Sunday, May 17, 2015

Interview Highlights... HOPE, A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland PART II

This book by Amanda Berry, Gina DejesusMary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan will take you into the lives of
the captives and their captor.

A part of their interview:
On getting in Castro's car and realizing it was a mistake
DeJesus (who was kidnapped in 2004): I was kind of freaking out a little bit when he didn't turn around, but then when he started talking to me about his daughter and how he was going to take his daughter to the mall and stuff, I kind of, I little bit relaxed, but not really because I was still a little scared.
Berry (who was kidnapped in 2003): He wasn't mean in the car. Like, he was talkative and he kept the conversation going and he was talking about his kids and how one of his kids worked at the Burger King that I worked at because I had my uniform on, so he was talking about that for a couple of minutes. I couldn't tell that he was this horrible man talking to him in the van.
On being chained in the house
Berry: [It was] like 5 feet, I think? I couldn't really do nothing. You had enough room to get up and use the bathroom or something like that. ... There was a garbage can in there that I had to use for the bathroom.
It was tough trying to sleep. That chain was around my stomach and there was a big lock on it. ... So many times I wanted to turn onto my side I would have to move the chain to put the lock on the front of my stomach or I'd be lying on this big chain and this big lock and it was just uncomfortable.
On how Castro managed to keep his kidnappings a secret
Jordan: He was very clever. You can't underestimate how smooth he was. ... If you walked down the street, you didn't see that he had put a door and nailed it to those windows and had quilts [up], because he had pulled the curtains. He had the curtains inside and he tidied up his front lawn. His house was a mess because he was a big hoarder, but he was very clever. He was saying hello to neighbors; he was sweet; he drove the school bus; he was good to his friends. He just had a double life and when he walked inside his front door, he became a whole other violent person.
On Castro's sex addiction and history of domestic violence
Jordan: He had a real problem with women to say the least. ... Before he started kidnapping girls he had a common-law wife and he beat her ... he stomped on her head, broke her teeth. He said to Amanda and Gina in the house that he hated his mother. He also, by the way, went to [his mother's] house. He was very hard to figure out.
On getting pregnant and having Castro's baby
Berry: I didn't know what was going to happen or what he was going to say, but I mean, I wanted to keep the baby, I just wasn't sure what he was going to do. ...
[When she was older, my daughter] saw the chains and we had to tell her that they were bracelets and she would notice that he would lock the door when he left and she would ask him, "Why do you lock to door?" and "Why can't you leave the door unlocked? Why can't you leave the door open?" And he would just come up with a story to tell her and that would be that.
On hearing a recording of Berry's 911 call
Jordan: You can hear how desperate and frantic it was ... that desperation in the voice was chilling. It really went through the city, right through the spine of the city, "Help me, help me, I'm Amanda Berry."
On re-entry into everyday life
Berry: It was scary at first, I mean, it still is a little bit. I kind of had to get used to everything again, and people and just everyday life. It wasn't easy. ... Even if you're going to the store to pay for something, something as simple as that, you're just not used to it. Or walking to the park, I was scared for a while to even walk outside by myself.
DeJesus: Trusting people and walking to the corner store and always looking back to see if someone is right behind you, ready to take you or something.
On why she wanted to tell this story

Jordan: I've been a correspondent and lived around the world and seen really sad, painful tragedies and you always wonder how people can get through pain, and here I talk to Amanda and Gina and made lifelong friends and helped them try to explain to everyone else how you do it. ... what you do is you find a mental life raft, somehow. They'll tell you. For Amanda and Gina, their life raft was — they clung to hope that they would get out of there — that they would outlast their captor and they would get back to their families.

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