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A Book Review - Finding Me by Michelle Knight

Updated on March 6, 2015

Michelle Knight

Source

Extraordinary book

I expected this book to be extraordinary. Three women held captive - how could it not be a great read.

But what Michelle Knight had gone through prior to the kidnapping was what got me.

A childhood steeped in uncertainty and fear from abuse and neglect only to be surpassed by the torture at the hands of a hideous monster.

She wouldn't call him by name, and instead called him "the dude."

This was more than just a great read, this was her life, and her very self that emerges from the pages - that is what is extraordinary. My heart ached deeper and more intensely than I ever expected.

Homeless

The beginning of the book describes Michelle's life as a 4 year old, homeless and living in a car with her mother, father, twin brothers aged 2 and an even younger cousin.

Cold and hungry, Michelle was tasked with taking care of the younger children, while her parents did. . . . what?

Michelle very tactfully leaves this to the readers discretion, although I'm sure she grew to have her suspicions, just as the reader will. This is part of the grace with which Michelle writes this book.


Abuse and neglect

Michelle lived a life of abuse and neglect as a child. After living in a car for a year, her family moved from one house to another. Michelle alludes to the constantly moving, rather than come out and say what the reader may deduce. For one, they were probably evicted - more than once, and for two, the goings on in the house were most likely not legal.

Michelle describes never having a bedroom, constantly just finding a place to sleep, as people came in and out of the house at random.

Wanting to know who these people were, and assuming some were relatives, she never asked. How does a child even formulate a thought much less ask questions when they grow up in chaos.

School was random as well, as she was pulled out of class by her mother so often that she had difficulty keeping up.

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Innocence

Unfortunately, Michelle's innocense was taken long before being kidnapped and held captive.

Innocence was lost when as a young child she began to be sexually abused by one of the men who was living in the house.

Under the threat of violence and death, this occurred constantly regardless of Michelle's attempts to hide from this hideous man.

At the age of 15, she dropped sleeping pills into the pedophiles drink, stuffed her backpack with as much as she could, and sneaked out the bathroom window. Michelle left without a clue as to what she would do next, she just knew she had to get away.

Now she was labeled as a runaway

The year 2002, The year she was kidnapped

2002, I had my own life struggles and new beginnings while negotiating a cross country move as a single mom.

I remember hearing about the kidnapping, and how easy it was to lesson my concern when the media had reported she had runaway in the past.

Just as many may have thought, "She's probably OK, she probably just ran away again." So now my guilt increased as I forged ahead through the chapters, knowing her life would get worse.

Homeless again

Just like when she was four years old, Michelle was homeless again. Living under a bridge for a while, sleeping in a trash can to stay warm, finally finding a soup kitchen to visit once a day.

A warm place to sleep, food in her stomach, and a feeling of safety while living with a drug dealer took Michelle out from under the bridge for a brief amount of time. Short lived when the law crossed paths with the dealer and Michelle was under the bridge again.

Now when I think of someone getting kidnapped, I picture them being snatched up and thrown into a car. Well not for Michelle. For Michelle, this is what happens when her own father discovers her whereabouts.

Back "Home"

Enrolled in High School, hungry for a sense of family, Michelle found what she thought was love in a deceitful teenage boy, who also happened to have a warm place to put it with another girl.

From this liason, Michelle found herself pregnant and now the love of her life was her new baby boy.

Another 18 months later and Family Services in Ohio had taken her baby away because her mothers boyfriend had phsyically harmed the child while in a drunken stupor.

I find my heart breaking even harder as Michelle describes the painful loss of her child and her attempts to get him back. It was in fact on one of these attempts, when she was desperately trying to get to court, that Michelle accepted the ride from the monster that controlled her life for the next decade.

But, it was the love of this baby that got Michelle through the hardest of times.

The subsequent chapters describe the horrors, the torture, the sick and depraved treatment from "the dude."

Michelle's mother, Barbara Knight
Michelle's mother, Barbara Knight | Source

Finally Free

After Michelle was freed, after much jubilation, shock from a nation, and of course celebration, the healing needed to begin.

Michelle's mother arrived in Ohio from Florida for a reunion that did not happen. The mother that let Michelle suffer abuse and neglect. The mother that let her grandbaby suffer at the hands of her drunken boyfriend, and then let the child live in foster care until adopted while Michelle was missing.

I remember when Michelle was going to be on Dr. Phil shortly after being free. Was this exploitation? Gasp! Dr. Phil was just taking advantage, tsk, tsk. So called experts debated about whether or not this was good for Michelle.

