The beginning drew me in; goose bumps prickled my flesh as I began to read the preface of the story. Mentioning some of the others that went missing, some almost forgotten. A story of terrible despair and cruelty, only to cause these women to develop into courageous women, that despite everything they made it, and now one breaks the silence and speaks of what happened behind the scenes of her life.
Michelle knight was a young woman that went missing, that no one really noticed had just disappeared.
The chapters move in quick succession. I instantly felt a connection with this woman. She had feelings; she had a son that she desperately wanted to see. In a way even after she escaped, her life was still in pieces. But what was made apparent to me was that I think what was keeping her going was her son. He was her light at the end of the never-ending tunnel.
Knots in my stomach, and nearly feeling like crying, this young child went through so much when she was young. From a home that was chaotic, taken advantage of at an early age, one can barely comprehend how terrible her life would have been like. And yet her courage kept on shining through. That’s what I felt as I read, it wasn’t hopelessness, and something about Michelle kept on shining through regardless of the circumstances.
Not any half way through the story I was trying to fight back the tears. I couldn’t fully comprehend how she could have felt, but her simple, sincere and sad words echoed throughout the pages. There is some slight reprieve at one point, showing a glimpse of a better life. But so much happens, and it left me wondering how she survived. It was a miracle that she did.
I felt her pain and heartache. Michelle didn’t glorify or try to hype up her story. She told it as simply as she could in her way.
The story then takes the reader to the next path on Michelle’s journey. A seemingly innocent path to where she meet Arial Castro.
I couldn’t believe what caused her to be there. Someone whom she thought she could trust. The horrible sinking feeling continued to develop as her story unfolded, bracing myself for what was next to come.
The scenes were very hard to read, I felt like I was there, looking in without being able to stop it. I couldn’t help but think of all the people that had betrayed her; the social workers, family, and those in authority. So many people could have prevented this, so many could have helped her and others. The story did portray him as the monster, but reading through the story just reminded me there were others that were guilty as well.
I felt tense the entire time reading this novel, although I found it difficult to read, it kept reminding me of how strong she must have been.
What I was most surprised about is I would have thought that novel would have been full of despair, but despite the atrocities that occurred, Michelle never got lost, never gave up. Perhaps that’s why he hated her the most, he couldn’t break her spirit.
I also want to mention how appalled I was when I read the countless times how his family had been in that house and did not investigate what was going on. There are so many guilty people mentioned in this story, although Michelle does not cast blame, perhaps those should cast blame upon themselves. It’s not just the monster that did this, but those that turned a blind eye.
The story was one of the best books I’ve read. Readers may assume they may not be able to read it, all I can say is that I am glad that I did. Every time Michelle’s courage and strength showed through those girls stuck together, their lives forever intertwined. Despite what he did to them, they became stronger. They made him a pathetic coward.
I would highly recommend this book, I couldn’t put it down; not only to support and hear Michelle’s story, but to remember the hundreds out there that are still missing. And to show these predators that they will never win.