Review: Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus

hope a memoir.jpgLiving about 40 minutes from where the kidnappings took place, and from where the insane monster who kept the girls lived, I had a particular interest in this case and its amazing outcome. I distinctly remember hearing the news stories about Gina, especially. A pretty young girl who was taken not far from where she lived. Vanished, without a trace. No body was ever found, and although her name faded from the headlines after several years, her family believed she was alive.

They were right.

Gina, along with Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight, were captives of an extremely sick human being, forced to endure multiple rapes a day, and live in constant fear of him. Prisoners in his house in Cleveland, the three girls were kept in separate rooms and also made to mistrust each other. However, after almost a decade of living this way, and Amanda giving birth to this sicko’s daughter, the girls had amassed enough trust with him that they weren’t going to escape. And so one day, he forgot to lock the door.

Their escape made national news, and also as a side note, made a viral hero in Charles Ramsay, the neighbor who helped rescue the girls after Amanda rushed outside. I couldn’t help but hear “Dead Giveaway” in my head whenever I was turning these pages.

This book is told from the perspective of two of the three girls (Michelle Knight wrote her own book, which I have not read). It recounts the days before the kidnappings and what their lives were like, and then their diaries from the decade of hell living basically as sex slaves to their captor. This is not a “fun” book to read … as learning about just how awful their experience was can really blow your mind. But, knowing that it has a “happy ending” makes the read a good one. I can’t imagine going through this, even for a day, let alone the years they were trapped in the house. These are strong women who survived an unthinkable situation, and I found it inspiring that they wanted to share their story.

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