Lucky

Author: Alice Sebold

Published by Scribner (1999)

This memoir is about Alice Sebold’s rape that took place in 1981 when she was a freshman at Syracuse University.  The cover that I have has the first few lines of the book that include the title:

“In the tunnel where I was raped, a tunnel that was once an underground entry to an amphitheater, a place where actors burst forth from underneath the seats of a crowd, a girl had been murdered and dismembered.  I was told this story by the police.  In comparison, they said, I was lucky.”

How can one not read the rest of this story with opening lines like that?  The most salient feature of this memoir is she never makes you feel sorry or pity for her; she’s trying to work her way through this and move forward somehow and realizing that she’d never see the world in the same way again.

Additionally, she repeatedly uses the word “rape” to make it a commonplace word; her intention was to have this word used easily in conversation.  She mentions this in an interview for the Powell’s magazine:

“I want the word ‘rape’ to be used easily in conversation. My desire would be that somehow my writing would take a little bit of the taboo or the weirdness of using that word away. No one work is going to accomplish the years of work that need to be done, but it can help.” (Alice Sebold Powells interview, 2002)

In reading this memoir, she has inspired me to write my own story.  I have had my own form of tragedy that can only be expelled in memoir and be messy in fiction.

Lucky worked as a narrative and I think everyone should take a look.  It’s a book to be read.

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