Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings

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The #1 New York Times Bestseller and inspirational memoir by Michelle Knight, whose survival story gripped the world and continues to inspire and offer hope.

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.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Hachette Books
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Published on
May 6, 2014
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Pages
280
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ISBN
9781602862579
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Biography & Autobiography / Women
True Crime / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In late October 2006, one of the most spectacular kidnapping cases of the younger past had come to end, when Natascha Kampusch freed herself after being held captive in a hidden cellar (near Vienna, Austria) for more than eight years. Media companies from all over the world came to cover her life story, which has taken quite some twists since then. The result: two autobiographies, a feature film, several documentaries and hundreds of interviews – all within a decade. "10 Years of Freedom" offers us an insight into the impact such a nightmarish captivity has on a young woman's life. It tells the story of a naive victim, that had to learn to cope with the real world after being locked away for her whole youth. The author spans a wide range of themes from her first days in freedom and the turbulent times after gaining it again to a never-ending trauma, which she will have to deal with for the rest of her life. Natascha declares that she wasn't prepared to be a public figure after all, but was suddenly confronted with a heavy and controversial media coverage (including speculations by reporters regarding Stockholm syndrome and roleplaying, along with being labelled "cellar girl" and "sex slave"). Also, wild conspiracy theories gained popularity, resulting in several trials and review boards (including police and FBI investigations). Despite everything, she found certain ways to reconnect with her family and even founded/initiated several charity projects (e.g. the creation of a children's ward in Sri Lanka or the support of PETA, an organisation for animal rights). "Your book is remarkable. 10 Years of Freedom, I urge everyone to read it." - Piers Morgan, ITV "It's a very powerful read." - Huw Edwards, BBC "Very brave." - Emma Barnett, BBC
At 3:58 in the morning of June 5, 2002, Ed and Lois Smart awoke to the sound of their nine-year-old daughter Mary Katherine’s frightened voice. “She’s gone. Elizabeth is gone.” At first they thought she was having a bad dream about her older sister, but Mary Katherine’s seeming bad dream would quickly become their worst nightmare. Their daughter Elizabeth was gone.

They were not sure why the media picked up on Elizabeth’s story, but after their daughter was kidnapped she became the whole world’s daughter. After nine months of a strange, hard, sometimes rewarding, but mostly painful journey, Elizabeth was miraculously returned to them. Just as millions throughout the world had grieved for her loss, now they celebrated her safe return.

In Bringing Elizabeth Home, Ed and Lois share the pain of every parent’s worst fear: “What would I do if my child was taken from me?” They also share a story of great hope, strong faith, and trust in God. The Smart family had always been devoted to their Mormon faith, but through their terribly painful experience they gained a tremendous inner strength, which became the key to their survival. They write, “Having our daughter back home, in our arms, is nothing short of a miracle. It is the ultimate proof that God answers prayers. Granted, sometimes the answer is not the one we pray for, but still it remains an answer. We feel truly blessed that He answered our prayers the way we had hoped for, although we realize, regretfully, that this is not always the outcome in kidnapping cases. We have met so many families with missing children and we’ve seen how deep their pain goes . . . But what we hope to convey through our journey of faith and hope is that with a strong belief in God, all things are possible. Miracles do happen.”

In the end, the Smarts’ story brings one point poignantly home--nothing is more important in this world than family. Not money. Not work. Not a fancy new car or an expensive, big house. Family, the prayers of so many friends and strangers, and trust in God are what got them through this experience--and having survived, they have no doubt that they can persevere in any situation as long as those three things are in their lives. Though their story is filled with many incredible twists and turns, they never lost focus on what was important: bringing Elizabeth home.
The #1 New York Times Bestseller

A bestselling book that is inspiring the nation: “We have written here about terrible things that we never wanted to think about again . . . Now we want the world to know: we survived, we are free, we love life.”

Two women kidnapped by infamous Cleveland school-bus driver Ariel Castro share the stories of their abductions, captivity, and dramatic escape
 
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, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight to his home, where he kept them chained. In the decade that followed, the three were raped, psychologically abused, and threatened with death. Berry had a daughter—Jocelyn—by their captor.
 
Drawing upon their recollections and the diary kept by Amanda Berry, Berry and Gina DeJesus describe a tale of unimaginable torment, and Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post reporters Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan interweave the events within Castro’s house with original reporting on 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, ingenuity, and resourcefulness ultimately delivered them back to their lives and families.
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