Are you kidding me!???

Someone actually thought Michelle might be doing herself harm by telling her story so soon. My opinion..... She can do whatever she wants, and none of us should judge. None of us.

After reading this book and getting a glimpse of what Michelle had been through, she deserves to have nothing but honor and respect. This is a women who emerged from depravity with grace and dignity.

"You can not break what has already been broken", Michelle states.

Lily Rose Lee

Michelle's life with her son will be lived from a painfully distant perspective. As it is in her son's best interest, she will observe her son anonymously and only as much as the adopted family will allow. Truly a mother's love to do what's best for her son regardless of how painful it may be.

Michelle changed her name to Lily, so from now on it's Lily. Lily Rose Lee.

And, she should have nothing go wrong again - ever. Ever in her life. May she not even have so much as a bad hair day.

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    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Sandy...ou have shared a moving & powerful recount of this young woman's tragic life to this point in her life. What she has lived through is beyond egregious. It is something the likes of which most people cannot fathom, even in nightmares.

      What is most apparent to me is the incredible strength and tenacity this woman possesses and her ability to recognize what was,.. against what the reality is now. Her courage is remarkable and that she is able to embrace life and go forward with hope, is an amazing testament of the grace within her.

      I fully agree with you in terms of "Lily" being free to choose what she wants to do and not do, throughout the remainder of her journey on earth. I join you in wishing for her only the best...and hoping that the very worst is over and locked in the past.......UP+++ Excellently told.

    • Hankscita profile image
      Author

      Sandy 3 years ago from Florida

      I absolutely agree, and thank you.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Your account of this book is heart wrenching. I can only imagine that the actual book is so much more. I join you in your hopes and prayers that "Lily Rose Lee" has the best possible life going forward. This will be hard as she is bound to have flashbacks and times when she is faced with things happening around her which may test her resolve. But she has already faced more than most of us will ever have to contend with and she has emerged as a very strong and resilient woman. May God bless her! Up votes, pinned to my Books board and sharing with my followers. Thanks for writing this!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Sandy, thank you so much for having the courage to read this from start to finish...it must have been very difficult to read details of the horrors she endured. This was a helpful review-you've done a great job, thanks.

      My heart goes out to her and all of the girls involved. What Michele, aka Lily, had to endure as a child without intervention from any authority or supportive person, is horrendous.

      While I did not recall the initial kidnappings, I followed it with keen interest when they escaped. It is unfathomable how torturous their lives had become with this monster. Death was too good for him! Up/U/I and shared You should consider writing a review of this book for Goodreads.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 3 years ago

      I love book reviews it helps the reader to get an insight on what the book is about before they read it.. this seems like a really great book to read. overall, great article.

    • Hankscita profile image
      Author

      Sandy 3 years ago from Florida

      Thank you all for reading my Hub and sharing! This book was heart wrenching, one of those books I had to take a break from not because I was tired of reading, but emotionally weary. I will look at Goodreads, thank you Denish Handlon, and I appreciate everyones feedback.

    • nighthag profile image

      K.A.E Grove 3 years ago from Australia

      I find Michelle Knight to be a strong, yet gentle spirit from everything I have seen of her since her escape and I was talking myself into buying her book. Thank you for this very good review that gives a glimpse of what her story has to say without telling it for her.

      And i hope her new life as Lilly is a better and brighter one then the one she had as Michelle

    • Hankscita profile image
      Author

      Sandy 3 years ago from Florida

      Thank you nighthag, I absolutely agree. Thank you for reading my Hub.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      I could never read this book. The mental images would haunt me for

      years. I skimmed your article and I appreciate your book review.

      Hopefully, the rest of her life will not have the challenges that she had

      for the first half.

      DJ.

    • Hankscita profile image
      Author

      Sandy 2 years ago from Florida

      Totally understand DJ. Thanks for skimming :)

    • profile image

      Jojojejo2 2 years ago

      I would love to give Lily a big hug! What she has been through all her life is more than my heart can take! She is a courageous and strong beyond belief! What she has endured Is hard to take. She suffered the longest and the most yet she never lost her spirit. I am not saying the others did not suffer but she seemed to get the worst treatment. She is so caring and giving and she will make a big difference in this world.

      The book was very good and well written! I wish the best for Lily's future. She deserves a happy life.

    • profile image

      Tasneem 16 months ago

      Hi Michel i want to say thank i for giving me the carnage to tell my family what happpen to me when i was 9 years old you gave me straight to let go and start living life

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