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Alice Sebold

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Picador

Published : 2003

Copyright : Alice Sebold 2003

ISBN-10 : PB 0-330-41836-X
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-330-41836-2

Publisher's Write-Up

In a memoir hailed for its searing candour 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."

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Claire Mapletoft (280206) Rating (8/10)

Review by Claire Mapletoft
Rating 8/10
Who has not read The Lovely Bones? Who has not uttered Sebold in the same breath as any other great female writer of the twentieth century? Certainly nobody that I know. Upon first reading The Lovely Bones, I cried, and I cried, and I did something else. Oh yes, I cried. Upon finding Lucky in a local bookshop, I was filled with apprehension. Would this be as beautiful as The Lovely Bones? As life affirming? As... well, for lack of a better word, magic? Or would it be a let down, failing to ride upon the back of it's highly coveted counterpart, leaving the reader in a state of disappointment parallel to that of England failing to make it to the semi finals of the World Cup?

Grabbing the book, parting with my hard-earned cash, oh alright, BORROWED cash, I ran for the sanctuary of the sofa, where I stayed with my cup of hot choc for 3 hours as I devoured this novel.

Maybe I have made a mistake in placing Lucky on the same level as The Lovely Bones, for the two simply cannot compare. Due not to any gap in talent, prose or composition, simply because the two are of such violently contrasting breadth that it is impossible to draw a parallel between them. Lucky is autobiographical, written from Sebold's point of view, about the rape she suffered as a college student. As a reader, it may not be possible to identify completely with rape, without seeing it as 'something which happens to other people'. However, it is indeed possible to identify with the feeling of betrayal, hurt, desperation and ultimately loss of trust which Sebold conveys.

The bravery and hope which Sebold portrays is, without wanting to sound patronising, enlightening in the face of today's culture, which favours therapy instead of plasters for cut fingers. Here is a woman who is not afraid to confront and present the truth, no matter how discomfiting it may be for the reader. I think Sebold has provided a turning point in autobiography. She does not follow the model which allows for 'this happened and then that, and it all worked out alright in the end, because life is beautiful'. She does not end on positivity. She does however construct something which although distressing, creates such a positive nature of the author that it is virtually impossible not to be humbled.

So, dear reader, do not expect a tale with a happy ending, do not expect The Lovely Bones and do not expect to be coddled by the author. Read openly, and read deeply, but most importantly, think of the words in front of you and their meaning.
Claire Mapletoft (28th February 2006)

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