Summary: 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 imparts wisdom profoundly hard-won: “You save yourself or you remain unsaved.”
Source: I borrowed a copy of the book from a friend.
My thoughts about the book are divided. Much like the ending of The Lovely Bones, I don’t feel like there was much of an ending. I know it’s much harder to achieve a proper ending with a memoir, but I still felt like there could have been a better way to wrap it up. I love the way Sebold writes and I’m sure it was incredibly difficult to put her thoughts on paper the way she did in Lucky. However, there was so much in the book that never went anywhere. I know real life isn’t supposed to always make sense or have reasons, but I think part of writing a book is attempting to organize in some way so that there’s a proper arc. I don’t know.
Perhaps, having never gone through anything remotely similar to her experience, I lack the right perspective. Her story was hard hitting, tragic, horrifying, and well written. I am not unsympathetic to her plight.
It’s just that the book started off really strong and shocking and kind of fizzled out. Parts of it were certainly engrossing, especially because she struggled so hard to rise above it, while also simultaneously wanting to vocalize that it happened to her. In an attempt to not be defined by the rape, she also defined herself by it. If that makes sense.
What bothered me the most is the way she was so detailed about every aspect of the rape and the aftermath at first, but then she completely glossed over the ending and the way her lifestyle was directly related to her rape without her realizing it. It was just mind boggling that virtually the entire book is highly detailed and there were attempts to understand herself, and then the end was just like oh yeah drugs, PTSD, figured out why I lived in violent places blah blah the end. Wait? What? I just would have liked to have spent more time learning about how she overcame the drug use and how she began to understand PTSD and what that meant for her.
Overall, Lucky was an incredible memoir. It was eye opening. I enjoyed it and the author is definitely a talented writer. I would recommend it.