Monday, June 16, 2014

405 (2014 #33). Finding Me

by Michelle Knight,
with Michelle Burford;
read by Maria Cabezas

I should preface this review with the caveat that I don't typically read or listen to this type of book (true-crime memoir).  There weren't many books on the Early Reviewers list that month (May 2014) that interested me; I selected this one simply because it was an audiobook, and I have a long commute.  I was pleased in that regard; narrator Maria Cabezas did not disappoint.  An audiobook narrator for four-plus years, she is also Manager of Literacy Program for BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in the Schools) at the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, and a Theatre Teaching Artist at the Lincoln Center Institute.  Her voice is very youthful, and, based on television interviews with Michelle Knight that I listened to, reflects that of the author quite well.

Michelle Knight was one of the three women kidnapped by Ariel Castro in Cleveland and was held captive the longest - nearly 11 years.  During that time she was raped constantly, and became pregnant five times, with Castro starving and beating her each time so that she lost the baby.  Even more heartbreaking though is the story of her life before (and since) the kidnapping, as a member of a family that apparently didn't care for her, with a "house guest" who raped her repeatedly from an early age.  Despite this, and some dubious decisions in her life (probably a result of childhood neglect and lack of education), she makes one amazingly mature decision for which I admire her greatly.

Knight's ghostwriter Michelle Burford has a lot of experience with celebrity memoirs, and I think she did a good job keeping the story sounding like Knight's own.  The book could have been a bit shorter - including so much of her rather poor attempts at poetry in her journal entries was unnecessary.  An e-book edition has some photographs (which I'm sure can be found online), but I think hearing the book read aloud by an outstanding narrator adds more to the story.

© Amanda Pape - 2014

[I received this audiobook from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.  It will be donated to my local public library.]

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