Sunday, August 2, 2009

Lucky - Alice Sebold

Summary: When Alice Sebold, author of the best-selling novel, The Lovely Bones , was completing her freshmen year at Syracuse University, she was assaulted and raped. Years after the fact, Sebold wrote this memoir about the rape and its aftermath. The book's title, "Lucky," is explained in the prologue: the police told Sebold that she was lucky to have escaped the fate of another girl who had been murdered and dismembered in the same spot. In point of fact, Sebold, a virgin before the rape, was in a sense murdered, since life as she had known it would never be the same: "My life was over; my life had just begun"( Summary courtesy of the Literature, Art, and Medicine database. Photo: amazon).

My Review: Back in 2006 I read the Lovely Bones by Sebold. I was extremely disappointed and quite disturbed by the content. It was not until Kari posted her review about the novel that I even thought about the author again. I picked up Lucky the other day, read the back of it and realized the author was someone I had previously read, and not enjoyed. But the storyline caught me and the fact that it was a memoir excited me, so I, somewhat reluctantly, purchased it and came straight home to dive in.

I really enjoyed my time with this book.

Sebold takes you from the forefront of a violent crime committed against her, to the depths of the legal system, as well of the depths of a young woman's soul. Starting with the gruesome scene of Sebold's attack, she seems to pick her words skillfully, giving great detail, but also not scaring you off from the rest of the book. The thoughts that she has, mimic those that you imagine yourself feeling were this to happen to you--doubt, misery, putting on the "brave face" to give your loved ones reassurance. Any one of these emotions brings the experience to life.

I cannot tell much. It is a novel that you cannot do justice by yakking about how it affected you. But two parts stand out to me. Two parts that have been echoing in my head since I read them. At this particular point Alice has just turned to see her friends African -American boyfriend looking at her with concern:

"He was black, wasn't he?" Victor asked. He was trying to get me to look at him. Right at him.
"I'm sorry," he said. He was crying. The tears ran slowly down the outside of his cheeks." I'm so sorry."
I don't know whether I hugged him because I could not stand to see him crying, or because I was prompted.....He held me until I had to pull away, and then he let me go.He was miserable and I cannot even now imagine what was going on in his head.Perhaps he knew that relatives and strangers would say things to me like "I bet he was black," and so he wanted to counter this, some experience in the same twenty four hours that would make me resist placing people in categories and aiming at them my full on hate.

I am not sure why this part in particular was so intense for me. But it was. The other was:
"You save yourself or you remain unsaved."
I was inspired by her courage in seeing the whole thing through, even when the legal system tricked her and ran her through the coals. She gives you insights in to her inner weaknesses and the outer facades she provides to get justice for the man who raped her.

She takes you through the turmoil that soon engulfs her life, and her path back--something I readily identified with. Friends that are good and friends that are not so good emerge, and she brings them each to life flawlessly.

Truly exceptional. I plan to pick up The Lovely Bones again soon, now that I am a little older and perhaps have more insight into this authors writing.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Sum it up: Disturbing and inspiring, a work of bravery.

1 comment:

Kari said...

If I can get my hands on this, I think I'll give it a try thanks to your review. I probably wouldn't otherwise!


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