I had no clue who Tayna Nicole Kach was prior to this memoir; it was recommended to me after putting Room on my “to read” list and I can see why. Memoir of a Milk Carton Kid tells the story of Tanya’s ten year ordeal as the captive of a pedophile.
After her parents divorced when she was young, and her father subsequently married a woman who despised Tayna, an adolescent Kach began to develop an inappropriate relationship with a school security guard named Tom Hose. After several failed attempts to run away to both her mother and grandmother’s homes Hose launched a plan to have Tanya move in with him. Desperate to leave her father’s house Tanya went along with the plan. She willingly packed a bag and let a friend of Hose’s cut and dye her hair. However, Hose lived with his aging parents who would not approve of their illegal relationship; therefore she was forced to stay in the bedroom closet and pee in a bucket for the majority of her decade in captivity.
As a frequent runaway and truant student both the local police and her school failed to make much of an investigation in her disappearance. Had detectives followed through on a few leads (Hose had been a suggested person of interest by several people close to Tanya) it seems likely that Kach would have been found years earlier. After her escape the media blamed the victim- she’d gone willingly, she left the house on a few occasions but waited ten years before alerting anyone to her true identity, etc.
While she may have been a willing participant at the beginning her situation soon spiraled from her control; regardless of her decision to go with Hose ultimately she was just fourteen-years-old and not capable of making such decisions. Unfortunately, while her story was interesting it read like it was written by a fourteen year old girl. I appreciate anyone who goes through an ordeal like the one she went through sharing her experiences with the world but it didn’t seem sincere. While she complained about the media frenzy surrounding her release it struggle to recall every hearing her name previously. She would have been released around the time I was seventeen with her court case wrapping up only a few years ago. It felt like she wanted her side of the story to be published after federal courts threw out her civil suit and Hose accepted a plea deal that would only keep him in prison for a brief period of time.
While this wasn’t the best book I read all year it has inspired me to wait a week or two before I begin Room.