Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland

Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland
by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus
with Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan

Genre: Memoir, Nonfiction

Synopsis:  On May 6, 2013, Amanda Berry made headlines around the world when she fled a Cleveland home and called 911, saying: "Help me, I'm Amanda Berry...I've been kidnapped, and I've been missing for ten years."

A horrifying story rapidly unfolded.  Ariel Castro, a local school bus driver, had separately lured Berry and two other young women, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, to his home, where he trapped them and kept them chained.  In the decade that followed, the three were frequently raped, psychologically abused, and threatened with death if they attempted to escape.  Years after she was taken, Berry had a daughter by their captor, a child she bravely raised as normally as possible under impossible conditions.

Drawing upon their recollections and the diary kept by Amanda Berry, Berry and Gina DeJesus describe the unimaginable torment they suffered and the strength and resourcefulness that enabled them to survive.  Pulitzer-Prize winning Washington Post reporters Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan interweave the events within Castro's house with original reporting on the efforts to find the missing girls.  The full story behind the headlines-including details never previously released on Castro's life and motivations-Hope is a harrowing yet inspiring chronicle of two women whose courage and ingenuity ultimately delivered them back to their lives and families.
from the book jacket

Review:  I don't know why but I find memoirs such as these very intriguing.  I really love to see how people overcome such horrible tragedies, maintain positive attitudes and hope, and move on with their lives with such positivity and determination.  I certainly wish that things like this never happened to anyone and I am so glad that the end result was freedom.  These two women showed their strength over and over again in this book and I admire them and the survivors that they are.  Amanda and Gina speak frankly about what their lives were like during the ten years (for Amanda) that they were held captive.  The entries are written from journal entries that Amanda kept so most of the story is written in short snippets.  Between the journal entries from Amanda and Gina were short articles and stories written from the outside perspective.  The writing style in both the diary entries and the short articles is fairly simplistic and I had to remind myself that Amanda was abducted at the age of 16 and Gina at the age of 14 and therefore unfortunately missed out on schooling (Gina mentions late in the book after she escaped that she didn't finish 7th grade so she had to make up a lot of education at the age of 23 so she could finish high school).  I do wish that Michelle Knight would have co-authored the book as well so we could have gotten her perspective of being in the house but I may need to read her book to hear her side and what happened to her since she was held captive the longest.

Rating: 4 stars

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