Monday, March 5, 2012

A Review of 'Lucky' by Alice Sebold

"In a memoir hailed for its searing candor and wit, Alice Sebold reveals how her life was utterly transformed when, as an eighteen-year-old college freshman, she was brutally raped and beaten in a park near campus.  What propels this chronicle of her recovery is Sebold's indomitable spirit-- as she struggles for understanding ('After telling the hard facts to anyone, from lover to friend, I have changed in their eyes'); as her dazed family and friends sometimes bungle their efforts to provide comfort and support; and as, ultimately, she triumphs, managing through grit and coincidence to help secure her attacker's arrest and conviction.  In a narrative by turns disturbing, thrilling, and inspiring, Alice Sebold illuminates the experience of trauma victims even as she imports wisdom profoundly hard-won: 'You save yourself or you remain unsaved.'

This book was a difficult read.  The writing was lovely, the descriptions, while not entirely over-powering, are very vivid.  These qualities are great to have in any book, but it makes a true story about rape incredibly difficult to get through.  While reading the scene of the rape (which happens right away, like, within the first page or two), I had to put the book down and just stare and breathe.  Any book that provokes a reaction like that is worth reading, no matter how hard.  It was a lot to take in and at times, it became too much.

'Lucky' isn't a book that you can approach as I did.  You have to know what you're walking into.  It's a book about rape and Alice Sebold is imploring you to listen and listen carefully.  It's not a book that you just skip into a room to find and joyfully pick up because you're bored.  No.  It's necessary to be in the mindset and be a little mentally prepared for what you might come across.

Perhaps I'm exaggerating.  My point is, this isn't light reading even if the book itself is pretty average-sized.

I was surprised to learn that there aren't many rape cases that make it to court.  To me, it just seemed like something necessary to do if you told someone right away, but that's not the case.  The whole while Alice was in court I was rooting for her, but I was equally frustrated with some of the dumb questions she was asked.  It just seemed like justice was actively working against her and it made me sick to my stomach.

I thought it was a good idea that she included the part about her friend being raped a year or so after Alice.  It showed a contrast and a more typical treatment of rape cases.  I'm sad that there is little that could be done for her.

Alice Sebold spoke some about identity after rape and I thought that that was important to touch on too.  In my mind, that was one of the bigger things affected.

The ending was a little clouded to me.  Alice Sebold sank into almost desperate circumstances, but it seemed to end rather abruptly, which was a little disconcerting.

Overall, this was a decent, though very difficult, read.  I would not recommend it to readers as young as middle school until they are mature enough to handle the beginning part in particular.

I give 'Lucky':
Thanks for Reading!


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