Hope - A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland

Discussion in 'Amanda Berry- Gina deJesus- Michelle Knight' started by mjm076, Oct 14, 2019.

  1. mjm076

    mjm076 New Member

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    I've noticed that no one has posted a thread discussing the book "Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland" written by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus with journalists Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan. So I thought I would start such a thread.

    For myself, I read both books written by the Cleveland women: Michelle Knight's "Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed" and Amanda and Gina's "Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland". Out of the two books I much preferred "Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland" to Michelle's book. In the end I didn't keep Michelle's book but still have a copy of Amanda and Gina's on my shelf. I know this is not a common opinion.

    One of the reasons I preferred Amanda and Gina's book was the way it was formatted and written. I've always enjoyed reading diaries and journals of individuals so the fact it was formatted in that manner was something I quite liked and appreciated. It gave the reader a clear picture of the passage of time from 2003 - 2013 and to a small degree an idea of how long they were really held captive.

    The second reason I preferred "Hope" to "Finding Me" was that I felt I could relate to Amanda and Gina better than Michelle. Amanda Berry is a year younger than my sister (my sister was born in 1985, Amanda being born in 1986) and Gina DeJesus is exactly one year older than myself (She was born February 13, 1990 and I was born, albeit three months early, on February 13, 1991) so I could make comparisons between what was happening to them in the house on certain dates and what was going on in my Sister and I's life at the same time. This was another benefit of the diary format (and this is really a credit to Amanda Berry who kept the diary!).

    The third reason I preferred Amanda and Gina's book was that I felt that Amanda and Gina were far more honest about how they didn't like each other in the house, going as far as Gina sharing that she was cutting herself because of Amanda's attitude. I admire that they were so honest even if it didn't make them look too good. A lot of people have attacked Amanda Berry in particular, for her treatment of Michelle Knight which she shared in the book. Amanda did not have to be that honest. It would have been very easy for her to not want those moments published publicly allowing herself to be criticized. I respect Amanda for that! Gina also shared how her and Michelle would get on Amanda's nerves and again, how she cut herself because of Amanda.

    I feel that Michelle might not have been completely honest in how she feels about Amanda. Though she thanked them in the acknowledgement page of her book, when one watched the original interview between Dr. Phil and her back in November 2013, it's clear Michelle resented Amanda [and to be fair, again, Amanda was mean to her at times (particularly in the Van when she snapped at Michelle for telling Amanda she had wanted to be Amanda's friend) and was treated vastly different than Michelle (getting to keep her baby)] with her comments about how it was sad Amanda didn't mention Gina and Michelle on the 911 call (though it sounds like she did mention Gina if you listen to the call closely) or that Amanda just didn't get it (I feel Michelle disagreed with the way Amanda dealt with Castro but everyone had a different strategy with Michelle fighting Castro every step of the way, and Amanda focusing more on self-preservation and protecting her daughter as well, though she did fight back at times too!) I wish Michelle would have shared more in "Finding Me" about the difficulties between the three of them.

    Interestingly enough I think Amanda and Michelle have more in common than they may think: both Michelle and Amanda had unstable home lives with Michelle's random relatives coming and going and the sexual abuse she endured before captivity, and Amanda's dad was in and out of jail and would beat Louwana Miller, Amanda's mom, while they were both drunk. So neither Michelle nor Amanda came from stable families (Amanda's family life only stabilized after her father moved to Tennessee when she was thirteen)

    Finally, I appreciate "Hope" because it included material on the families of Amanda and Gina, such as what I mentioned above, and gave a look at the background of Castro and the investigation. I believe if Jaycee Dugard's book had been written and edited like "Hope" it would have been a better book. I wish we had heard from Jaycee's mom, sister, aunt and even Carl in "A Stolen Life". I wish we would have gotten material on the investigation into Jaycee's disappearance. I also think if Jaycee's book had been formatted as a Diary (as well as it could be) it would have provided a way to see the passage of time from 1991 - 2009!

    Anyway, those are my thoughts on "Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland" - what do you guys think?
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019


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