Wednesday, March 26, 2008
This is the true story of Alice Sebold, the author of "The Lovely Bones," a fictional work I read last year. Ms. Sebold was raped when she was a college freshman walking back to her dorm.
It's a sad memoir. It details her rather odd upbringing, including not enough touching and loving from both parents and her mom's "flaps" or panic attacks. (From as early as she can remember, when her mother could not deal with a stressful situation, she had freaky attacks where she would hyperventilate and rub the space between her breasts and rock herself back & forward,over and over, much to the mortification of Alice and her sister Mary. I don't blame them).
Ms. Sebold describes her teen self as weird, fat, odd. Pretty much everyone NOT in the popular clique. *nodding knowingly* She enjoyed art and writing. This was her talent, her escape.
She goes away to college rather than go to the one her father is a professor at, and her sister is attending. She wants to get away.
The book starts right off with the rape. It's sad and heart wrenching. She's trying to just survive. She'll do whatever it takes to get away from her rapist. And she does. A policeman calls her "Lucky" because another female was killed in the same tunnel she was. Lucky. Ha. What does he know?
She deals with the fact that from that second forward, she will never ever be looked at the same way by those who knew her in the 'before' of her life. She has some friends that are tried and true, but very few people know how to react, how to deal. People she's never met come up to her to talk, or just point and talk behind her back, or in front. She worries she'll never be wanted by a man.
She has the courage to go back to campus in the fall....and sees her rapist on the street. The book details the long, arduous road taken to convict this rapist, including line-up tricks, scumbag lawyers and parents who don't show up for the trial.
After the trial is over, she loses her best friend's friendship when that best friend is also raped....in their apartment, in Alice's room. The rapist even mentions Alice's name. Was this payback for the other rapist being convicted? We don't know, but we feel Alice's despair at losing her best friend to the same horrible thing that happened to her, and see other people blame her with their eyes.
It's a true story. I wonder if she was a "it could never happen to me" person like most of us are. It happened to her. This is her memoir, possibly cathartic, definitely read-worthy.