Sunday, March 19, 2017

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

Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland 

By: Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus

With Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan

My Rating: * * * * * 5/5 stars

Summary: 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. 

My Book Review: Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland is a memoir written by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus; it chronicles the story of how they were both at young ages kidnapped by Ariel Castro who would keep them locked in his house for the next ten years.  He routinely raped the girls and only fed them when he felt like it.  Both girls showed miraculous courage in the way they responded to the abuse they suffered on a daily basis.  They were being raped, starved and beaten by Castro and yet they found it within themselves to not react harshly to the things he did to them.  They chose to as much as they could make him think that they cared about him and that he could trust them.  Although they were all at different times chained for years this plan did eventually work and because Amanda Berry was for once in her captivity left in an unlocked room without being chained she was able to get out of the house and call police to set the other two girls free.

I remember seeing this story on the news as it was happening and the girls were being rescued; I have to say that I was very curios about each girls story and how they had made it for a decade plus in such a hell hole.  Reading this memoir/book really answered a lot of the questions I had and I really liked that it was in the girls own words and that even though I'm sure that yes they did have help from writers, and editors and such I think the gist of the book and the spirit of it comes directly from Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus who in my opinion were very brave to share such a personal story with the world.

The writing and pace of the book flowed very well in my opinion; you don't have to worry if the research is correct since the victims (aka survivors) wrote it themselves and of course they would know what happened and when etc... I read this book in one and a half days because I simply could not put it down,  It draws you in and as a reader you want to see what happens next and you start to yearn for the day when they are rescued because of all that Ariel Castro is putting them through; he played so many mind games and would even chop off large chunks of their hair and leave bald spots as a punishment if they weren't doing exactly what he wanted or even sometimes just for imaginary crimes that they DID NOT DO.  

There was a third girl Castro kidnapped who was in the same situation as Amanda and Gina; but they have not remained close since their escape from Castro and the girl (Michelle) has written her own book/memoir which I plan on reading soon.  She was invited to participate in this book but declined and has not kept in contact with Amanda and Gina.  (Amanda and Gina remain close today both working on school, getting jobs, and just being happy being reunited with their families and they both seem to just want to live normal lives.

This book was fast paced and  I liked the font it was written in.  It made it very easy to read and get hooked on.  While I won't say I enjoyed the horrors these poor girls had to go through I will say that the style in which they chose to share it with the world and the language, font, and everything about how the book was formatted made it very easy to relate to and to want to keep reading until you had finished the whole story.  

As a reviewer and reader I heartily recommend this book to anyone really because I think its a story that can inspire courage and really let the reader know that there is never such a thing as no hope.  We may not always get the answers we want in life but hope is something we can cling to even in the most horrific of situations. These two young ladies did just that and they escaped from hell back into heaven in their families waiting;  loving arms.

(I would add that this memoir/book should only be read by mature audiences who can handle some of the graphic details that are present in the story.)

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