been traumatic and tumultuous (to say the least) even before she was kidnapped. She faced years of instability and neglect with her family, sexual abuse by a relative, even homelessness and briefly working for a drug dealer. The quote in the introduction above, however, proves that Michelle Knight has chosen to rise above everything that life has thrown at her so far. The photos in the book show that she has a new lease on life; with her newfound freedom came new passions: cooking, writing, traveling, etc. This book, her story, should be one of the most heartbreaking tales you ever read. Instead, Michelle Knight chose to see her freedom as a gift and an opportunity. She is chasing after a new, beautiful life with passion, joy, and yes, even peace.
As this book is the very personal, very vulnerable story of someone’s life, written in her own voice, I choose not to analyze it for literary qualities. Michelle Knight’s story is not meant to be a literary classic; rather, it is meant to be a revealing and uplifting tale of human perseverance and resilience in the face of great evil and suffering. Miss Knight’s writing conveys this message beautifully.
I recommend this book to anyone wanting to understand more about the Cleveland kidnappings, as well as the struggles of survivors of sexual assault. This book will open your eyes to so much more than just the ins and outs of the case – it will show you the power of the human spirit.