Falls church, VA, United States | Member Since 2011
Prior to reading this book, I had no knowledge of the tragic murders in West Memphis. I was drawn into this incredibly well-written book, by Damien Echol's natural ability to tell a story. I was drawn to the person he was and the person he grew to be during his years in prison. Since reading this book I have watched all of the HBO documentaries that portray how easy it is for justice to be miscarried, when media, fear, and ignorance are in the mix. What I found most fascinating and refreshing about this book is the fact that Damien Echols did not allow himself to be swallowed by fear and self-pity at the prospect of being executed for a crime he did not commit. He wrote a book that told a story about life on death row-the lessons that he learned as he came of age behind bars.
If you are interested in the fascinating story of Aileen Wuornos, find another book. There are better ones out there. Monster is supposed to be Aileen Wuornos' account of the murders but it is mostly a reporting of the murders with her words injected in. This is no different from other the other books on the same subject. The problem with this book is that the male british narrator droned on, generating all of the enthusiasm in me that that my college statistics professor did. At the very least, having a woman speak the parts of Aileen would have made the book so much more "readable". I couldn't get through half of it.
Having read the horrifying experiences of Amanda Smart and Jayce Dupree, I really didn't think that anything would surprise me that much. I was so wrong. Finding Me is the story of Michelle Knight's abduction and captivity at the hands of a true madman. What makes this story stand out is the author's ability to count her blessings and find joy in a life that has been so incredibly cruel. The life that was interrupted was not the idyllic world of Amanda Smart, or even the less than perfect (but stable) world of Jayce Dupree. Michelle's childhood was one that was marred by neglect and brutal sexual abuse at the hands of her own family members. The only light in her dark life was her son, who had been taken from her after the child was attacked and injured by a family member. This young woman had suffered enough for a lifetime even before she was was taken by Ariel Castro.
It's hard to imagine how she could have survived the eleven years that followed.
Michelle was trying in earnest to get to a visitation with her son, when she took a ride from the father of her friend. The next eleven years was a horror movie more terrifying than anything Hollywood could produce.
In the Dupree story, where the girl was held captive from age eleven to 29 years old, the abductor had an occasional bout of conscience which only brought on an almost (but not quite) Stockholm Syndrome situation. Ariel Castro was only capable of brief interludes of humanity but, sadly, even those stopped coming after he kidnapped his next victim.
The most heart wrenching piece of this story is that the happy ending for Michelle wasn't like it was for the other girls in Castro's prison, nor was it anything like Dupree or Amanda Smart experienced. Michelle had no homecoming because she had no home. Her younger twin brothers were the only ones she saw or cared to see and after seeing them, she was left, at 31, to recover the pieces of a stolen life, alone. And her son, the one thing that kept her alive, was no longer hers.
Incredibly, this woman shows a remarkable resilience and strength that almost anyone would have to admire. Life dealt her one hell of a bad hand, but she doesn't complain-in fact, she possesses incredible selflessness and maturity as the reader will see in the end.
This story simply broke my heart. It was so difficult to listen to at times, yet, I learned something from this remarkable young woman by the end. Life isn't fair, and she never really expected it to be. This monster stole so much more than time from this woman and yet she has accepted her lot with grace. I can only pray that the rest of her life is full of joy and beauty because I am pretty sure she had her fair share of suffering.
This is truly one of the most uncomfortable yet inspiring reads ever. Not for the faint of heart,'
I took a risk on buying this book as I am completely illiterate in all things Wall Street. It paid off quite nicely because the author takes us through his journey on Wall Street from his own beginning as an painfully clueless intern. He explains the function of a Wall Street trader in a way that almost anyone can understand and I found it fascinating. He takes the reader with him as he moves up the ladder, becoming one of the biggest names on the Buy Side. While doing this, Duff seamlessly delves into the accompanying lifestyle of the trader-where more money can be made in one day than many people make in a decade. The excess is almost inevitable but it's the drugs that are Duff's final undoing. And eventually, his redoing. Ultimately, he sees the emptiness in all of it but not until he goes through his own version of hell. The beauty of this book is that you need not be a finance major to enjoy it, because the book is not about finance, or stocks, or trading at all. It's about our ever-increasing need to find something outside of ourselves to make us happy, and never finding it.
Sugarbabe is an intriguing story about a professional woman who goes broke and makes a concious decision to be a high end prostitute. Listening was something like watching a train wreck-I winced the whole way through but couldn't stop listening. The author accidentally discovers that she makes a great mistress and decides she may as well capitalize on her talents. The only thing that makes the book worthwhile is the the fascinating and diverse cast of characters that she takes on as her "customers". Listening felt like indulging a guilty pleasure and ultimately left me unsatisfied-junk food in a book. This book will not make you a better person for reading it. I did appreciate that the narrator was American even though the author was Australian, as those narrations can be more difficult to listen to (unless you are Australian). I wasn't so thrilled with her pornographic descriptions of her sexual adventures which were gratuitous in some cases and robbed the story of any integrity it could have had. I also found the narration to be too syrupy-which fits well with the name of the book, but does not make it easy to listen to.
Overall, I would say this is a good listen if you happen to be interested in the idea of being a high paid prostitute or if you have absolutely nothing else to do. Otherwise, it is just extra, empty calories.
This book makes up for every dud I have listened to on audible. The author is unflinching, unyielding in her description of the insanity and chaos she grew up in, yet she doesn't ask for the reader's sympathy or pity. The love-hate-fear triad she feels for her drug-addicted mother is what makes the story so compelling. As in real life, this book is all shades of gray. A mother who neglects her child, shares drugs with her child, turns a blind eye to sexual abuse, but at the same time is determined to secure the best education for her. A mother who seems to care only about getting high and being in love, yet turns a small, failing business into a million dollar enterprise. And then loses it all to drugs.
The author does an incredible job at portraying a relationship fraught with ambivalence and fear. She has an overwhelming love for her mother, yet prays for her death so as to release her from the bondage of codependency and pain. The redemption comes when the author's instinct for self-preservation appears and she begins the journey to find her authentic self.
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