I Will Find You

IMG_1567One of my favorite classics is Alexandre Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo. Why? Because it’s about a protagonist who has been wronged and years later, takes revenge on those who hurt him.

Part of being human is that desire for revenge. In Joanna Connors’s memoir I Will Find You, she has good reason to seek revenge. At the age of 30, she was raped by a stranger. The subsequent case and conviction led her assailant behind bars. Connors put him and the rape out of her mind and had a family. Twenty years later, she takes her younger daughter to visit a college campus. When the tour guide points out the emergency call buttons on campus and explains that campus police will arrive in five minutes, Connors realizes how much can happen in five minutes. Her past rushes into her present and she knows she has to tell her children what happened.

Not only does Connors share her story with her son and daughter, but she also goes on a hunt to find out more about the man who raped her. Through court documents, police files, and interviews with the family, Connors starts to understand how the man came to be her rapist in that empty theater 20 years ago.

Connors has given a soul to someone we were ready to demonize. Her courage to return to traumatic past events and uncover her rapist as a man demonstrates her ability to see beyond the wrongs and help us as readers understand some of the bigger problems that allow individuals to end up as convicts. Connors interviews Philip, her rapist’s brother, at Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane. Philips was sentenced to this facility because he had raped a child. During the interview, Connors learns more about the family, and the childhood that made Philips into the man in the hospital:

“‘It’s not my fault I was born, I didn’t ask to be born, and I don’t know what would possess any man to hurt a kid like my father did. Especially his own family. [….] I still try to figure it out to this day,’ he said. ‘What did we do wrong to deserve such a tragic life?'”

Connors memoir is a must-read for everyone. It’s a brave narrative about going further into the heart of the injustices done not only to us, but to those who have hurt us.

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