Sunday, March 28, 2010
Alice Sebold is the well recognized author of the critically acclaimed and popular novel, “Lovely Bones”, which was made into a motion picture this past year.
In 1999, Alice Sebold wrote a memoir about being raped. That book, “Lucky”, tells the incredible story of Sebold’s rape at the age of eighteen on the last day of her freshman year, in a park tunnel, at Syracuse University in New York.
This is not an easy book to read. In the first chapter Alice Sebold describes the gruesome, violent beating and rape in graphic, meticulous detail. Sebold has a mission in this courageous memoir. She wants people to understand exactly what rape means.
In clear and precise, almost journalistic, prose Alice Sebold tells her story. We meet her somewhat distant and dysfunctional family; a mother who suffers from chronic panic attacks, a father who teaches Spanish literature and goes to Spain for long periods of time. It is in this family that Alice Sebold has honed the creative, independent, strong personality that would give her amazing strength and courage as she dealt with the aftermath of her brutal attack.
Once you begin this book it is very difficult to stop reading. In this story, which is both sad and eloquent Alice Sebold displays a great wit and a sarcastic bite which seems amazing for an eighteen year old in this situation. It is as if the reader cannot abandon this courageous girl. When she sees her attacker in the street six months after the attack, she and the reader embark on the harrowing, lonely journey of a legal proceeding. Being presented with a lineup and being cross examined by a ruthless defense attorney are gripping and totally frustrating ordeals. But these encounters and Sebold’s reactions are so important. She clearly describes the ramifications of rape on family members, friends and everyone in her world. What happens to Alice Sebold after the rape is as important as the rape itself. If you didn’t know that this was a true story you may think there are too many coincidences or events, after the rape, that seem contrived. But the coincidences and events did happen in Alice's life, and she took a long and painful journey to be able to finally live a normal, productive life. She tells us, “You save yourself or you remain unsaved”. Alice Sebold found peace in writing this story and she has written an impressive book that tells the truth about prevalent and devastating violence committed against women and how our society treats victims.